Mitch McConnell the Senate Majority Leader said that Republicans should not use a government spending bill that must pass to defund Planned Parenthood even though pressure is being increased by conservatives who want the threat of a government shutdown to target the women’s health organization.
In a news conference that touched on many issues on Thursday, McConnell warned there would be consequences for Republicans if his party triggered a shutdown of the government over a policy dispute, like was done by the GOP in 2013 with the Affordable Health Care Act.
The Senate leader said we have gone the same path before, this is a tactic tried since the late 1990s, frequently by the Republican majorities that has the same ending: the focus is on the fact the government is shut down and not on what the issue was that was being protested.
The stance by the most powerful Senate member is sure to upset conservatives, including Senator Ted Cruz from Texas a chief adversary of McConnell. The conservatives have threatened any means possible to defund Planned Parenthood.
The women’s group has been under great fire following the release of a number of videos that showed officials from the group discussing the alleged sale of fetal tissue and organs, which is improper.
Cruz earlier in the week lamented that the GOP had not taken tactics that were more hard line to defend the group sooner, such as through the highway bill that was must pass and sent to the President last week.
Though some moderates in the Senate have already spoken of their concerns about the possible shutdown strategy, it was endorsed by other Republicans like John McCain from Arizona, who suggested that a funding fight over Planned Parenthood was inevitable this fall.
On Monday, the Senate had a procedural vote on a measure that would defund the woman’s organization and reroute those monies to health clinics in the community, but the vote failed to advance on a tally of 53-46.
McConnell touched on other issues in the news conference, which marked the end of Capitol Hill’s summer session.
He chastised President Obama over the Iran nuclear deal, disputing Obama’s argument that the alternative would ultimately be war.