The 114th Congress will kick off the new year on Wednesday by voting an eighth time to strip federal funds from Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest family planning provider, because its health services include abortion.
The House of Representatives is expected to pass a budget reconciliation bill that guts the Affordable Care Act, pulls roughly $450 million in federal assistance from Planned Parenthood and prevents Medicaid recipients from getting reimbursed for their visits at Planned Parenthood clinics. There is already a federal law preventing taxpayer dollars from being used toward abortion -- Planned Parenthood's patients have to pay for that service separately out of pocket -- but Republicans have long despised the family planning provider for ideological reasons.
"It's up to the president to decide if he wants to side with the people whose health care costs have skyrocketed out of control, or the abortion industrial complex whose profits have skyrocketed out of control," Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters Wednesday. "Congress is holding President Obama accountable."
Of course we know that Speaker Ryan is desperate to do something, even something he knows has no chance of getting past the President's veto pen, in an attempt to get the conservatives off his back for allowing that Omnibus bill to through the House. Since then he has been under attack, and the Teabaggers have been calling for his head.
So for anybody who thought that Ryan would be a more effective House Speaker than John Boehner, well I guess you know better now.
He is still held captive by a rabid Right Wing which simply cannot tolerate the idea of compromise, and who views a government that solves problems and makes things happen as an abject failure.
Welcome to 2016.