By Phil Roe
In last week’s column, I gave an overview of the recent omnibus spending bill and called for the Senate to change their broken and outdated rules so Congress can help advance President Trump’s agenda. While I know this vote was necessary to ensure the men and women who serve in our military have the resources they need, and will never apologize for taking care of our troops, I have heard several concerns about this package that I wanted to address more specifically.
Some are concerned that this package funds Planned Parenthood. This bill does not include any direct funding for Planned Parenthood. In the past, the Obama Administration enacted a regulation that forced states to fund abortion providers like Planned Parenthood with their Title X funds. As you may know, I was a proud cosponsor of and voted for H.J.Res. 43, legislation that overturned this rule using the Congressional Review Act, and President Trump signed this bill into law last year. Now, Tennessee is no longer forced to provide Planned Parenthood with any funding. As a doctor who delivered nearly 5,000 babies, I fully believe that life is a precious miracle that begins at conception. I am a proud supporter and advocate for the right to life and will always support pro-life policies and organizations.
Planned Parenthood also receives mandatory funding through Medicaid for non-abortion services. This funding is not included in the Omnibus either. As you may know, as part of last year’s effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with patient-centered health care, I was proud to support legislation that would redirect this mandatory funding for Planned Parenthood to community health centers, which serve more than 111,000 patients in the First Congressional District. Unfortunately, this legislation came up one vote short in the Senate, so we must – and we will – continue working to end this funding stream as well.
I’ve also heard from constituents concerned about the funding of so-called sanctuary cities. Federal law already requires cities to comply with all federal laws – but in previous administrations, it has not been a priority to enforce this law. Under President Trump’s leadership, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is working to enforce the law and force cities to comply with federal immigration laws. I fully support the President and the Attorney General in their efforts to do so. I’ve said time and time again the first step to fixing our broken immigration system is border security. Until we secure our border, everything we do to prevent illegal immigrants from staying in this country will be a waste of time and resources. I’ll say it again: we must secure our border. That’s why I was pleased that the omnibus included $1.57 billion to construct parts of the wall President Trump promised at our southern border. While I hope we can fund substantially more in the future, I was pleased that this down payment was included.
I also support enhancing current law to hold sanctuary cities around the country who fail to follow federal immigration law accountable. That’s why I am a cosponsor of H.R. 400, the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act. This bill cuts off federal development funding grants for jurisdictions that have policies in place that prohibit or restrict communication with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status.
You can rest assured I will continue standing with our president to protect the unborn and fix our broken immigration system. The American people are counting on us to deliver, and I’ll stand side-by-side with President Trump to get this great country back on track.
Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family.