WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Advocates for Planned Parenthood are concerned their group will lose millions in federal funding under a plan approved by the U.S. House which cuts $100 billion from the federal budget, mostly through cuts to domestic programs. The group, joined by Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch (D-19th District), held a press conference at their West Palm Beach office Friday afternoon.
"Under the guise of deficit reduction, they are trying to eliminate life saving cancer screenings, breast cancer screenings, basic birth control and education ", says Planned Parenthood Vice-President of Public Policy Judith Selzer. Planned Parenthood receives federal dollars for those health services, but not for their more controversial abortion services.
Republicans counter that the cuts, while painful, are absolutely necessary. Representative Tom Rooney (R-16th District) told NewsChannel 5, "I can't count how many things there are that are programs or funding sources from the federal government that are going to be hard on a lot of people."
The budget plan is considered "dead on arrival" in the U.S. Senate. House and Senate negotiators are hoping to avoid a government shutdown. The government technically runs out of money next Friday, March 4th, as it loses it's ability to borrow. Republicans want to extract cuts before agreeing to raise the debt limit, which is currently over $13 trillion.
Negotiators make work out a short-term deal to continue government funding for another two weeks. There's no word on where funding for Planned Parenthood would stand if such a deal is reached.