For the second time since he’s been Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence had to step in to place a tie-breaking vote. This time, it’s related to the future of Planned Parenthood.
Thursday’s vote was related to the regulations put in place during the Obama-era that helps to fund abortion providers. Before Pence cast his vote, the tally was 50-to-50 on former President Obama’s rule prohibiting states from snatching funding from health care providers that provide abortion services, this includes Planned Parenthood, reports The Hill.
As the 51st vote, Mike Pence made the tie-breaking vote to undo the regulation. This came after two Republicans, Maine Senator Susan Collins and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, voted with Democrats to keep the rule in place.
Before the vote took place on Thursday, the GOP had been getting slammed by Democrats. They believed it was ridiculous to even consider repealing this rule from the Obama-era.
“I want Senate Republicans who are about to take this vote, and Vice President Pence, to be very clear on what they are about to do,” Washington Democrat Sen. Patty Murray said. “As a direct result of their choices today, extreme politicians in states across the country will have greater power to take away women’s choices.”
The original rule required that Title X funding covering services related to contraception, fertility, and pregnancy would be distributed by local governments to health care providers regardless of whether they also perform abortions.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Republicans against repealing the rule, thereby limiting women’s access to care in some areas.
“I would urge my Republican friends, particularly those in rural states where this could really hurt, please think about it,” the New York Democrat said. “We only need one more vote to stop this bill, which would allow states to dramatically reduce access for women to essential health care services.”
But Republicans saw the regulation as another example of Obama’s overreach and argued its removal would give states more flexibility.
“It substituted Washington’s judgment for the needs of real people,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said before the vote, according to The Hill. “This regulation is an unnecessary restriction on states that know their residents a lot better than the federal government.”
With Pence’s vote, it is now up to President Trump to sign the legislation.
This marked the second time the vice president has been called on to break a tie in the Senate. Last month he cast the historic deciding vote confirming Betsy DeVos as Secretary of the Department of Education. That was the first time a vice president had been called on to break a Senate tie since 2008 when then-Vice President Dick Cheney voted on tax legislation.