WASHINGTON— House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi denounced a budget bill, passed Wednesday, that would repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The line in the budget reconciliation bill is the 62nd attempt to eliminate Obamacare — and it would also defund Planned Parenthood. The bill is the first to survive the journey to President Obama’s desk
“Apparently the Republicans’ 2016 New Year’s Resolution was the same as 2015—to attack women’s health,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said. “They are trying to impose their will on the rest of the country.”
Republicans have opposed Planned Parenthood’s practices as an abortion provider over the years. But tensions rose more last July when an anti-abortion advocacy group released a video in which one of the organization’s officials discussed fetal tissue procurement from aborted fetuses. Controversy ensued over whether or not the video was doctored. Planned Parenthood denied wrongdoing.
Pelosi, along with Reps. Van Hollen, Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and other Democrats, said three House committee investigations have found that Planned Parenthood did not violate any laws. Nevertheless, the GOP established an investigative panel using taxpayer money to target the nation’s reproductive health, Schakowsky said.
“The Republicans remain willing to play partisan politics at the expense of women’s health, and to their peril because women of America are watching and don’t like what they are seeing,” she said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office said the bill will cut the federal deficit by half a trillion dollars over ten years and allow lawmakers to focus “on putting together a patient-centered alternative that grants Americans freedom in their health care choices.”
President Barack Obama will almost certainly veto the bill, but the conflict won’t end, which gives the upcoming election even more weight, Van Hollen said.
“A Republican in the White House would sign it, and that signature would deprive American women of health care choices,” he said.
Planned Parenthood does not deal solely with abortions. The group provides STI testing, cancer screenings and other health services to both men and women.
Republicans say they intend to give additional funding to local health centers that do not offer abortions, and ensure health care services are still available to women, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office.
Before taking questions, Pelosi said there were more important issues for the Republican House to address this year instead of fighting the same battle over Obamacare.
“[We are in] a new year where American people are hopeful we can come together and [create] jobs, have economic growth and improve the prosperity of our people,” she said. “Instead it’s the same-old, same-old first legislative day back.”