Ernst Applauds Move to Restore States’ Ability to Make Funding Decisions for Title X Providers

“I rise today to thank my colleagues for their support of my legislation to overturn President Obama’s 11th hour rule that revoked States’ rights to determine the best eligible sub-grantees for Title X family planning funding.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today spoke on the floor of the Senate to applaud the passage of the bicameral legislation she introduced along with U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-TN) to overturn an eleventh-hour rule issued by the Obama administration, and restore decisions about the best eligible Title X providers to the states.

Click here or on the image below to watch Senator Ernst’s remarks.

 

The following is the full text of Senator Ernst’s remarks:

“Mr. President.

“I rise today to thank my colleagues for their support of my legislation to overturn President Obama’s 11th hour rule that revoked States’ rights to determine the best eligible sub-grantees for Title X family planning funding.

“It should be the right of our States to allocate sub-grants under the Title X program in the way that best fits the needs of the people living there. Unfortunately, like many other rules issued during the Obama administration, this rule attempted to empower federal bureaucrats in Washington and silence our States.

“As we all know, States are closer to and more familiar with the health care providers and patients within their borders, and should be able to make their own decisions about the best eligible Title X sub-grantees – be it hospitals, federally qualified community health centers, or other types of providers.

“A number of States have acted in recent years to prioritize Title X sub-grants to more comprehensive providers, where women can receive greater preventive and primary care than they can at providers like Planned Parenthood.

“The Obama Administration’s rule attempted to claim that providers like Planned Parenthood can ‘accomplish Title X programmatic objectives more effectively’. This rhetoric does not match the reality. 

“In fact, after Representative Diane Black and I led more than 100 of our colleagues in pointing that out to the Obama administration, HHS acknowledged the challenge of measuring effectiveness across all types of Title X recipients and sub-recipients, and therefore, removed the word ‘effectively’ from the final rule.

“So why was this rule implemented in the first place? It’s because the Obama administration wanted to do everything it could to secure federal funding streams for Planned Parenthood before they turned over the keys to the Trump administration.

“With our vote today, we prevented that from happening.

“But let me be clear. Although it is no secret that I do not believe Planned Parenthood – the nation’s single largest provider of abortion services – is deserving of federal taxpayer dollars, this legislation does not prevent Planned Parenthood or any other specific entity from receiving Title X funds.

“If states like Washington or Massachusetts want to distribute Title X sub-grants to Planned Parenthood, this legislation to overturn the Obama Administration’s rule won’t prevent them from doing so.

“Nor does overturning the rule reduce overall funding levels for the Title X family planning programs.

“In fact, this legislation does not in any way decrease women’s health care funding.

“Rather, overturning the rule merely empowers States over a Washington-Knows-Best mentality and ensures that States have the ability to identify the best eligible Title X sub-grantees.

“It restores local control and ensures that States aren’t forced by the Federal Government to provide abortion providers like Planned Parenthood with taxpayer dollars.

“I appreciate my colleagues’ support of this legislation, and I look forward to President Trump signing it and scrapping the Obama Administration’s overreaching, 11th hour rule.

“Thank you, Mr. President, and I yield the floor.”

About Senator Ernst and Representative Black’s bicameral legislation:

  • The rule currently secures federal Title X family planning grants for Planned Parenthood and interferes with states’ ability to make their own decisions about the best eligible providers.
  • This legislation would overturn the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) final rule to amend regulations implementing the Title X Family Planning Program.

At the 2017 March for Life in Washington, D.C., Senator Ernst announced the reintroduction of this measure to thousands of attendees. That same day, Senator Ernst and Representative Black penned a column in the Washington Examiner detailing their commitment to protecting life.