Senate blocks Lee's vote to defund Planned Parenthood

Senate blocks Lee's vote to defund Planned Parenthood

Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeLessons from the godfather of regulatory budgeting Congress must reform civil asset forfeiture laws A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Utah) was rebuked by his Senate colleagues on Sunday as he tried to force a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood.

Lee had tried to attach an amendment eliminating all federal funds for Planned Parenthood to the vote on Congress’s must-pass highway legislation.

The amendment was rejected by the chair of the Senate, who called it out of order because it was not germane to the highway bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellThough flawed, complex Medicaid block grants have fighting chance Sanders: 'If you don't have the guts to face your constituents,' you shouldn't be in Congress McConnell: Trump's speech should be 'tweet free' MORE (R-Ky.) decided last week that he would only allow two amendments to the bill — a repeal of ObamaCare and a reauthorization of the Export-Import bank — while blocking all others in a procedure known as “filling the tree.”

Lee attempted to override the decision but couldn’t get the support of 10 other senators.

Lee, along with Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzBrietbart CEO reveals that Trump donors are part owners At CPAC, Trump lashes out at media Conquering Trump returns to conservative summit MORE (R-Texas), have been vocal critics of McConnell’s procedures for the highway bill, which they said was intended to block a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood.

In a disparaging floor speech against McConnell on Friday, Cruz blasted the leader, saying McConnell “did not want a vote” on Planned Parenthood.

The organization has been under fire over the last two weeks after hidden-camera footage surfaced that shows Planned Parenthood executives in conversations about fetal-tissue donation.

After Sunday's vote, Cruz blamed McConnell for rallying Republicans against moving forward on a Planned Parenthood vote.

"The so-called Republican leader led the effort to continue the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood," he said. "It makes clear that the McConnell-Reid leadership team is united in favor of big government spending, and debt and power."

McConnell finished the fast-track process on the Senate floor of legislation to defund the organization, but Cruz added that "the McConnell-Reid leadership team has no interest in cutting off one penny of funds to Planned Parenthood."

"I believe in the power of truth, and what I intend to do is continue serving 27 million Texans and standing up and speaking the truth," Cruz said. "The truth is had the majority leader not opposed us we could have had a binding vote on defunding Planned Parenthood."

Jordain Carney contributed to this report, which was updated at 5:04 p.m.