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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 19, 2007)

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Mr. PENCE. Madam Chairman, I rise on behalf of the fringe in America. Madam Chairman, that would be the fringe that believes that governments ought to live within their means, ought to pay their bills, ought to balance budgets.

The gentleman from Ohio, whom I respect and admire his style as a legislator and a leader, has coined the phrase ``fringe,'' and I want to embrace it. I want to come to this floor and say every American who believes that we ought to balance the Federal budget, who believes that we ought to come together across the political divide and reform entitlements, who believes we ought to wrestle to the ground an $8 trillion national debt, that fringe is the fringe that I represent in America and those with which I proudly stand.

And let me say I know that number 8 trillion very well. On my way to the floor today, I passed the office of clearly a dozen of the gentleman from Ohio's colleagues' offices, Democrats all, who anyone looking on wouldn't necessarily know, who all have signs in front of their office lamenting an $8 trillion national debt. And as the other gentleman said, I lament the role of the Republican majority in creating that, and I fought members of my own majority in years that we saw the debt go from $5 trillion to $8 trillion.

But I say on behalf of the fringe, the fringe of Americans who say governments ought to live within their means, they ought to balance budgets, they ought to make the tough choices in a bipartisan way to live within the fiscal values that the American people represent, I say let's deal with it. And this cut today brought by the gentleman from Georgia is a modest step to be sure. It is a 1 percent cut. It says instead of doing with a 4.8 percent increase over last year, the Federal Government will have to get by on a 3.8 percent increase over last year. And it doesn't seem to me to be too much to ask, with an $8 trillion national debt, for us to come together and begin to trim and begin to make the hard choices. But it won't solve the real problem, and my cherished colleagues on the other side of the aisle know this. We have to get past the names; we have to get past the categories, and we have to represent the fringe of America that wants to see us balance this budget.

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Mr. PENCE. Madam Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment No. 67 offered by Mr. Pence:

At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

Sec. __X. None of the funds made available under this Act shall be available to Planned Parenthood for any purpose under title X of the Public Health Services Act.

The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the order of the House of Wednesday, July 18, 2007, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Pence) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Indiana.

Mr. PENCE. Madam Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.

(Mr. PENCE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. PENCE. Allow me to say there are many good things happening in federally funded Family Planning clinics nationwide: 5 million Americans served, 90 percent of whom are low income; 900,000 unintended pregnancies were averted by title X family planning funding; and it is reassuring that abstinence education is required for all clients. But today, I am offering an amendment that is very simple.

The Pence amendment states that no funds under title X may be granted to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the largest recipient of title X funding, and it is the largest abortion provider in America. Last year alone, Planned Parenthood's own annual report states that it received more than one-third of its $1 billion budget from government contracts and grants. And, again, according to their annual report, Planned Parenthood performed more than one quarter of a million abortions.

Millions of pro-life Americans should not be asked to fund the leading abortion provider in the United States. Now, let me stipulate, I know that title X funds may not be used for abortion. And my amendment does not cut or reduce the budget for family planning in this appropriation bill; it simply prevents appropriated funds from reaching an organization that profits from the abortion trade.

It is time the American people stop funding the Nation's largest abortion provider, and I urge support for the Pence amendment.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PENCE. Madam Chairman, I yield myself 15 seconds.

I want to respond substantively to the gracious comments of the chairman whose work on this legislation I acknowledge heartily. But as to the issue of protecting all the values that the Republican majority advanced, I would hasten to remind that in the Foreign Operations bill we did great violence to the historic Mexico City policy. That change came. We must end the practice of funding Planned Parenthood.

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Mr. PENCE. I thank my colleague from New York for his extraordinary courtesy. And let me say, I regret that this debate will only take 15 minutes. It is a great and serious matter, and I think the dignity with which it's been conducted thus far is evidence of the capacity of this Congress to discuss even the most contentious issues of our time in a manner that reflects civility and favorably on the institution.

Now, that being said, let me clear up a few points. This is not, as the chairman said, ``a frontal assault on family planning.'' There are no cuts in Title X in the Pence amendment. The Pence amendment states plainly that no funds under Title X may be granted to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is the largest recipient of Title X funding, and it's also the largest abortion provider in America.

And as to whether we are living under the same arrangements, as the chairman said, and I respectfully quote, ``same arrangements under Republican rule,'' it seems to me just a short time ago we saw this new majority overturn much of the decades long Mexico City policy that prevented Federal dollars from going to organizations overseas that provide abortion for family planning.

I think this Nation needs a domestic Mexico City policy. And frankly, if the common ground that this Congress has reached means tens of millions of Federal tax dollars going to the largest abortion provider in America, that is not a common ground I can accept.

Say ``no'' to Federal funds for Planned Parenthood in Title X. Say ``yes'' to family planning funding through Title X. Say ``yes'' to the Pence amendment.

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