Pence Breaks Tie in Vote Allowing States to Defund Planned Parenthood
Vice President Mike Pence voted to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood Thursday. His vote tipped a divided Senate.
Passed in the House last month, the bill overturns part of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate. The former rule prevented states from defunding abortion clinics.
States are now free to opt out of funding services of Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Title X focuses only on family planning.
Republicans are using the Congressional Review Act to overturn the HHS rule. It allows a new Congress to overturn last-minute actions of the previous administration. The Obama administration passed the HHS rule in December 2016. As The Atlantic reported, it was a “last-ditch attempt to protect Planned Parenthood.”
The Senate needed Pence’s vote since two republicans, Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, voted to keep the rule. Two independents and every Democratic senator also voted to keep the rule.
The Associated Press reported that a final vote could happen later Thursday. Pence will likely have to break the tie again.
Editor’s Note: A second vote was held. An ailing Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) obtained permission from his doctor to return to Washington for one day. Isakson cast his vote to deny federal funding to abortion providers. The legislation was sent to President Trump, who is expected to sign it.