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Much Ado About Nothing

The Republican threat to shut down the government unless the budget took away all funding for Planned Parenthood was even weirder and stupider than you can imagine. And even more amazingly, this news was pointed out by Republican Congressman Tom Cole, and even weirder, it was done on Fox News.

So what’s the news? There is no funding for Planned Parenthood in the budget bill that was being debated. None. That’s right, conservatives were threatening to shut down the government if they didn’t get something, and they already had that something.

How can that be? After all, Planned Parenthood receives around $450 million each year in federal funds. And if you also include state funding, that equals 41% of their yearly revenue.

But as Cole pointed out, 90% of that money comes from payments from Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) for medical services performed (largely for poor people). And as most people know, Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP are entitlements, whose funding is mandatory and does not go through the normal budgeting process.

The remaining 10% of the government funding for Planned Parenthood is from annual grants, given out under Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Those are discretionary spending, but they aren’t in the current budget bill either. Why not? Because those grants are given out in the spring. The current funding bill is only to keep the government operating until December 11. So this year’s grants were already paid, and next year’s grants won’t happen until next year.

Cole said on Fox News:

Well, first of all, look, on Planned Parenthood – there’s no money in the short-term (spending bill) for Planned Parenthood. Ninety percent of their money comes from Medicaid, not from anything we’re going to do. And the remainder is awarded on what are called grants. They’re all done in about April. There’s none left to do this year, literally none. So, the idea that we’re fighting over money for Planned Parenthood is — it’s a canard. It’s just not true.

And if you don’t believe Tom Cole (or me), PolitiFact rated Cole’s statement True.



  1. TJ wrote:

    I’m most impressed that PolitiFact gave out a “True”. They’ll move a statement down to “Half True” if you say burgundy when you should have said maroon.

    Friday, October 2, 2015 at 12:41 am | Permalink
  2. Dan wrote:

    Politics as usual

    Friday, October 2, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink
  3. ebdoug wrote:

    But saying “there is no funding” sends contributions soaring for Planned Parenthood. I sent $25 in the Texas debacle. Planned Parenthood has used every penny to ask me for more money. Nope.

    Friday, October 2, 2015 at 4:36 am | Permalink
  4. wildwood wrote:

    EBDOUG, that is exactly why I’ve stopped giving to almost all groups. I used to pick a different charity every year and give them what I could, but with almost all of them, they spent the money calling and sending letters asking for more.

    Friday, October 2, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  5. Ralph wrote:

    Yeah, I experienced much the same some years ago with WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and a few others. Send them a few bucks and they barrage you with appeals, sometimes for years to come.

    But in all fairness, non-profits are in kind of a Catch-22 bind. They can’t blanket the entire country with appeals and so the donations that do come in get more attention and encourages them to go back to the same well, playing the percentages and hoping to hit a jackpot here and there perhaps, while at the same time trying not to alienate their donor base. The bottom line, of course, is what percentage they spend on admin costs v. their primary mission. Reputable charities and non-profits publish their finances, generally online.

    Politicians play the same game. I think Colbert had a bit the other night where he quipped about sending a measly $3 to the JEB! campaign just for fun to see what would happen, and got swamped with nonstop email groveling for more. They all do it.

    Friday, October 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink
  6. Michael wrote:

    But I’ll bet this won’t stop the GOP members running for reelection from bragging about how they successfully made sure the budget they voted for provided $0–not a single penny–to Planned Parenthood.

    Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink
  7. redjon wrote:

    For checking efficiency of charity sites:

    Monday, October 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink