Republican leadership won an important symbolic battle Tuesdaywhen the Senate parliamentarian ruled that a measure strippingPlanned Parenthood of federal funding could be included in areconciliation bill that repeals key parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable CareAct.

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It’s a win for the party base, but it could ultimately be thedownfall of the repeal bill if it forces the chambers three GOPsenators who support abortion rights to vote no.

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To be clear, Republicans can put anything they want in the bill.But the parliamentarian’s ruling means that their decision toinclude the divisive provision will not jeopardize the bill’sability to be passed through the “reconciliation” process. Thatprocess, which allows legislation to evade a filibuster, isreserved for budgetary legislation that reduces the federaldeficit.

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“The House of Representatives passed important legislation thatripped out the core pillars of ObamaCare and fully complies withthe House’s budget rules. Today the Senate Parliamentarian advisedus that their ObamaCare repeal bill can proceed under the rules ofreconciliation,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate MajorityLeader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

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Republicans have already dealt with internal division over whatto include in the reconciliation package. The current bill onlyincludes budgetary provisions –– notably the repeal of theindividual and business insurance mandates and repeal of the Cadillac Tax –– buthardliners in the party, including three senators running forpresident, said that anything short of full repeal would not get their support.

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Because Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have allpledged to vote against the reconciliation bill, the party cannotafford to lose any more votes if it wants to pass the bill. The GOPcurrently has a 54 seat majority in the Senate, and it needs 51votes to pass a bill.

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The debate is entirely symbolic, since whatever repeal bill isapproved by the Senate will be vetoed by President Obama. ButRepublicans have decided that forcing the president to wield theveto pen will be an important signal to the electorate thatObamacare could be dismantled once a Republican occupies the OvalOffice. The same goes for defunding Planned Parenthood, an issuedear to the GOP base.

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But the Planned Parenthood provision threatens the votes ofSens. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, and LisaMurkowski of Alaska. A GOP source told The Hill that, “Collins andKirk can’t vote for it.”

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