Boehner and Pelosi Unite to Pass Bill Funding Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, Syrian Revolutionaries

By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 17, 2014 | 10:07 PM EDT

Incoming Speaker John Boehner kisses out-going Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) joined forces early Wednesday evening as the House passed a continuing resolution that will fund the government after the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, and that will permit funding for Planned Parenthood (the nation's largest abortion provider), the entirety of Obamacare, and an amendment requested by President Barack Obama "to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition."

The bill passed 319 to 108 with four members not voting. But there were not enough Republican members to pass the bill without significant support from Democrats. While Pelosi sided with the Republican leadership and voted for the bill, 53 Republicans joined with 55 Democrats in voting against it.

In addition to Pelosi, some of the other Democrats voting for the Republican leadership's bill, included Rep. John Conyers (D.-Mich.), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schlultz (D.-Fla.), Rep. Xavier Becerra (D.-Calif.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D.-Ore.), and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D.-Ill.).

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R.-Texas), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R.-S.C.), Rep. John Fleming (R.-La.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R.-Ohio), and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) were among the Republicans who voted against it.

The Syrian opposition, which is seeking to overthrow the secular authoritarian regime of Bashar al Assad, includes al Nusrah Front, the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), which used to be an al Qaeda affiliate and now controls parts of Iraq and Syria.

ISIS recently beheaded two American journalists and a British aid worker.

The training and arming of Syrian rebels is aimed at combating ISIS and Islamist terrorism, so ISIS and al Nusrah Front would not be among the Syrian rebels deliberately armed and trained by the new U.S. policy authorized by this bill.

The bill will fund the government through Dec. 11, when a "lame-duck" Congress, which will include members thrown out by the voters in November, will be able to return to Washington and vote for programs and governmental actions that they may not have wanted to vote for before the election. That new funding bill will also be passed before the newly elected members of Congress will be sworn in and have a say in what the government does.

Before the inclusion of the amendment to train and arm revolutionaries in Syria, the House Appropriations Committee had described the continuing resolution as a "clean" bill that did not include riders affecting current spending programs and policies. The committee affirmed to CNSNews.com last week that the bill does not prohibit funding for Planned Parenthood or for any element of Obamacare.

Twenty-four minutes before it voted on this final spending bill, the House voted on the amendment sponsored by House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R.-Calif.) that added to the bill the authorization for President Obama to arm and train the Syrian revolutionaries. That amendment passed by a vote of 273 to 156, with 3 members not voting.

Pelosi and Boehner joined together to vote for the amendment to arm and train Syrian revolutionaries, as did House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R.-Calif) and House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R.-La.).

Among the 71 House Republicans standing in opposition to Pelosi and Boehner and the other Republican leaders on this amendment were Rep. Trey Gowdy (R.-S.C.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R.-Ohio), Rep. John Fleming (R.-La.),  Rep. Louie Gohmert (R.-Tex.), Rep. John Duncan (R.-Tenn.), Rep. Thomas Massie (R.-Ky.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R.-Wisc.)

“President Obama is choosing the wrong locals to support,” said Rep. Rohrabacher on the House floor. “With this vote, Congress approves the arming and training of the Free Syrian Army, which is riddled with radical Muslims. In short, we may again be arming insurgents who will end up our enemy. We are told that the Free Syrian Army has been vetted and that we can trust them. This is wishful thinking, not realistic planning.”

“The truth is that, if you look back under this president as commander in chief, we trained people in Libya,” said Rep. Gohmert. “We provided weapons to Libya that were then used against us in Benghazi. There are Americans dead because this administration felt compelled to go in and take out Qadhafi."

“Because Libya fell, so did Algeria and Tunisia," said Gohmert, "and it jump-started, as I have said before, the new Ottoman Empire, the new caliphate that the Muslim brothers and so many of the radicals are saying they are going for."

“One of the big problems, too, when we go in and train, as this President wants to do for the Syrians, they learn our tradecraft,” said Gohmert. “They use it against us, as they did at Benghazi.”

“I am opposed to the president's vague and inadequate strategy for dealing with ISIS; and, therefore, I rise in opposition to this amendment,” said Rep. Fleming.

“If we are going to degrade and destroy them [ISIS] it will not happen through an indecisive strategy that relies on unreliable and largely unknown help from Syrian rebels, whose own motivations and goals are mixed, and almost impossible to be certain of,” said Rep. Fleming.

Planned Parenthood--whose federal funding is permitted under the continuing resolution--said in its most recent annual report that it did 327,166 abortions in fiscal 2012. The same Planned Parenthood annual report said the group received $540.6 million in funding from local, state and federal governments in the year that ended on June 30, 2013. (Federal funding through Title X family planning grants cannot go to directly pay for abortions, but can pay for other Planned Parenthood activities.)

The CR also put no restriction on funding any provision of Obamacare or any regulation issued under Obamacare. That includes the preventive services regulation that requires individuals and families to purchase health insurance plans that cover contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs even if doing so violates their religious faith.

“It is a critical piece of legislation, and my committee has crafted the bill in a responsible, restrained way that should draw wide support in the House and Senate," House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R.-Ky.) said last week when his committee released the bill--before the amendment was added to arm and train Syrian revolutionaries.

"This bill is free of controversial riders, maintains current levels, and does not seek to change existing federal policies," Rogers said.

Rogers voted for the amendment to arm and train Syrian rebels and then for the overall bill.

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.