Pelosi: Bill That Would Defund Obamacare, Planned Parenthood Is ‘An Immorality’

Elizabeth Harrington | July 19, 2012 | 2:09pm EDT
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (AP Photo)

( – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday that a Republican appropriations bill that would defund Planned Parenthood and the Patient Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) is “an immorality.”

On Wednesday, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, introduced legislation for fiscal year 2013 that would cut $6.3 billion and prohibit any further funding to implement Obamcare and would also cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization which says that it did 329,445 abortions in 2010.

Pelosi called Rehberg’s bill “destructive.”

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At a Capitol Hill press conference, a reporter asked Pelosi:  “One of the issues in that bill this year is to defund the Affordable Care Act.  Many Republicans have sent a letter to the Speaker [John Boehner] saying that they would not--urging him not to put a bill on the floor that would not defund the healthcare law.  How do you see that issue playing out as we get to the fall, when we get to September 30, and forcing the issue of keeping government open?”

Pelosi said, “The defunding of Planned Parenthood, which is part of what their mark-up was about, was it yesterday that they officially marked up?  Yesterday, that was, I know was in the mix, I didn’t know if they were finished with it, that mark up.”

She continued, “It would be interesting to see if they are even able to bring a Labor/HHS bill to the floor for the simple fact that that is a bill about jobs, it’s about education, it’s about our workforce, it’s about the health and well-being, the national -- funding of the National Institute of Health and all that that implies in terms of research about CDC [Center for Disease Control] and prevention. It’s about so many things that are central to the well-being of the American people.”

“And yet they’ve cut I think, about -- I haven’t seen the final product -- but about $6 billion from that bill in order to fund some of their other endeavors, all of this at the expense of the health, education and jobs for the American people,” said Pelosi.

“So, you’ll have to talk to the Speaker, and you soon will, about whether he brings a bill to the floor,” she said.  “It’s hard to see that he would want to subject some of the members of his caucus to a vote on a bill that is so destructive.”

Pelosi then said that she found it hard to cut spending during her experience on the Labor and HHS subcommittee in the 1990s.

“When I served on that committee, I know the brief of it very well because in terms of HIV/AIDS, in terms of women’s health, in terms of education, it’s a fabulous place to be because it’s about another source of the strength of America, the well-being of the American people,” she said.

“And our chairman, way back when, used to say it was ‘lamb eat lamb,’ everything in the bill was so good,” Pelosi said, “and he was a conservative Southerner.”

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) (AP Photo)

“He says, ‘lamb eat lamb’ in the bill because it’s hard what to cut or substitute one thing for another within the bill because everything was an important priority for the American people,” she added.  “So, again, I don’t know what the, need I tell you what the decision will be in terms of the Speaker.”

“The bill is -- what they marked up is really, in my view, an immorality,” Pelosi said.  “An immorality to ignore scientific opportunity to make the American people healthier. Things like that I think are an immorality.  However, it doesn’t happen to be a priority for the Republicans.”

Rehberg’s bill allots $150 billion in spending.  The Hill has reported that funding for the National Institutes of Health and community health centers remains the same as last year, in the appropriations bill, while the CDC budget is increased by $66 million.

In addition to halting funds for Obamacare, the bill would require Planned Parenthood to certify that it no longer does abortions before it can receive federal funding.  According to its 2009-2010 annual report,  Planned Parenthood received  $487.4 million in tax dollars; and according to its fact sheet, Planned Parenthood performed 329,445 abortions in 2010.

“This committee cannot repeal Obamacare directly,” said Rehberg, who chairs the subcommittee.  “But we can prevent it from being further implemented with taxpayer dollars we have jurisdiction over.”

“The legislation therefore prevents the Secretary of Health and Human Services from using any funding in this bill to continue to implement Obamacare,” he said.  “It also rescinds unspent funds that have already been made available in the health care law itself.”

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