The next steps arenâ€™t set in stone, although McConnell has promised there wonâ€™t be a government shutdown. Threatening to shut down the government if Planned Parenthood funding remains in the current budget has certainly been their most prominent – and urgent – move.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said he is hopeful that GOP leaders who control Congress will resist their conservative flank and put a funding bill on the floor that doesn’t wade into women’s health issues, though he “recognized the plight” of Speaker John A. Boehner as he tries to wrangle his fractious caucus.
Now the tables have turned, and Republican senators elected in 2010 – the year when tea-party Republicans marked their first big wins and Democrats lost the House – will now be playing defense on 24 Senate seats during a presidential election year where voters will be far less conservative, especially in blue states.
Senate Republicans are pushing for a continuing resolution funding the government through mid-December. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, said voting on a Senate bill to fund the government is “not enough”, adding that the bill “reads like (Senate Minority Leader) Harry Reid’s wish list”. Once the Senate passes a funding bill, it will leave the matter to the unpredictable House.
Protesters hold signs protesting Planned Parenthood in front of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill, September 16, 2015.
Other groups, such as Americans United for Life, have taken a relatively safer approach, which is to neither oppose nor support a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding.
“The majority leader’s strategy makes sense. I think this is playing politics with women’s health care and that women should have the ability to choose the health care and the provider that they want“, said Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast.
If Obama follows through on his threat to veto funding for the federal government, we should force him to defend that radical position. In 2013, Planned Parenthood received about $30 million from the feds, the CBO says. But after that plan is rejected, McConnell is expected to quickly move to fulfill his vow to keep the government funded, which will bring sharp objections, and a likely filibuster, from Cruz.
The Senate also blocked a measure Tuesday that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
On Wednesday, Cruz made his latest attack on McConnell’s leadership, though it’s hard to out-do his summertime charge that the GOP leader is a liar. A series of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing how the organization provides fetal tissue to researchers has definitely caused controversy. A sizeable bloc of social conservatives has announced that they won’t vote for any spending measure that includes money for Planned Parenthood. “Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain, ‘” quoth Carly Fiorina at the Republican presidential debate last week.