Both Massachusetts senators voted against a budget amendment today that would have banned federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, a measure that was part of a bargain struck last week to avoid a government shutdown.
Scott Brown, a Republican, and John Kerry, a Democrat, were among those voting against the Planned Parenthood resolution, which was defeated 58-42. Both senators went on to vote for the six-month budget measure funding the government through September.
"As I've said before, I believe this particular cut goes too far," Brown said in a brief statement.
Brown’s vote earned praise from Dianne Luby, president of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, who said the amendment would have cut off federal funds for a range of women’s health services, from breast cancer screening to HIV testing.
“Clearly, Senator Brown was listening to his constituents when he cast his vote to protect women’s health,” Luby said in a statement. “He understands that Planned Parenthood is an essential community provider and that cutting off access to critical preventive health services is not smart public health or fiscal policy.”
The vote was included in a pact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and President Obama reached late last week just before a midnight deadline to fund the government.
During the tense budget talks, House Republicans had sought to ban the use of federal funds for Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortions, although federal law already prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for most abortions. The issue became a major obstacle to a budget deal long after spending reductions and disagreement over other social issues had been decided.
The Planned Parenthood amendment allowed the measure to receive a debate and a vote in the Senate, where the Democrats have a majority, and its defeat was expected.
Theo Emery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @temery.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.