Trump Official Testifies On Administration’s ‘Grave Concerns’ About Misuse Of Family Planning Funds, But Fails To Give Proof
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs Diane Foley defended the Trump administration's recent changes to the Title X family planning funding in front of Congress. But when asked about their "grave concerns" that money was going toward abortions, Foley was unable to cite instances when it occurred. The rule change set off a firestorm, and has been blocked for now by the courts.
Trump Administration Defends Controversial Changes To Family Planning Program On Capitol Hill
The Trump administration faced fierce backlash from Democrats Wednesday when it defended its controversial decision to ban abortion providers from participating in a federally funded family planning program. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs Diane Foley, a Trump appointee, testified before Congress for the first time Wednesday about the administration’s changes to Title X, a decades-old grant program for family planning clinics that offer contraception and preventive health services to low-income women. (Hellmann, 6/19)
HHS Official Defends Family Planning Program Changes
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on the family planning program, known as Title X, was spurred in part by contention over the Trump administration's changes that would limit which providers may receive federal grants. A recent administration rule would disqualify grantees that provide or refer for abortions or co-locate with an abortion provider, even though federal funds cannot be used for abortions in most cases under current law. The rule was blocked nationwide, at least temporarily, in the courts. Democrats, who oppose the currently enjoined rule, worry it would decrease access for women and cause clinics to close. Republicans counter the rule is necessary to ensure program integrity and fully separate abortion from other aspects of family planning. (Raman, 6/19)
In other news from Capitol Hill —
VA Chief Pressed On Efforts To Prevent Veteran Suicides
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie told lawmakers his agency is stepping up efforts to prevent veteran suicides during testimony before a Senate panel Wednesday. Wilkie testified before a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, where he was pressed on efforts the Trump administration is taking to address what many have called a growing epidemic of suicide among former military servicemembers. (Slaughter, 6/19)
Chris Murphy May Oppose Bipartisan Health Bill Unless It Addresses ObamaCare 'Sabotage'
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Wednesday he may vote against a bipartisan measure to lower health care costs next week unless it addresses a GOP “sabotage” of ObamaCare. Murphy told reporters he is worried that there is “no language in the measure to counteract the massive sabotage campaign that's happening by the administration.” The measure is currently before members of the Senate Health Committee. (Sullivan, 6/19)