Planned Parenthood Funding Debate Could Shut Down Government

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Debates over annual funding for Planned Parenthood have created congressional gridlock which might result in a partial government shutdown in October. Political disputes in Congress over funding for all federal agencies is a hot topic, as lawmakers are presently wrestling with a federal budget which leaves no room to provide money to many programs. Washington might have to tighten its belt by closing several federal agencies and de-funding some programs. Consequently, Planned Parenthood could stand to lose its annual funding of $500 million dollars.

A partial government shutdown is expected on Oct. 1, reported CNN. A shutdown is certain unless Congress can agree on how to provide funding for agencies. Lawmakers are struggling to agree while the Planned Parenthood funding impasse threatens to force other neighborhood programs out of business. Observers assert that since a large number of lawmakers are unwilling to vote affirmatively on funding for the non-profit in 2016, they are indirectly impeding the search for a solution to the nation’s budget nightmare. Republican House members appear to be unwilling to release federal money to the agency due in part to allegations that the clinics are engaged in selling human fetal tissue to research companies.

As Congress debates whether or not the agency has been involved in unethical business practices, Planned Parenthood’s administrative officers reject all claims of any involvement in the sale of human fetal tissue. Instead, the agency contends that the YouTube video used to discredit them is either flawed or is a fraud.

According to reports by CNN Politics, shutdowns cost the government money. The American people stand to lose money, too, as these problems trickle down. Could this be just a wrench in the cogs of the 2016 presidential election? In politics, most anything is possible. Previous shut-downs have cost the government much more than they have saved. Republican presidential candidate and governor of Ohio, John Kasich, commented on the issue, “So you’d shut the government down and then over time you’d have to open it up back again and you wouldn’t have achieved much,” reported Fox News Sunday. 

Presidential Candidates Have Strong Views

Some presidential candidates have voiced firm opposition to Planned Parenthood funding. Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Governor Kasich are at odds on this issue. Cruz is reported to have acquired several votes from congressmen for opposition of funding for the reproductive health services provider. Kasich warns against the gridlock that may cause a shut-down in Congress due to the contentions over the funding for Planned Parenthood. As reported by The Columbus Dispatch, referring to the possible partial shut-down, Kasich said, “people don’t like it.” In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Kasich was also reported to have said that Planned Parenthood “ought to be de-funded.” However, he also feels that if the funding for Planned Parenthood passes, President Obama will never sign because “he’s in total opposition,” said Kasich.

Washington’s issues debates about Planned Parenthood funding create problems for the American people. If no one is willing to blink in this high-stakes staring contest in Congress, a possible government shutdown in October looks something like the following:

  • National recreation areas will be closed
  • Some federal employees stand to temporarily lose their income
  • Gun permits may have to wait as Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives closes
  • Federal loans are not available
  • Veterans may or may not get their checks on time
  • No state trash collection
  • Passports will not be issued

The recent political debates in Congress over Planned Parenthood may not have to do only with one agency’s funding, although it is true that Planned Parenthood stands to lose $500 million.  When federal lawmakers see that problems lurk in the shadows of a federally-funded Planned Parenthood, the difficulty in drumming up votes for passing a bill increases, which increases the chances of a possible shutdown in Washington. Lawmakers will need to come to an agreement, however it is unlikely that Congress will come to terms before October 1.

Opinion by Jeanette O’Donnal

Dispatch: John Kasich Government Shutdown Planned Parenthood
CNN: Government Shutdown Daily Life
CBN: 2015 September Shutdown Showdown Looms Over P Parenthood Funding

Image Courtesy of BKL’s Flickr Page –  Creative Commons License

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