Schumer: Don’t link Planned Parenthood fight to spending bills
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFederal judges should be allowed to be Federalist Society members Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in VA hospitals mostly drop hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment MORE (D-N.Y.) sent an early warning shot to Republicans on Thursday, saying Democrats will block any effort to tie a spending bill  to defunding Planned Parenthood.

“I am absolutely confident that if Republicans try to defund Planned Parenthood in a government spending bill at the end of September, Democrats will unite against it,” Schumer, expected to be the next Democratic leader, told reporters.  

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His comments come after 18 House Republicans threatened to block any measure that also funds Planned Parenthood in the wake of a string of controversial videos on the group’s fetal tissue donation program.

Schumer suggested the GOP's move, which he characterized as a play to conservative Republicans, would backfire.

“If Republicans continue to follow the hard-right, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE, Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP deeply divided over Trump's social media crackdown Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged Iranian sanction violations MORE, they’re going to fall right off the political cliff next year,” he added. “Sadly, that looks like where we’re headed with the far right calling Republicans to shut down the government unless they defund Planned Parenthood.”

He also shrugged off a question about whether Democrats would get part of the blame for blocking government funding, adding that “it’s clear the Republicans are saying 'shut down the government unless I get my way on an extraneous issue,' and I think the American people are wise to that.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFor city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now US ill-prepared for coronavirus-fueled mental health crisis Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe MORE (R-Ky.) declined to weigh in on the House push to link the two issues, suggesting Republican leadership wouldn’t tackle how to fund the government until September.

“We haven't even begun to talk about the [continuing resolution] yet,” he told reporters when asked about linking Planned Parenthood to a continuing resolution. “We're going to discuss how to fund the government after the August recess. For the moment we're still trying to move bills that have bipartisan support.”

The push to tie defunding Planned Parenthood to government spending bills comes as the Senate is expected to take a procedural vote Monday on legislation to cut off federal funding for the agency.

Senate Republican leadership could face a tough battle to get the 60 votes needed to move the bill forward, with Democrats largely slamming the proposal and a few Republicans either opposed or undecided.