Senate blocks Lee's vote to defund Planned Parenthood

Senate blocks Lee's vote to defund Planned Parenthood

Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeGOP leader tempers ObamaCare expectations Republicans go to battle over pre-existing conditions Senate gears up for fight on Trump's 0B Saudi Arabia arms sale 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 McConnellFive goals for Republicans this summer GOP leader tempers ObamaCare expectations Week ahead: Senate faces difficult path to consensus on healthcare 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 CruzGOP leader tempers ObamaCare expectations Franken explains why he made an exception to diss Cruz in his book FEC faults Cruz on Goldman Sachs loans in rare unanimous vote 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.