Publius / September 29, 2015

Congress Plans to Continue Unconstitutional Redistribution

If we’re going to shut down government, let’s stop all such spending.

The clock is winding down to 11:59 p.m. Wednesday and Congress is on its last lap before it approves a temporary spending measure for the new fiscal year that will keep government running until Dec. 11. On Monday, the Senate approved 77-16 the clean spending bill that keeps federal funds flowing to Planned Parenthood. The legislation has been sent to the House, where, if Republicans don’t halt the process, it will go back to the Senate and then to Obama’s desk. While some Republican lawmakers want to block the $500 million that the government gives to Planned Parenthood, there are other political strategies that are less politically fraught. House Speaker John Boehner, despite his flaws, announced that the House will form a special committee to investigate the organization’s trafficking of baby parts. It’s a compromise: As we learned with the House Select Committee on Benghazi, a bulldog-like lawmaker in the vein of Rep. Trey Gowdy can do much to keep focus on an issue. But as for the talk of grinding the government to a halt over Planned Parenthood, unfortunately, it’s become little more than a political fundraiser for both sides. Of course we shouldn’t be funding Planned Parenthood — because there’s no constitutional authority for doing so. While federal money going to the nation’s largest abortion provider is a particular abomination, nothing in the Constitution empowers Congress to take money from taxpayers and redistribute it to special interests of any sort. But there are thousands of such expenditures in every budget. If we’re going to shut down government, let’s do it to stop all of this unconstitutional spending.

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