Oct 19 2015
WASHINGTON — Alabama Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions on Wednesday voted against a short-term spending measure that funds the government through Dec. 11, including Planned Parenthood, the controversial abortion provider that has come under fire in recent months for its participation in the sale of fetal tissue. Conservatives had previously proposed shifting Planned Parenthood’s half-billion dollars in taxpayer funding to other women’s health organizations that do not perform abortions.
“While I believe that it is critical for the government to stay open and running, I opposed this short-term funding measure because it does not put an end to taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood,” said Sen. Shelby. “Senate Democrats have continually blocked our efforts to ensure that taxpayer dollars are focused on women’s health care and protecting the innocent lives of the unborn. I will continue to support pro-life policies while also pushing for conservative priorities in our appropriations measures.”
Sen. Sessions delivered a speech on the floor of the senate last week imploring Congress to “do its duty” and use the power of the purse to defund Planned Parenthood and protect life, but his remarks fell on deaf ears.
Senate GOP leadership said they would not take drastic measures to pass a bill defunding the organization, fearing the blame would fall on Republicans if a partial shutdown of government services occurred because President Obama vetoed their bill.
“I suggest that is a ludicrous position, one that goes beyond any rationality,” said Sen. Sessions.
“I don’t believe the president has a moral authority or the political clout to tell the American people that the Congress shut down the government when he vetoed a bill that would fund the government.”
The bill now moves to the House where it is expected to receive a vote Wednesday afternoon.
The short-term funding measure — or “continuing resolution” (CR), as it is known — will only fund the federal government through Dec. 11, at which point congressional leaders are hoping to pass a longer term bill that tackles several major issues, including highway funding, sequestration, the debt limit, and more.
The full vote tally for Wednesday can be found on the Senate’s website.