Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who is recovering from back surgery, is wheeled away from the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 30, 2017, following a vote to advance legislation that would allow states to block federal family-planning funds to Planned Parenthood.
Pence was able to cast the tie-breaking vote, his second since the president's inauguration, after Sen. Pence broke his first tie on the nomination of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, when the same two Republican senators, Collins and Murkowski, voted against her.
Shortly before he left office, Obama pushed through an HHS regulation that essentially forces states to give Planned Parenthood Title X funding. Republicans are using a special legislative tool called the Congressional Review Act to repeal several Obama-era rules and regulations issued at the end of President Barack Obama's term.
Planned Parenthood decried the move..
A final vote on the bill is expected later Thursday, when Pence's vote likely will be needed again. The group is the No. 1 abortion provider in the USA but also offers extensive birth control and health-screening services.
Overturning this rule is the appropriate step for Congress to take, to both protect life and reassert that the states have Tenth Amendment rights to allocate Title X family planning grants in such a manner that prioritizes community health clinics and true family planning over the industrial abortion industry as represented by Planned Parenthood.
There's a reason they could barely get enough votes to get this bill through a procedural step: "People are sick and exhausted of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and they will not stand for it", Planned Parenthood Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement.
With Republicans holding 52-48 control of the Senate, the Collins and Murkowski defections could have derailed the bill because Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said. The House already voted to reverse the regulation in February, USA Today reports.
The last time a vice president had to break a tie on final passage of legislation was almost a dozen years ago, when Richard B. Cheney voted for the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.
Defund Planned Parenthood but do so knowing the bill won't make it through the Senate. They have focused their ire mostly on Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that federal law now prohibits taxpayer funds from going toward financing abortions.
"The proposed rule will further Title X's objective by protecting access of intended beneficiaries to Title X service providers that offer a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods and services".