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December 30, 2015

Right Plans Hiatus in Planned Parenthood Funding Fight

Conservative activists tell The New York Times that 2016 will bring a break in the long-running Capitol Hill battle over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. A scheduled and largely symbolic House vote next week to halt payments to the women's health nonprofit will likely be the last on the issue until a Republican moves into the White House.

After last summer's firestorm over secretly shot videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue for profit — a claim the organization vehemently denied — Republicans stepped up efforts to halt the group's Medicaid reimbursement for providing non-abortion health services to low-income women. Attempts to do so as part of federal spending legislation foundered against Democratic opposition in the Senate, where 60 votes were needed to end debate and send such bills to the floor.

The latest bid is wrapped in a so-called budget-reconciliation bill that was able to clear the Senate with a simple majority. The House is also expected to pass the measure. While President Obama has promised a veto, abortion foes said the vote will show that conservatives can end Planned Parenthood funding if a Republican wins the election. "I see it, and a lot of folks see it, as shifting into 2017," said Dan Holler, a spokesman for the conservative group Heritage Action.