House Republicans Pass Funding for Planned Parenthood, Obamacare and Regulation Forcing Catholics to Act Against Faith

Matt Cover | September 13, 2012 | 4:26pm EDT
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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker John Boehner (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – The Republican-majority House of Representatives on Thursday passed a $1.047 trillion bill funding the federal government through March 2013 that will permit funding for Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare--including the regulation that took effect on Aug. 1 that will require virtually all health plans in the United States to cover, without fees or co-pay, sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that induce abortions.

The vote was 329-91, and the bill now goes to the Senate for expected approval next week.

The bill funds the government for six months into the new fiscal year and for almost five months after the November elections. Congress turned to the stop-gap measure after failing to pass any of the 12 appropriation bills necessary to fund day-to-day government operations.

The Catholic bishops of the United States have unanimously declared the Obamacare sterilization-contraception-abortifacient regulation an "unjust and illegal mandate" that violates the right to free exercise of religion not only of Catholic institutions but also of Catholic business owners and workers.

The bill, a continuing resolution (CR), does not prohibit funding for either ObamaCare programs or Planned Parenthood. Nor does it stop the government from enforcing regulations, such as the mandate from the Health and Human Services Department that nearly all health insurance plans provide contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs free of charge.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who supports the CR along with the GOP House leadership, earlier this year described the health insurance mandate as an “unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country” and a violation of the First Amendment protecting the free exercise of religion.

The CR does prohibit the government from initiating any new programs or using the $1.047 trillion in the bill to carry out any programs or functions it was not engaged in during fiscal year 2012.

The resolution also extends for six months the federal pay freeze enacted in FY 2012 and the welfare reform legislation enacted in 1996.

Further, the bill prohibits grant programs that spend their allocations all at once--block and other types of grant programs--from doing so with the money allocated in this bill.

In terms of policy, the bill allows the government to continue executing the functions under ObamaCare that it was carrying out last year and that Congress had funded. In other words, the government cannot move forward on implementing ObamaCare outside of what it was doing last fiscal year.

The bill does not prohibit funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider.

According to its 2009-2010 annual report, Planned Parenthood received  $487.4 million in government money; and according to its fact sheet, Planned Parenthood performed 329,445 abortions in 2010.

The bill represents a slight increase in spending over fiscal year 2012--about $4 billion--keeping to the spending cap outlined in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The CR is a product of a deal announced in July between House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to extend federal spending past both the November election and the following lame-duck session of Congress.

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