Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts has broken ranks with his party over an effort to defund Planned Parenthood, saying the move "goes too far."
"I support family planning and health services for women. Given our severe budget problems, I don't believe any area of the budget is completely immune from cuts," Brown said in a statement Tuesday
"However, the proposal to eliminate all funding for family planning goes too far. As we continue with our budget negotiations, I hope we can find a compromise that is reasonable and appropriate."
Earlier, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) raised similar concerns about the House's proposal, Politico reported.
The House voted in February to cut more than $300 million from the organization as part of its $61 billion in proposed reductions in the current federal budget. Indiana Rep. Mike Pence represented
his successful gutting of the funding as a victory in preventing abortion, even though the Hyde Amendment, enacted in 1977, prohibits federal funding of abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
The GOP budget bill is the subject of negotiations between the House and the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he would not accept a bill that strips Planned Parenthood of federal dollars, The Hill reported.
In a related development, 29 fiscally conservative organizations have called for the immediate defunding of Planned Parenthood, according to The Hill.
"On economic merit alone, Planned Parenthood should be near the top of the cut list," the groups' letter to Congress says. "To begin with, as Chuck Donovan at the Heritage Foundation has pointed out, Planned Parenthood is awash in net income. From 2002 to 2007, the national organization and its affiliates took in $388 million more than they spent on programs and services. Even in the midst of the recession, the president of the organization still received more than $337,000 in an annual salary and tens of thousands more in benefits and allowances. Planned Parenthood is receiving a rolling, annual bailout, and they don't even need it."