House Speaker Paul Ryan defended not defunding Planned Parenthood in the spending bill Congress will vote on this week, saying that legislation repealing Obamacare is a better vehicle to strip federal money from the abortion and women's health provider.
The spending deal released this week doesn't defund nonprofit, angering anti-abortion groups. Ryan said during his weekly press conference that the reason was due to tactics: Spending bills need 60 votes to pass the Senate, and a defunding measure would be problematic.
However, the House is expected to take up an Obamacare repeal bill that would need only 51 votes for passage, a smaller hurdle. The bill, which will use the procedural move called reconciliation, includes a measure defunding Planned Parenthood for one year.
"The reconciliation bill advances the pro-life cause even further," Ryan said.
Ryan said in March that he wants to use reconciliation to get Planned Parenthood defunded, according to a report in the Washington Times.
However, that hasn't dissuaded anti-abortion groups from venting about the lack of defunding provisions in the spending bill.
"With pro-life Republican majorities in both houses, it is incredibly disappointing that any Republican spending bill would contain continued funding for Planned Parenthood," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony's List.
Dannenfelser said the spending bill's omission puts more pressure on Republicans to pass any reconciliation bill that defunds Planned Parenthood.
House Whip Steve Scalise said leadership has "been making important progress" on the Obamacare repeal legislation, called the American Health Care Act, but no vote is scheduled.
Leadership intends to bring the bill to the floor only if they have enough votes and won't bring it up if they are a few short.