Senate fast tracks abortion bill

Senate Republicans on Wednesday fast-tracked a House-passed bill that would restrict abortions after 20 weeks. 

 
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The decision to move the bill comes after Sen. John CornynJohn CornynNew GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Week ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets GOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts MORE (R-Texas) said late last week that the Senate would likely vote on a 20-week abortion ban this month. 
 
"Senator [Mitch] McConnell's [R-Ky.] already talked about some pro-life legislation he'll be filing for cloture on at the end of next week," he told reporters. 
 
That would mean that the Republican leader could tee up the abortion bill on Thursday, before the Senate leaves for the weekend, for a procedural vote early next week.
 
McConnell said earlier this year that the Senate would vote on the 20-week abortion bill, calling it "not only good news for pro-lifers, [but] good news for the entire country." 
 
The bill could, however, face an uphill battle to overcome the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle and split Senate Republicans. 
 
 
Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteStale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections Trump voter fraud commission sets first meeting outside DC RNC chair warns: Republicans who refused to back Trump offer 'cautionary tale' MORE (R-N.H.) and Mark KirkMark KirkStale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections Immigration critics find their champion in Trump Trump's nominee to lead USAID has the right philosophy on international aid MORE (R-Ill.), both of who are up for reelection in blue-leaning states, as well more moderate Republicans, including Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Ryan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort MORE (R-Maine), have yet to sign the bill. 
 
But the vote could help take pressure off Republican leadership from conservative members who are demanding that a government spending bill cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, following a string of leaked videos showing the healthcare provider's staff discussing fetal tissue donation with undercover pro-life supporters. 
 
Cornyn told reporters on Tuesday that the 20-week abortion ban bill is "an important vote for us to have, as we continue the investigations that Senator [Chuck] Grassley [R-Iowa] in the Judiciary Committee and others have into whether Planned Parenthood violated existing laws." 
 
Lawmakers have until the end of the month to figure out how to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. 
 
Democrats have slammed Senate Majority Leader McConnell for moving to the abortion bill instead of starting negotiations on how to fund the government. 
 
"We should move on to something else," Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.) said after McConnell scheduled another vote on Iran. "It should be the budget. It shouldn't be abortion."