After the vote had been held open for more than an hour, Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaker shortly after Sen. Johnny Isakson walked onto the Senate floor to vote. | Getty
Vice President Mike Pence and a GOP senator recovering from surgery were dramatically summoned to the Senate Thursday to advance legislation that would allow states to block federal family-planning funds to Planned Parenthood.
After the vote had been held open for more than an hour, Pence cast the tie-breaker shortly after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) walked onto the Senate floor to vote. Isakson, who is recovering from back surgery, was using a walker inside the chamber.
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Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two GOP lawmakers who have long resisted efforts to bar federal funding for the women’s health organization, voted with Democrats against advancing the measure. The GOP holds a 52-48 majority in the Senate.
“Taking resources away from these providers, which this resolution would do, would be cruel, and it would have [the] greatest impact on women and families who need it the most,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said following the Thursday morning vote. “And it would undo a valuable effort by the Obama administration to ensure that health care providers are evaluated for federal funding based on their ability to provide the services in question, not on ideology.”
Isakson will also be needed next week in the coming showdown over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, but it’s up in the air, as of now, whether the Georgia senator will be in Washington for the votes.
“He’s been cleared to travel to D.C. for one day only,” Isakson spokeswoman Amanda Maddox said. “He continues to work with his doctors on his long-term recovery and is eager to get back into his routine soon.”