Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled a vote for Monday that would fund the government through Dec. 11. The vote would not end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, but rather kick the can down the road for two-and-a-half months.
Make no mistake: If Planned Parenthood is not dealt with now, Congress will have zero political will to take up the cause in December. America’s largest abortion provider, which performs an abortion every 90 seconds, is currently embroiled in a controversy stemming from a series of undercover videos.
Delaying the debate until Christmas break is a time-tested tactic to avoid wrestling tough budgetary issues.
In mid-December, senators and congressmen are desperate to return home for the holidays, and are quick to rubber stamp another year of unsustainable spending on their way out the door. It’s been done before, and it’s going to be done in the future—until the American people demand it stop.
Monday’s vote will surely earn plaudits from the Washington establishment, which finds ending Planned Parenthood’s federal funding an uncomfortable goal that they’d rather not think about.
Of course, that goal is stopping our tax dollars from funding the largest abortion provider in the country, especially after the undercover videos show its employees haggling over the price of baby parts. There can be no question Planned Parenthood shouldn’t receive public funding—the money should be redirected to health centers that provide a wider range of primary care for women and men.
Not only does this not speak well of Congress’ exercise of moral sense, it doesn’t even make good fiscal sense: Regardless of Planned Parenthood, carefully scheduling future votes up against big holidays gives an easy out to politicians who have no desire to rein in reckless outlays and unsustainable debt.
The longer-term bill we’ll get around Christmas will have something (terrible) for everyone: a raised debt limit, a transportation bill jammed with unnecessary spending, economically disastrous “green” initiatives, and new taxes to try to pay for everything.
It’s far easier to excuse your spendthrift behavior and rubber-stamp another year of funding when it’s an emergency, and you can pretend the only option is to pay for the status quo instead of change it.
Over in the House, Speaker John Boehner has surprised the nation with his resignation. Washington, as usual, is abuzz with discussion of who will take his place. But what really matters here is policy, not personality.
The next House speaker should prioritize the expressed will of an electorate that gave the GOP its largest majority in many decades. House leadership needs to follow the conservative principles that put it there—whether that means defunding Obamacare’s failures or Planned Parenthood’s callousness.
If this requires standing firm in the face of a weak Senate and obstinate White House, all the better.