One surefire way to ensure that the GOP's health care bill never sees the light of day is if the leadership removes its pro-life provisions, according to conservative lawmakers. They sent a fair warning to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, imploring him to retain the language that strips Planned Parenthood from Medicaid funding for a year.
It is non-negotiable.
“We’ve warned the Senate that there’s nothing they could do that would blow the health care bill to Mars more than taking the pro-life components out of it,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ). “I think they know if they do, they might as well not vote. It would blow it to smithereens over here.”
Franks, along with over two dozen other conservative senators, signed a Republican Study Committee letter for McConnell sharing their concerns.
If the leadership goes ahead and allows Planned Parenthood to continue accepting federal Medicaid dollars, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) predicted nearly 100 lawmakers are going to walk away.
“Pro-life protections are a no-brainer,” he said. “For about 80 to 90 guys in the House, that’s an immediate nonstarter.”
Planned Parenthood performs over 300,000 abortions annually. While the organization is barred from using federal money to fund those procedures, conservatives nevertheless cringe at the fact it receives taxpayer money at all.
The House version of the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare narrowly passed the House last month after much noise from the House Freedom Caucus. Many of those conservative members charged that the Republican proposal looked eerily similar to Obamacare. A revised version did the trick.
In the Senate, McConnell can only lose two Republican votes and still pass the bill under budget reconciliation rules, before Democrats can have their say via a filibuster.