Republicans should "move on" from insisting on defunding Planned Parenthood in a 2011 spending bill, a Republican senator said Friday.
With less than 24 hours to go until a shutdown, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) suggested that a rider to defund Planned Parenthood, a key sticking point in reaching an agreement, was expendable.
"I'd like to defund Planned Parenthood, but I understand that Republicans don't have complete control of the elected government," Toomey said on MSNBC. "I think what we should do is cut spending as much as we can, get the policy changes that we can, but move on, because there are other, bigger battles that we are fighting."
Toomey said it would be his preference to defund Planned Parenthood, but acknowledged that Democratic control of the Senate meant that such a measure, attached to the House-passed spending bill, made it unlikely to pass. To that end, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that it would be nearly "impossible" to prevent a shutdown unless the riders are dropped.
Toomey is widely regarded as a fiscal hawk; he served as chairman of the Club for Growth before returning to Congress. Citing his past experience, he advised Republicans to cut a deal and move on to the debt ceiling, which the Pennsylvania conservative said he regarded as a bigger fight.
—Updated 9:20 a.m.