Planned Parenthood Cuts Draw Filibuster Threat from Senate Dems

Apr 7, 2011 4:33pm

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports:  The debate over policy riders — amendments to the budget bill that impose significant changes to government priorities — may force a shutdown, even if both sides agree on a final number of overall cuts. 

Senate Democrats today reiterated a pledge to filibuster any budget deal that includes a rider eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood.

“The dangerous, ideological cuts that passed through the House are never, never, never going to pass the Senate,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told a cheering crowd of Planned Parenthood supporters dressed in pink at a rally outside the capitol. 

“Forty-one Senators signed a letter opposing cuts to Planned Parenthood… We got it in writing! That’s why elections have consequences,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who has spearheaded the coalition of 39 Senate Democrats and Independents Sanders and Lieberman.  

Three Republican senators – Murkowski, Collins and Brown – have also said the Planned Parenthood rider, which guts $363 million in family planning grants, goes too far. 

“We’re going to win this battle, easily,” said New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg. 

But many Republicans have signaled they’re not willing to compromise on the riders, some of which would block EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gases, defund the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and gut the health care reform law. 

One rider prohibits funds for new TSA employees; another would zero out subsidies for PBS and NPR. Some riders even mandate foreign policy objectives, blocking NASA from collaborating with China and banning foreign aid to Saudi Arabia.

"A bill without riders will not be passing the House," a senior House Republican aide close to the negotiations told ABC News.   "And fewer riders would mean more cuts," he added, when asked if Republicans would be willing to bargain on some of the more controversial items.

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