Vice President Mike Pence was called upon once again to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, this time to overturn an Obama era regulation blocking states from denying federal funds to abortion providers including Planned Parenthood.
As was the case last month when Pence first had to step in to cast the deciding vote to confirm Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, liberal Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine were the defectors, setting up the 50-50 tie.
Both Murkowski and Collins support Planned Parenthood and introduced legislation during the last Congress that sought to block Republicans from defunding the largest provider of abortions in the nation.
Wednesday’s vote was under the Congressional Review Act, which enables Congress to overturn regulations with a majority vote in both chambers, and a signature by the president.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., filed the CRA bills to overturn the Obama rule taking power away from the states to direct where block-granted federal money would go.
“State legislatures around the country have spoken out about their preference for prioritizing more comprehensive primary and preventative care providers for the receipt of Title X funding,” the pair wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, “and their voice should be respected by bureaucrats in the federal government.”
“According to its 2014-2015 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortion procedures in just one year. Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the abortion industry in this country,” they wrote. “Nor should they be forced to foot the bill for an organization like Planned Parenthood that has displayed such blatant disregard for human life.”
The House voted in February to overturn the rule 230-188.
— Susan B Anthony List (@SBAList) March 30, 2017
It appears Pence may be far more active that previous vice presidents in his role as president of the Senate.
Joe Biden cast no votes during his entire eight year tenure in the post, while Pence has already cast two.
“All told, there have been a dozen vice presidents (one-quarter of the overall total) who served without ever casting a single tiebreaker vote,” according to NPR.
Roll Call reported that Murkowski and Collins were the most likely Republican senators to vote with former President Barack Obama. Their tallies were 72 and 76 percent respectively in 2013.
Based on this record, it seems probable Pence will be making more trips to Capitol Hill to cast tie-breaking votes.
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