Cruz circulating 'defund Planned Parenthood' letter

Cruz circulating 'defund Planned Parenthood' letter
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Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (R-Texas) plans to send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) early next week urging him not to schedule a vote on legislation that continues to fund Planned Parenthood.

“In light of recent and horrific revelations that Planned Parenthood is trafficking in fetal tissue and body parts from abortions, we urge you not to schedule or facilitate the consideration of any legislation that authorizes or appropriates federal dollars for Planned Parenthood," reads a draft of Cruz's letter, which was obtained by The Hill.

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The Washington Post first reported on the letter's existence.

The GOP presidential candidate, who is now circulating the letter around the Senate for signatures, has said he would support any procedural means to block funding to the organization.

“I believe we should use every and any procedural tool available to defund Planned Parenthood,” Cruz said before Congress left for its August recess.

“Whether or not one accepts the view of our President that abortions should be legal and widely available at any stage of pregnancy, we should all be able to unite around our President’s stated understanding of the tradition in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care,” the letter continued.

The Hyde Amendment, however, already bans federal funding from being used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when it's necessary to save a mother's life.

“The American people should no longer be forced to fund the abortion industry; therefore we will oppose any government funding legislation that would authorize or provide federal funds for Planned Parenthood,” Cruz said.

In an interview this week, however, McConnell appeared to pour cold water on the idea that the GOP-controlled Congress would be able to defund the organization. He said it would have to wait for a new president.

“I would remind all of your viewers, the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it, and the president has to sign it. The president's made it very clear he's not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood, so that's another issue that awaits a new president hopefully with a different point of view," McConnell said in an interview with WYMT-TV.

A standalone vote in the Senate to defund the group was blocked by mostly Democrats in early August.

Cruz’s letter is similar to one 18 House conservatives sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in July, in which they made clear they would oppose any government funding measure that continues Planned Parenthood funding.

It’s also similar to one GOP senators sent to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) during the summer of 2013, in which they made clear they would oppose any government funding measure that funded or enforced ObamaCare.

Cruz signed onto that letter and was largely considered the architect of a campaign to defund ObamaCare that led to the 16-day government shutdown in October 2013.

Congress must pass new legislation to fund the government by Oct. 1. Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill on Tuesday after their annual August recess.