Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has asked top Senate appropriators to continue providing funding for Planned Parenthood, making her the first GOP senator to publicly oppose funding cuts to the organization that House Republicans want to make.
A House-passed continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year would eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. The funding bill did not receive enough votes in the Senate this week to pass. But there are efforts by some conservative lawmakers and groups to include the funding cut in any spending bill that moves forward.
“I believe that Planned Parenthood provides vital services to those in need and disagree with their funding cuts contained in the bill,” Murkowski wrote in a letter to Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and ranking member Thad Cochran.
Murkowski voted for the funding bill, but said in her letter that she only did so “to send a clear signal” that she is serious about reducing the nation’s deficit. She said she supports several programs facing the chopping block in the bill, and asked that those cuts not be made.
Along with Planned Parenthood, she cited her support for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program; the Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Program; and the Weatherization Assistance Program.
“I ask that you consider these programs going forward to determine if there is room for allowing continued funding,” she wrote to Inouye and Cochran. “By zeroing out certain programs, some entities will be forced to close their doors because of how reliant they are on the federal government.”