Tony Perkins / September 10, 2015

Show Vote Showdown

It may not be a comfortable position for Republican leaders, but it’s certainly a familiar one. Caught between Planned Parenthood and a hard place, the GOP has to decide whether to continue the funding of an organization that’s been exposed for trafficking in baby body parts or stand up to a President who has vowed to defend the nation’s largest abortion provider no matter what.

It may not be a comfortable position for Republican leaders, but it’s certainly a familiar one. Caught between Planned Parenthood and a hard place, the GOP has to decide whether to continue the funding of an organization that’s been exposed for trafficking in baby body parts or stand up to a President who has vowed to defend the nation’s largest abortion provider no matter what.

While Democrats sit back and enjoy the view, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is desperately trying to keep his fraying majority from unraveling in a messy budget debate that has serious implications — not just for his leadership, but the party’s at large. Revolted by Planned Parenthood’s underground baby-parts-for-profits scheme, voters are demanding action now. Like us, conservative Congressman Justin Amash has heard all of the excuses before. “Establishment Rs say, ‘Wait till we have a GOP Pres.’ If that happens, they’ll say, ‘Wait till we have a filibuster-proof majority.’” he tweeted.

For five years, Republican leaders have been in the business of making the other side’s job easier. Democrats don’t even have to work to get their way anymore — they simply threaten to block a bill and wait for the GOP to cave. As people who are familiar with the process, we understand the political realities. Without 60 votes in the Senate and a President who says, “God Bless Planned Parenthood” at every fundraiser, defunding these taxpayer-funded brutes is a tough (Capitol) hill to climb. But tough isn’t the same as impossible. And at some point, Congress has to do what’s right — not just from a political standpoint, but from a moral one.

A standalone bill to stop the flood of taxpayer dollars to Richards’s group, which has been promised by GOP leaders, will go nowhere. Obviously, there are certain instances in the House and Senate where a “show vote” is appropriate. But at some point, Republicans have to stop showing — and start telling. As everyone knows, the only way to force the Democrats’ hand is to put the issue on a must-pass piece of legislation. Like us, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) realizes the moment is too rare to squander with political posturing. “It has to be dealt with on the funding bill,” he said unequivocally. “They shouldn’t continue to receive a penny of taxpayer money.”

And [yesterday], in the House Judiciary Committee, experts explained plenty of reasons why. [Wednesday] afternoon, Republicans held the first hearing on Planned Parenthood’s side business of ripping apart tiny babies and selling them like parts at a human junkyard. In one of the more shocking moments of testimony, Democratic witness and pro-abortion attorney Priscilla Smith actually argued that a late-term abortion, one in which a baby is torn apart and bleeds to death, is a “humane” way for the unborn to die. In typical liberal fashion, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) says it’s “immaterial” that Planned Parenthood admits on tape to breaking the law. Then, of course, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) tried to discredit the National Right to Life spokesman for not being present when the videos were filmed — only to admit that the Congressman hadn’t even viewed the videos he was defending!

If this is how the President’s party responds to Planned Parenthood’s nauseating brutality, Republicans have nothing to lose by holding the line. When push comes to shove, let the American people decide who’s on their side — and the side of humanity — if the President chooses to shut down the government. As FRC and dozens of coalition allies said in a letter to House leadership [yesterday], “The House can and must act to send a defunding measure back to the Senate while the exposure of these atrocities continue to shock the American conscience and build momentum to stop federal complicity in this organization’s inhumane practices.”

Sometimes we lose — but that doesn’t mean we stop fighting for what’s right. Americans are tired of waiting. It’s time for Republican leaders to stop protecting their jobs and start doing them!

Congress in a Deal Pickle…

Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood isn’t the only headache Republicans are dealing with this month. The President’s Iran deal is a raw one for America — and members of both parties know it. While the two sides gear up for the first 11 hours of what is sure to be heated debate, thousands of Americans are flooding the West Lawn of the Capitol for a “Stop Iran” rally.

And according to experts, there’s no reason Congress can’t do exactly that. While President Obama cheered what many believed to be the 41 votes he needs to shake hands with Iran’s radical regime, National Review Institute’s Andrew McCarthy posted a powerful pair of columns on why Obama’s deal is far from settled. “All that the Republican-controlled Congress has to do, if it really wants to derail this thing,” he writes, “is follow the law that they wrote and Obama signed, the Corker law — the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review of 2015.” Under the “Corker legislation,” as it’s being called, the President was ordered to provide any and all details between related parties by July 19.

He hasn’t. As members have come to find out, Secretary of State John Kerry has kept busy cutting quite a few side deals — none of which Congress was privy to when the clock started on a legislative response earlier this summer. Not only does that mean the 30-day window for congressional review should be reset, but it also means that conservatives have plenty of options for fighting the deal. Why aren’t Republican leaders using them? According to McCarthy, the GOP is too busy “helping the President do what he wants to do.”

“‘Surrender… Then Play-Fight’ is Republican leadership’s shameful approach to ‘governing.’ The quotes around ‘governing’ are intentional,” he jabs. “After voters, having trusted the GOP’s 2014 campaign promises to block Obama’s agenda, gave Republicans control of both houses of Congress, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) notoriously said that the party’s primary objective was to show the public that it could ‘govern.’ As I countered at the time, this was gibberish. Governing is principally an executive exercise. Presidents govern, while legislators prescribe. Prescribing law and monitoring the administration’s execution of it are crucial functions, but they are not governing, because lawmakers are powerless to carry out policy.” Anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention to Congress these past few years has watched this same scenario play out over ObamaCare, immigration, abortion, and now Iran. McCarthy explains:

> “Obama wants to do something bad. The Republicans decide to let him do it, while appearing to oppose it. Why? Maybe because they secretly agree that it should be done but know it will infuriate their base (think: raising the debt ceiling). Maybe because, although Republicans know it is bad, they are less concerned about the danger to the country than about the media-Left wrath that will rain down on them if they block Obama. Making a calculation rooted in politics rather than statesmanship, they conclude: It’s better to let the bad thing happen than be blamed for ‘gridlock,’ ‘partisanship,’ etc.; plus, if they can pull off the ‘enable Obama while ostensibly opposing Obama’ trick, their empty rhetorical opposition will poll better than taking real steps to stop the president (think: Iran deal).”

Unfortunately for those leaders, the American people — including our own Ken Blackwell and Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who spoke at [Wednesday’s] rally — aren’t about to let the President get away with succumbing to a nation who chants “Death to America.” If the GOP is smart, it won’t either.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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