Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today voted against the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill (H.R. 3293) for health, labor, and education programs, pointing to his concerns over the bill's cost and the use of taxpayer dollars to fund Planned Parenthood through Title X Family Planning. The bill passed by a vote of 264-153.
The overall spending bill appropriates $730.5 billion to fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, making it the largest of the 12 annual appropriations bills. The total is $58.9 billion more than enacted last year and $1.9 billion more than the President's request.
An amendment by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) to strip taxpayer funding of family planning services from Planned Parenthood failed by a vote of 183-247. Last year, Planned Parenthood received more than $350 million in revenue from government grants and contracts and performed more than 300,000 abortions.
"Although Planned Parenthood is prohibited from using taxpayer dollars for abortions, the federal support they receive frees up other funds which are used to promote and provide abortions. I am disappointed this amendment failed," Smith said.
The bill included $350,000 for the University of Nebraska-Kearney's Online Early Childhood Educations Bachelors Degree program, a project Smith requested in April.
The online program will enable in-service early childhood educators to retain their current employment while earning bachelor's degrees to stay ahead of evolving federal and state professional development standards.
"Nebraska is in danger of losing qualified early childhood educators due to evolving professional development standards. Assuring Nebraskans everywhere have access to post-secondary education is essential for the long-term economic well-being of many families in my district. This program will allow childhood care specialists to receive the most up-to-date training and education without causing them to leave their current positions," Smith said.