Trump’s Spending Deal Funds Planned Parenthood
The spending deal that President Donald Trump cut last week with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)–and that was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress—breaks one of Trump’s unambiguous campaign promises: It funds Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Fiscal 2017 will end on Sept. 30 and the spending law Trump signed Friday will essentially continue federal funding from that date through Dec. 8 at the same levels and for the same purposes as the legislation currently funding the government.
That means both Planned Parenthood’s Title X and Medicaid funding can continue into fiscal 2018, which begins on Oct. 1.
This is the third spending deal President Trump has signed that funds Planned Parenthood.
The first was a continuing resolution—H.J. Res. 99—that Trump signed on April 28 to keep the government funded for one week. The second, which Trump signed on May 5, was H.R. 244 (the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017”) that funded the government through the end of fiscal 2017 on Sept. 30.
The third was the continuing resolution he signed Friday. This law will allow the federal government to keep spending money into fiscal 2018 as it has been under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017—and was combined with a measure to provide $15.25 billion in recovery money for hurricane-stricken areas as well as with a measure to suspend the legal limit on the federal debt until Dec. 8.
When Trump ran for president, he said he would defund Planned Parenthood so long as it provided abortions.
In a letter that then-candidate Trump sent to pro-life leaders in September 2016, he said: “I am committed to…Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and re-allocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health for women.”
In the budget proposal he sent Congress earlier this year, Trump called for completely defunding Planned Parenthood by denying to any group that performs abortions any money from Medicaid or the Title X program.
The White House Office of Management and Budget issued a fact sheet about Trump’s budget proposal making clear that it did indeed redeem Trump’s campaign promise to defund Planned Parenthood.
The OMB fact sheet said: “The Budget also follows through on a campaign promise and prohibits any funding in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill for certain entities that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood. This prohibition applies to all funds in the bill, including Medicaid.”
Congress did include language to deny Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood in the version of the Obamacare repeal and replace bill it passed (the American Health Care Act)–but which never became law.
The House Appropriations Committee went one step further than Trump proposal in the version of the Labor—HHS appropriation bill it passed in July. That bill would have completely eliminated the Title X program, which provides discretionary federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
“The Committee does not recommend funding for the Family Planning program, which is $286,479,000 below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and fiscal year 2018 budget request,” said the committee’s report on the bill. “The Family Planning program administers Title X of the Public Health Service Act.”
The version of the Labor-HHS appropriations bill that was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, however, does include Title X money. The Senate committee’s report on its bill says: “The Committee provides $286,479,000 for the title X Family Planning program. This program supports preventive and primary healthcare services at clinics nationwide.”
In its latest annual report, Planned Parenthood said that it provided 328,348 abortions in the year that ended on Sept. 30, 2015. In a 365-day year that equaled approximately 900 abortions per day.
In the same annual report, Planned Parenthood said that in the year that ended on June 30, 2016, its revenue was $1,354,300,000 and that $554,600,000—or approximately 41 percent—of that revenue came from “government health-services reimbursements and grants.”
A Congressional Research Service report published on Aug. 31 cited the CBO as determining that Planned Parenthood got $60 million per year from the Title X program. “On September 22, 2015, the CBO estimated that PPFA and its affiliates receive approximately $60 million annually through the Title X program,” said the CRS report.
A CRS report published in May said that the Government Accountability Office and the CBO estimated that Planned Parenthood received in the neighborhood of $400 million per year from Medicaid.
“In a study of 2012 revenue, GAO found that PPFA affiliates reported $400.56 million in Medicaid reimbursements (including both federal and state dollars),” said CRS. “ In a 2015 cost estimate, CBO estimated that PPFA received $390 million in annual federal and state Medicaid reimbursements, making these reimbursements the largest source of federal support for PPFA.”
The Aug. 31 CRS report notes that the Title X funds cannot be used for abortions, but that clinics and organizations that perform abortions do receive Title X funds.
“The law prohibits the use of Title X funds in programs where abortion is a method of family planning,” said the CRS report.
“According to OPA [the HHS Office of Population Affairs], family planning projects that receive Title X funds are closely monitored to ensure that federal funds are used appropriately and that funds are not used for prohibited activities such as abortion,” said CRS. “The prohibition on abortion does not apply to all the activities of a Title X grantee, but only to activities that are part of the Title X project.”
“It is unclear precisely how many Title X clinics also provide abortions through their non-Title X activities,” said CRS. “In 2015, the Guttmacher Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of publicly funded family planning clinics. Respondents included 535 clinics that received Title X funds. Based on that survey, an estimated 10% of clinics that received any Title X funding reported offering abortions separately from their Title X project.”
“Title X critics argue that federal funds should be withheld from any organization that performs abortions, such as PPFA,” said CRS. “They argue that federal funding for nonabortion activities frees up Planned Parenthood’s other resources for its abortion activities.”
Congressional sources familiar with the spending deal enacted Friday confirmed that by continuing federal spending until Dec. 8 under the terms set in the previous spending deal continued funding of Planned Parenthood is permitted.
The spending bill passed the Senate by an 80-17 vote on Thursday and then passed the House on Friday by a vote of 316 to 90. President Trump signed it Friday.