GOP Frosh On Government Shutdown: Planned Parenthood Rider Makes Up For Smaller Cuts

April 8, 2011 8:12 a.m.

A Republican freshman member of the House says that riders on the continuing resolution bill — like the one that bans funding for Planned Parenthood — could make up for the fact that the GOP didn’t cut a full $100 billion from President Barack Obama’s budget proposal.

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) told TPM that the showdown is over two things: “keeping our promises to the people that elected us to cut spending and implement some policy changes.”

“As Republicans, we promised in the pledge to America to cut $100 billion off of Obama’s plan. If we’re going to come back with less than that, we’ve got to come back with some policy riders to say look, I took less than $100 billion, but I’ve defunded Planned Parenthood or abortions in the District of Columbia. Or I’ve ended Obamacare,” Farenthold said in an interview following a news conference featuring House GOP freshmen on Friday.

But that’s a dealbreaker for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who said this morning that Senate Democrats are “not bending on women’s health.”

“The only thing left was women’s health,” Reid said in response to a question from TPM. “I am really concerned that this government is going to shutdown” over the issue.

But Farenthold said the riders are important to voters back home. And if House Speaker John Boehner agrees to a deal which doesn’t included the abortion rider, he could have a tough time convincing his members to go along with it.

“I’ve gotta go back home, look people in the eye and say, look, I told you $100 billion, but I went for less, and I’ve got to have a because,” Farenthold said. “Because I don’t want to be perceived as a liar back home.”

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