Washington D.C., Sep 11, 2019 / 09:15 am
Senate Democrats acted Tuesday to block changes to the Federal Title X family planning program, drawing condemnation from Republicans and pro-life leaders as a violation of a previous budget agreement between President Trump and congressional leaders.
Senate Democrats inserted an amendment to block implementation of changes to the Title X program for the 2020 fiscal year into an appropriations bill Sept. 10; the bill would fund the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, Labor, and other agencies.
In July, Trump and congressional leaders agreed that no “poison pill” riders would be inserted into spending bills for the next two years, including any amendments trying to undo the administration’s existing pro-life policies.
Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee responded to Tuesday’s action by canceling a scheduled vote on the bill, prompting questions about the likely passage of the appropriations legislation just weeks before the end of the fiscal year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday called the effort to block Title X funding a “disturbing development” and a violation of the budget agreement.
McConnell said that the budget agreement between President Trump, himself, Speaker Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made clear “what a poison pill was. A poison pill was anything that was not in existing law. Anything that was not in existing law. If there was to be any change all five of us would have to sign off on it.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blamed Republican attempts to insert $12 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border as the reason for the breakdown in budget negotiations.
“Their proposal, which didn’t work out the 302(b)s with Democrats or the orders puts $12 billion more for the wall. That’s not going to happen. We know that. That’s what’s causing all their problems,” he said. “They know darn well that $12 billion additional monies for the wall is not going to fly, with Senate Democrats or with the House.”