Murkowski & Collins Defect From GOP To Help Dems Win Senate Vote 48-47

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As of Thursday, nearly a million American workers are either furloughed or working without pay with no indication that they’ll be able to feed their families, cover their healthcare needs, or keep their homes anytime soon. So Congress met today to vote on an abortion bill.

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to bring numerous bills already passed in the House of Representatives to open the government to the Senate for a vote, but he had no problem once again introducing what has become a biannual bill that never passes to end all federal funding for abortion services to the floor. Notable Republicans who stood against their party were Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

POLITICO reports that:

‘Nearly all Democrats and two Republicans voted late Thursday afternoon against the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would make permanent the long-standing prohibitions on federal dollars for most abortions and place new restrictions on the procedure. Democratic Sens. Bob Casey and Joe Manchin voted for the funding ban, while Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against the measure, which was defeated 48-47.’

The vote was nowhere close to the 60 needed to pass the bill, and McConnell knew that before it was brought to the floor. The bill is a tradition for Republicans ahead of the March for Life rallies, in 2019 they’re scheduled for Friday, as well as on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that determined that women have the right to make their own medical decisions without government interference.

Although the Hyde Amendment already prevents federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape and incest or when the mother’s life is in danger, Republicans try this over and over in a symbolic nod to their evangelical base. They don’t seem to care that poor mothers who rely on Medicaid for healthcare would die in those cases if their bill should pass, or how hypocritical that makes their “right to life” stance.

Two senators gave statements ahead of the bill’s introduction. Their comments were telling regarding whose priorities are aligned with the actual will of the American people who elected them.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

‘As thousands gather in our nation’s capital this week to March for Life, it is well past time Congress passed a comprehensive solution to the patchwork of regulations prohibiting federal funding for abortion services. Our legislation would create a permanent, government-wide prohibition on abortion funding so that not one taxpayer dollar goes toward the destruction of innocent human life.’

Wicker’s bill does nothing of the sort. He’s never offered a bill to restrict taxpayer funding from killing people in war or via the death penalty.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

‘Instead of voting to pay federal workers, they’re trying to tell women what kinds of health insurance they can and can’t have. Instead of ending the chaos and dysfunction, and getting our country back on track they want to chip away — again — at every woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own health care decisions.’

Consider that 58 percent of Americans agree that abortion should remain legal and 71 percent of the country wants the government reopened immediately, it seems that Democrats are once again more in touch with the will of the people.

Featured image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license