Last year the nation’s leading operator of abortion mills was able to finagle $80 million in taxpayers’ money supposedly for COVID-related relief.
Now, as Democrats were able to shove through a massive $1.9 trillion spending bill – only 9 percent of which will actually be spent on COVID aid, according to Republicans – Planned Parenthood won’t get any of it.
For that, conservatives should thank Sen. Rand Paul.
The Kentucky Republican dug into the minutia of Senate rules to force Democrats to back down on tossing more millions toward Planned Parenthood, whose affiliates perform about one-third of the nearly 1 million abortions done in America each year.
The House version of the bill contained $50 million for “family planning” services, which pro-life activists assert is code for abortion – although Montana GOP Sen. Steve Daines said the bill contained “billions” for that purpose.
According to Paul’s office, the senator protested that the Planned Parenthood funding violated the 1985 “Byrd Rule,” which prohibits “extraneous” items from budget reconciliation bills.
The Byrd rule identifies six different circumstances that can cause a spending provision to be axed from a bill. Paul appealed to the Senate parliamentarian for a ruling.
The appeal was based on the rules governing the Paycheck Protection Plan, which was designed to help keep locked-down small businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.
The PPP forbid loans to businesses with more than 500 employees.
Yet Planned Parenthood, which employs 16,000 people, was able to get more than $80 million in the first round of the PPP by claiming its affiliates – 37 of which applied for PPP aid – counted as individual businesses.
Subsequently, the Small Business Administration under former President Donald Trump and 31 GOP senators demanded that Planned Parenthood repay the money.
It’s unclear whether that has happened.
In December Trump signed a PPP update that set the ceiling for employees at 300.
As the Senate prepared to take up the House version, Sen. Paul argued to the parliamentarian that the Democrats were ready to waive such provisions to again benefit Planned Parenthood.
The parliamentarian has been busy with this bill.
According to The Hill on March 3, the official had struck from the bill, $100 million extension of San Francisco’s subway system, a project in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district, and a $1.5 million expense for a bridge connecting New York and Canada. The official also declared the Democrats’ plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour was also outside its scope.
Under the reconciliation process, a simple majority vote could have sent the money to Planned Parenthood.
The parliamentarian’s decisions, however, can only be overturned with 60 votes, a near impossibility in this Senate.
According to Paul’s office, Democrats pulled the item that would have benefitted Planned Parenthood before the Senate could take action – a concession to Sen. Paul.
“Democrats knew this was never about COVID relief or helping small businesses,” Paul said in a statement.
“It was a shameless attempt to fund their radical agenda on the taxpayers’ backs and I was successful in preventing that from happening by stopping these funds from going to abortion mills.”
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