Senate fast tracks bill to defund Planned Parenthood

The Senate is fast-tracking a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of two controversial videos that sparked a political firestorm. 

 
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The move comes as Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter Sunday Show Preview: Trump's allies and administration defend decision on Syria Ana Navarro clashes with Rand Paul in fiery exchange: 'Don't mansplain!' MORE (R-Ky.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Lawmakers return to work as Dem candidates set to debate Cruz: 'Of course' it's not appropriate to ask China to investigate Bidens Sunday Show Preview: Trump's allies and administration defend decision on Syria MORE (R-Texas), who are running for president, as well as Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeZuckerberg defends meetings with conservative politicians, pundits GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe McConnell warns Trump against withdrawing troops from Syria MORE (R-Utah), hope to use the Senate's long-term highway bill as a vehicle to defund the organization. 
 
Republicans have renewed their opposition to Planned Parenthood after two videos were released earlier this month showing officials discussing the preservation of fetal tissue. 
 
But McConnell added a hurdle to that effort on Friday, when he used a tactic known as "filling the tree" to block additional amendments from being offered to the highway bill. 
 
Cruz, pointing to McConnell's maneuver, suggested that the Republican leader was trying to avoid a vote on cutting off federal funds to Planned Parenthood. 
 
"There are a host of amendments that the American people are focused on, things like defunding Planned Parenthood after the gruesome video,” Cruz said at the time. “The majority leader doesn't want to vote on that. That's actually something the American people are focused on."
 
The legislation being fast-tracked was introduced Friday by Paul, who said on Sunday that he considering various procedural options to try to force a vote on the legislation. 
 
He said during an interview with "Fox News Sunday" that one strategy is using a "discharge petition" that would require the support of at least 16 other senators.