A week after a bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), announced they were ending their involvement in the House-passed “Garden Story Game,” Democrats are looking for a way to move forward on a legislative agenda.
The bipartisan group released a statement on Thursday saying it was “proud to announce that we have reached an agreement to suspend our participation in the Senate version of the Garden Story Game.”
The Garden Story is a game created by the Senate Select Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (SSHCP), and has been a major focus of Democrats since the House passed it in 2015.
Democrats want to see how Republicans respond to the game, and to what extent they can bring their own ideas to the table.
“We are not leaving until we see the House version of House Bill 1652,” the statement said.
“This will be a critical moment for our movement.
It will be critical to make sure we are able to build consensus and make progress on key issues that the American people deserve.”
It’s unclear if the House will pass the Senate’s version of HB 1652, but it’s not too early to talk up the possibility.
If Republicans are able on the House side to pass the House bill, Democrats would be able to continue the work of their own House-Senate bill and potentially bring it to the floor for a vote, which they haven’t done so far.
“I think the most important thing for us to remember is that we are still going to try to have the best of both worlds in the U.S. Senate, with a bipartisan Senate and House, and we’ll continue to work to try and get this done,” Klobutar said.
The House and Senate bills would be similar in many ways, but they would still need to be reconciled before they could pass on to the president’s desk.
Both bills would ban federal funding for abortion and defund Planned Parenthood, a key focus of the GOP.
The Senate bill also repeals the “personhood” amendment, which would have prohibited the federal government from funding abortions, but instead allowed states to opt out of the bill.
Democrats want to keep the state funding, but Republicans would prefer to keep all the federal money.
Democrats have been pushing to repeal the “Personhood” Amendment for more than a year, but their efforts have been thwarted by GOP leadership.
It’s important for Democrats to keep pushing for the Personhood Amendment to get a vote.
They would be glad to have that vote if Republicans don’t want to take it up.
“The fact that the GOP is willing to move toward defunding Planned Parenthood and then then moving forward on Personhood, and then making that decision without an overwhelming majority, is just a shame, particularly when the House and the Senate have so many bipartisan efforts to help the middle class, and those efforts are not working,” Klopos said.
“There’s still a way for us, in the end, to get this legislation passed.”