Planned Parenthood, health reform survive

April 15, 2011 at 3:30 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate defeated House-passed measures to end all federal funding for Planned Parenthood and undo the Obama administration's healthcare overhaul.

The Senate, controlled by Democrats, voted down the Planned Parenthood defunding measure 58-42 Thursday, with five Republicans joining 53 Democrats in supporting funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides contraception and abortion services along with a range of medical services. Abortion accounts for 3 percent of Planned Parenthood's services.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said Thursday he "misspoke" when he earlier said on the Senate floor abortions constituted "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." His office earlier said Kyl's comment was "not intended to be a factual statement."

The GOP-controlled House voted 241-185 in favor of Planned Parenthood defunding.

On healthcare reform, the Senate voted 53-47 to defeat a measure to deny funding for implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law President Barack Obama championed last year. The vote to deny funding needed 60 votes to pass.

The House voted earlier 240-185 to deny funding for the healthcare law.

Both votes in both houses were held as part of the budget deal worked out last week to cut $38.5 billion in spending authority from the federal budget through the current fiscal year, ending Sept. 30.

Republicans wanted the defunding provisions included in the six-month spending plan. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., insisted the provisions be removed. But they agreed with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to hold votes on the measures separately, the leaders said.

Republicans knew the measures had little chance of passing both houses but still insisted on the vote to put Democrats on record, The Hill said.

Republican strategists planned to use the votes as a political weapon in the 2012 campaigns.

Centrist Democratic senators facing a 2012 re-election voting to continue funding for healthcare reform include Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana.

The vote may hurt some Republican senators, The Hill said.

GOP Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe of Maine -- both running for re-election next year -- joined four other Republican senators in voting to continue Planned Parenthood funding.

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