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 ThuneThrough a national commitment to youth sports, we can break the obesity cycle Florida politics play into disaster relief debate GOP chairman: FEMA has enough money for Hurricane Michael 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 CornynFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown Trump, Feinstein feud intensifies over appeals court nominees 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 AyotteElection Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford Pallbearers, speakers announced for McCain's DC memorial service and Capitol ceremony MORE (R-N.H.) and Mark KirkMark Steven KirkThis week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill Trump attending Senate GOP lunch Tuesday High stakes as Trump heads to 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 CollinsGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh St. Lawrence alumni, faculty want honorary degree for Collins revoked 'Suspicious letter' mailed to Maine home of Susan Collins 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 ReidMajor overhauls needed to ensure a violent revolution remains fictional Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees GOP has always been aggressive in trying to weaponize the system of judicial nominations MORE (D-Nev.) said after McConnell scheduled another vote on Iran. "It should be the budget. It shouldn't be abortion."