July 31, 2015

Pearce: Shut down the government if Planned Parenthood not defunded

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If Congress fails to defund Planned Parenthood, Rep. Steve Pearce is among 18 conservative members of the House who vows to shut down the government again.

Planned ParenthoodThis comes from a report from The Hill on a letter sent to Republican leadership in the House.

The Hill says the letter was sent to Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. All are, of course, Republicans.

From The Hill:

“We must act to fully defund Planned Parenthood,” they wrote in a letter obtained by The Hill. “Please know that we cannot and will not support any funding resolution — an appropriations bill, an omnibus package, a continuing resolution, or otherwise — that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood, including mandatory funding streams.”

And:

“It is imperative that Congress do everything within its power to investigate these reports and take immediate action to stop them,” the Republicans wrote, adding that they want leadership to hold a conference meeting as soon as possible to discuss the GOP’s plan.

“The only people talking about a shutdown are those who want to avoid talking about these horrific procedures involving the sale of body parts belonging to dead children,” Pearce spokesman Tom Intorico told New Mexico Political Report. “The constant attempt by special interests and certain members of the media to distort clear issues like this only serves to heighten the cynicism of the American people.”

This comes after the women’s health provider has come under pressure because of a series of undercover videos from anti-abortion protesters. The videos, which include heavily edited shorter versions, have been released over the past few weeks by the Center for Medical Progress.

Opponents of the organization say it shows Planned Parenthood is selling body parts from fetuses. Planned Parenthood says there is no profiting and that the money goes towards the cost of transportation of fetal tissue to researchers.

Conservatives from New Mexico, including Pearce, have called for an investigation. Indiana cleared its Planned Parenthood facilities of any wrongdoing after an investigation.

But it is at the congressional level where conservatives have really been pushing the issue. The U.S. Senate could vote as early as Monday on an effort to defund Planned Parenthood. However, it would be a surprise if the Senate is able to break the 60-vote requirement to end debate, meaning the legislation could not go forward.

The Hill reports that Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois would likely oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. Democrats are expected to largely vote against the effort.

The House is already on recess until September, so any vote from that end will have to wait until members return to Washington D.C.

Pearce supported the last government shutdown in the fall of 2013. He opposed ending the shutdown, saying that the underlying problems that forced the shutdown were not fixed.

At the time, the shutdown was over government spending.

Update:

Added statement by a spokesman for Pearce.

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