The Senate Sept. 24 rejected a short-term funding extension that also would have stripped federal funds from Planned Parenthood. The Senate failed, 47-52, to shut off debate on an amendment to substitute the text of a continuing resolution (CR) into H.J.Res. 61. The Senate Republican leadership opted for this strategy so that they could move the CR ahead of the House.
As introduced Sept. 22 by Senate Appropriations Chair Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the CR would have provided funding through Dec. 11, and adhered to a topline discretionary spending cap of $1.017 billion as established by the Budget Control Act. However, the CR included a small number of “anomalies” to address unique funding circumstances, which required a 0.21 percent across-the-board cut of other funding.
The CR also would have placed a one-year prohibition on federal funding for Planned Parenthood or its affiliates unless a Planned Parenthood clinic certifies it will not perform or fund abortions, and redirected the estimated $235 million in mandatory savings to increase funding for community health centers.
Congressional Democrats have been adamant that they will only support a “clean” CR that does not include contentious policy riders. President Obama indicated he would veto the CR if it included the Planned Parenthood funding prohibition.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the Senate would vote on a “clean” CR on Sept. 28. The House strategy remains unclear, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has not said if the House will take up the Senate bill.