Congress voted to avoid a government shutdown on Wednesday with all but one of Arkansas’s all-Republican congressional delegation voting in the minority. Arkansas’s members opposed the inclusion of funding for Planned Parenthood in the short-term, stopgap spending measure.
The Senate passed the spending resolution 78-20. U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton’s opposition to the government funding bill placed them at odds with the majority and their own party. 32 Republican senators voted “yea” and 20 voted it down. 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz was one of the most vocal of the Republican opposition.
All but Rep. Steve Womack (3rd District) in the House delegation from Arkansas also disapproved of the continuing resolution. It passed 277-151 shortly after the Senate vote. Reps. Rick Crawford (1st District), French Hill (2nd District), and Bruce Westerman (4th district) have voiced opposition to federal funding for Planned Parenthood's non-abortion health services. Unlike their Arkansas colleagues in the Senate, most of the state's House delegation voted with the majority of Republicans. The GOP vote was split with 151 opposed and 91 voting yes.
Rep. Westerman released the following statement.
“My vote against the continuing resolution was a vote against the status quo,” Westerman said. “My goal as a Representative in the U.S. Congress is to restore fiscal responsibility by stopping deficit spending and reducing our debt. The first step in doing this is to pass appropriations bills in regular order and then work with the Senate to resolve differences. We should not be running our government with last minute votes before deadlines and especially when these bills are thrown together by the Senate that refuses take up legislation passed in regular order by the House. This has happened time and again. It is no way to run our government.”
The Senate has opted not to take up a separate funding bill passed by the House that would have blocked Planned Parenthood funds. With the bill headed to the President Obama’s desk the deadline for a long-term funding measure moves to December 11.