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 ThuneCongress should take action to stop unfair taxation of the digital economy The fear of colorectal cancer as a springboard for change Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law 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. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
The decision to move the bill comes after Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenate GOP poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks GOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 Court-packing becomes new litmus test on left 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 AyotteSchultz recruiting GOP insiders ahead of possible 2020 bid Bottom Line US, allies must stand in united opposition to Iran’s bad behavior MORE (R-N.H.) and Mark KirkMark Steven KirkThe global reality behind 'local' problems Dems vow swift action on gun reform next year This week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill 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 poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks Overnight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' 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 ReidBernie campaign 2.0 - he's in it to win it, this time around Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ Senate confirms Trump court pick despite missing two 'blue slips' MORE (D-Nev.) said after McConnell scheduled another vote on Iran. "It should be the budget. It shouldn't be abortion."