- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Even a government shutdown wouldn’t stop all funding for Planned Parenthood, the Congressional Research Service said in a new memo Tuesday that could complicate GOP spending plans for the rest of this year.

The women’s health care provider, which has come under fire for its abortion practice, gets most of its federal money from Medicaid, the government’s health program for the poor, which gets advance funding. That means that even should Congress and President Obama not settle on funding by the beginning of fiscal year 2016, Medicaid will get money, and will be able to fund Planned Parenthood.

Some “minor” funds that rely on discretionary grant programs could disappear, but the bulk of the federal money flowing to Planned Parenthood comes from funds that are already baked in, the CRS said, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other emergency funding that can be spent even in a shutdown, such as the Community Development Block Grant.

The automatic funding could put a kink in some Republicans’ plans to try to defund the abortion provider because it removes leverage. Funding for most government operations expires Sept. 30, and without new funding many non-essential operations would cease. But pre-approved funding can still be spent.

Republicans ran into a similar problem in 2013, when some of them were intent on using the annual spending process to try to defund Obamacare. But most of the Affordable Care Act had automatic or advance funding, so even as the government shut down, the health law kept operating.

After more than two weeks of a partial shutdown, the GOP conceded its demands and funding for the whole government was restored — with back pay for workers who had been furloughed.

The shutdown fight has risen now in the wake of videos released by the Center for Medical Progress that appear to show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating sales of fetal tissue parts for research.

Planned Parenthood has said the videos are misleading, and deny illegal behavior.

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