Senate fast tracks abortion bill

Senate Republicans on Wednesday fast-tracked a House-passed bill that would restrict abortions after 20 weeks. 

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell seeks to end feud with Trump McConnell brushes off Trump's 'son of a b----' comment Democrats work to pick up GOP support on anti-Asian hate crimes bill MORE (R-S.D.) completed the fast-track process, known as "Rule 14," which will allow the House bill to skip over the committee process and go straight to the Senate floor, where it can be brought up for a vote. 
 
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The decision to move the bill comes after Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Application portal for venue grants down for five days with no updates Democrats work to pick up GOP support on anti-Asian hate crimes bill MORE (R-Texas) said late last week that the Senate would likely vote on a 20-week abortion ban this month. 
 
"Senator [Mitch] McConnell's [R-Ky.] already talked about some pro-life legislation he'll be filing for cloture on at the end of next week," he told reporters. 
 
That would mean that the Republican leader could tee up the abortion bill on Thursday, before the Senate leaves for the weekend, for a procedural vote early next week.
 
McConnell said earlier this year that the Senate would vote on the 20-week abortion bill, calling it "not only good news for pro-lifers, [but] good news for the entire country." 
 
The bill could, however, face an uphill battle to overcome the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle and split Senate Republicans. 
 
 
Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteOvernight Defense: NATO expanding troops in Iraq Overnight Defense: New START extended for five years | Austin orders 'stand down' to tackle extremism | Panel recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal Study group recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (R-N.H.) and Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission  Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE (R-Ill.), both of who are up for reelection in blue-leaning states, as well more moderate Republicans, including Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Democrats work to pick up GOP support on anti-Asian hate crimes bill Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan MORE (R-Maine), have yet to sign the bill. 
 
But the vote could help take pressure off Republican leadership from conservative members who are demanding that a government spending bill cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, following a string of leaked videos showing the healthcare provider's staff discussing fetal tissue donation with undercover pro-life supporters. 
 
Cornyn told reporters on Tuesday that the 20-week abortion ban bill is "an important vote for us to have, as we continue the investigations that Senator [Chuck] Grassley [R-Iowa] in the Judiciary Committee and others have into whether Planned Parenthood violated existing laws." 
 
Lawmakers have until the end of the month to figure out how to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. 
 
Democrats have slammed Senate Majority Leader McConnell for moving to the abortion bill instead of starting negotiations on how to fund the government. 
 
"We should move on to something else," Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWhite House races clock to beat GOP attacks Harry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' The Memo: Biden seeks a secret weapon — GOP voters MORE (D-Nev.) said after McConnell scheduled another vote on Iran. "It should be the budget. It shouldn't be abortion."