WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that the House will vote to defund Planned Parenthood this year in the same reconciliation bill they’ll use to repeal Obamacare. That means Republicans will need just a simple majority of members to pass those measures.
“Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill,” Ryan said to reporters at a press conference, when asked “how and when” the House will pass legislation to defund the organization.
This is a savvy move on Paul Ryan’s part. I for one support defunding Planned Parenthood by any means available. Tying it to the reconciliation bill means that it will only take 50 votes to pass (Mike Pence would presumably break a tie in favor), as opposed to the normal 60 (3/5 Majority) to avoid a filibuster. It will be more difficult for Democrats to complain as well, since they used reconciliation to pass the Affordable Care Act with only a simple majority in the first place. That said, there are still a couple of potential obstacles I could easily foresee arising:
- Too Many Moderate Republican Senators (Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, etc.) break over this. It will be important to have a replacement for the ACA included in the package to give them more reason to stay on-board.
- Donald Trump. Throughout the primary debates, he bragged of his support for Planned Parenthood. If there is significant public pressure to maintain Planned Parenthood funding, will he tell House Republicans to lay off? Would House Republicans keep Planned Parenthood defunding in the reconciliation package if he did? These are questions we may yet find the answer too.