The White House confirmed that President Obama would veto any budget legislation that included a Planned Parenthood defund measure, setting the stage for a government shutdown fight if Republicans decide to attach such a provision in a government spending proposal set to be debated this fall.
“What we have indicated in the past continues to be true today, that we have routinely opposed the inclusion of ideologically-driven riders in the budget process,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Friday. “And certainly a rider that would on a wholesale basis defund Planned Parenthood, which is the proposal of some Republicans in the House, is certainly something that would draw a presidential veto.”
The Senate is expected to vote Monday on a standalone bill to prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood in response to a series of undercover videos released by an anti-abortion group that purport to showing the reproductive health organization is illegally profiting the sale of tissue of aborted fetuses. That bill is unlikely to overcome a Democratic filibuster, let alone a presidential veto. So some conservative lawmakers, particularly a group of 18 Republicans in the House who wrote a letter to leaders this week, are now floating tying the effort to the must-pass budget package they will be considering when they return from their August recess. There is support for the strategy among Senate Republicans as well, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who led the effort to shut down the government in 2013 over Obamacare.
Planned Parenthood has said that the heavily-edited videos are part of an “extremist” anti-abortion campaign and that their affiliates’ participation in programs that donate fetal tissue to researchers meet legal and industry standards. Currently, the federal funding goes to the organization’s non-abortion services such as well-women visits, family planning, and parenting classes.