Here’s yet another indication that Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown intends to vote in a way that more reflects his state’s electorate and less in the way Tea Party movement Republicans demand him to vote: he’s against eliminating all Planned Parenthood funding. Look for Rush, Sean, et. al to start going after him with frequency and a Tea Party primary challenge when he’s up for re-election. But this may be the straw that broke the teapot’s spout:
US Senator Scott Brown opposes a House Republican plan to cut all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the womens’ health service provider, and today urged budget negotiators to reach a compromise.
“I support family planning and health services for women,” Brown, a Bay State Republican, said in a statement. “Given our severe budget problems, I don’t believe any area of the budget is completely immune from cuts. However, the proposal to eliminate all funding for family planning goes too far. As we continue with our budget negotiations, I hope we can find a compromise that is reasonable and appropriate.”
House Republicans have sought to eliminate all federal grants and contracts with Planned Parenthood, some $300 million, because the agency provides abortion services. By law, none of the federal money can be used to pay for abortions, but abortion-rights opponents have argued that any financial support for Planned Parenthood frees up other money that could be used for abortions.
The argument comes as part of an ongoing budget fight: Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have been unable to agree on a budget to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year; Congress has recently passed two short-term stopgaps to allow more time to reach a long-term deal.
Massachusetts has always been a different kind of state for Republicans, where they must jump through hoops not on the far right to survive. Just look at Mitt Romney running around the country trying to distance himself from his health care reform record (and stands) as Governor — a record admired by some RINOS, Democrats and independents and reviled by many conservative Republicans.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.