Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) claimed a win Friday after forcing Democrats to remove from their COVID “liberal wish list” bill a provision that would have allowed every Planned Parenthood facility in the country to receive free taxpayer funds through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
“Democrats knew this was never about COVID relief or helping small businesses,” said Dr. Paul, an ophthalmologist. “It was a shameless attempt to fund their radical agenda on the taxpayers’ backs and I was successful in preventing that from happening by stopping these funds from going to abortion mills.”
In a press statement, Paul’s office explained in the House version of the “massive $1.9 trillion liberal wish list,” individual Planned Parenthood facilities would have been treated as separate entities and, as such, eligible for the federal PPP aid.
Paul’s office explained further:
The original congressional intent of PPP was to limit large and well-financed groups, such as Planned Parenthood from receiving a loan, and instead provide relief to small business affected by COVID-19. Democrats had planned to waive affiliation rules for nonprofits to provide paycheck protection loans to Planned Parenthood in the House version of the COVID-19 relief package. The Paul team strenuously argued to the Senate Parliamentarian that this waiver would only benefit Planned Parenthood and thus violated the so-called Byrd rule. Before the Parliamentarian was able to rule on the arguments presented, the Democrats filed an updated version of the bill that did not include the offending provision – a concession that avoided setting a precedent.
In May 2020, Planned Parenthood affiliates received $80 million in loans from the PPP in violation of the rules of the relief program. Subsequently, officials of the Small Business Administration and some members of Congress, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), demanded the money be returned, threatening potential criminal prosecution.
Jacqueline Ayers, vice president of government relations & public policy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, denied the provision in the current bill was related to “Planned Parenthood 501(c)(3) organizations,” according to Fox News.
“The local Planned Parenthood affiliates that previously obtained loans made available by the CARES Act were eligible under the affiliation rules defined by the Small Business Administration,” Ayers insisted, referring to Planned Parenthood abortion clinics as providers of “essential healthcare.”
“Now is the time for everyone to come together to address this pandemic and pass much-needed COVID-19 relief, not for uninformed political attacks on access to essential health care,” she said.
Similarly, in an op-ed at the Washington Times, Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action, emphasized only nine percent of the COVID bill’s funding is actually slated to address the public health issues related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly half of the funding in the measure will be held back from distribution until 2022, at the earliest, a time when the pandemic could largely have already subsided, he observed as well.