It was a busy day on Capitol Hill.
The US Senate voted 52 to 47 on Dec. 3 in favor of “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015,” a bill that repeals the “core pillars of Obamacare,” as The Hill explains, by “repealing authority for the federal government to run healthcare exchanges, and scrapping subsidies to help people afford plans bought through those exchanges,” as well as eliminating penalties for individuals and employers who don’t get or offer health insurance.
Included in the bill is a clause specifically targeted at Planned Parenthood:
For one year, no federal funds may be made available to a state for direct payments, or payments through a managed care organization, to an entity (e.g., Planned Parenthood Federation of America) that:
is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization;
is an essential community provider primarily engaged in family planning services and reproductive health;
provides for abortions other than abortions in cases of rape or incest, or where a physical condition endangers a woman’s life unless an abortion is performed; and
received a total of more than $350 million under Medicaid in FY2014, including payments to affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, or clinics.
Planned Parenthood received $528 million in government funding last year, most of it from Medicaid. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood visits are to treat sexually-transmitted diseases and obtain birth control.
Three amendments to that bill related to gun control were voted down, though.
The Senate rejected an amendment introduced by Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic California senator, that would “would deny people on a federal terrorism watch list the ability to purchase guns,” as Politico describes it, 45 to 54. It also rejected an amendment by Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, that would “expand background checks for guns purchased online and at gun shows” (48 to 50) and one by John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, that would have delayed suspected terrorists from getting a gun for as long as 72 hours, by a 55-44 vote.
The overall healthcare bill only needed 51 votes to pass instead of the usual 60 because it was being considered under a special budget reconciliation process.
Senators are being publicly called out on Twitter and other social media after their gun control-related votes:
The health insurance bill, and the Congress’s creation of it, is mostly symbolic. President Barack Obama has vowed to veto it, and US Republicans don’t have the votes necessary to override a veto.