In a wide-ranging interview on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) told CBN News how he blocked a provision in the Senate's $1.9 trillion spending bill that would have allowed individual Planned Parenthood clinics to receive money through the Paycheck Protection Program.
"They've been trying to get this PPP money which is this loan program that's supposed to be for small businesses, Planned Parenthood has been trying to suck up that money," Paul explained. "What Planned Parenthood was doing was an end run around. They were saying, 'Well what about our individual Planned Parenthood of Louisville or Jacksonville or Houston or whatever?' We'll apply individually and we'll pretend to be a small business even though we're under the umbrella of Planned Parenthood which is a very big business."
Senate Democrats passed the bill through the budget reconciliation process, meaning they only needed a simple majority for it to pass. Through this process, however, the bill can only include things that are pertinent to the budget. If there is a debate on whether or not a part of the bill applies to the budget, the Senate parliamentarian has the power to decide what stays in and what needs to come out.
"We argued that this is an end-run around the rules and that Planned Parenthood wasn't eligible, and low and behold we convinced the parliamentarian and that part of the bill was stripped out," explained Paul. "Now, we don't really believe these people will quit and we're still watching them, and there's a possibility they try and find another way to get the money, but for now we think we did win a victory in getting this stripped out of the bill."
For the first time in 44 years, however, the budget bill noticeably excluded the Hyde Amendment, a longstanding measure that protects federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortions.
"It used to be one of the areas we actually got agreement on even beyond the pro-life community," said Paul. "They have been, in recent years, always trying to strip it out, so the fact that it wasn't included helped to ensure that there were no Republican votes for this bill."
Paul has already introduced two pro-life bills in this Congress: one to defund Planned Parenthood, and another to define life as beginning at conception.
"The interesting thing about Planned Parenthood is people say, 'Oh if we didn't have Planned Parenthood poor people couldn't get women's health and different testing done.' It's completely untrue," argued Paul. "There's something called community health centers that get billions of dollars, way more than Planned Parenthood, all across the United States, the only difference is community health centers actually don't do abortions."
"There's a lot of misinformation. People say, 'Oh, you need to go to Planned Parenthood to get a mammogram done.' Planned Parenthood doesn't even do mammograms. That's sort of a lie," continued Paul. "They say they do real health stuff, that's referred out to somewhere else. A community health center actually does have a doctor there and you can get health care there if you're poor."
The Senate will also soon take up the debate on the Equality Act, a top priority for the Biden administration that recently passed the House, but even with Democrats in control in the Senate, Paul doesn't think it will make it to the President's desk.
"I don't think it will get many Republican votes," said Paul. "It might get one or two, but I don't think they can get 60 so as long as the filibusters intact, I think we can stop it."
But Paul told CBN News he's concerned Senate Democrats might try and remove the legislative filibuster.
"I am very concerned because basically the future of our country depends on two democrats right now not overturning the filibuster," Paul said. "If they both decide to overturn the filibuster, Katy bar the door…when they talk about transforming the country, they'll be able to."
"If we lose the filibuster, we're in for a world of hurt," he continued.
Paul also responded to recent accusations he was "transphobic" in his questioning of President Biden's nominee to be the assistant health secretary, Rachel Levine. If confirmed, Dr. Levine would be the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate.
"None of my questions had anything to do with the person, with Dr. Levine or Dr. Levine's history of changing her sex or changing her outward sexual appearance," explained Paul. "I never even questioned that at all. It was never even brought up, so I wonder how the left can say it was some sort of hateful diatribe."
"But I asked a really important, incredibly important question – should minors be able to make the decision to take hormones to stop their puberty or hormones to change their sexual appearance without their parents' permission or even overriding their parents' permission – their parents say no and a 10-year-old says yes, are we going to take a 10 year-olds opinion over their parents?" Paul said. "That's very, very worrisome."
"She wouldn't answer the question at all, she just said it's complicated and she'd come and talk to me privately in the office but she wasn't willing to say whether or not a 10-year-old could overturn their parent's decision," he continued.
Paul told CBN News he believes ultimately the Senate will vote to confirm Dr. Levine.