© Greg Nash
Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE suggested Monday that it's "ludicrous" to argue that defunding Planned Parenthood would shut down the government.
"I suggest that is a ludicrous position, one that goes beyond any rationality," the Alabama Republican said.
Sessions's remarks come as lawmakers have slightly more than a week to figure out how to fund the government ahead of a end-of-the-month deadline to avoid a shutdown.
Dozens of House Republicans, as well as Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPoll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field Republican politicians: Let OSHA do its job O'Rourke prepping run for governor in Texas: report MORE (R-Texas), have suggested that they wouldn't support a government spending bill that includes funding for Planned Parenthood following a string of controversial videos.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (R-Ky.) has called trying to defund Planned Parenthood an "exercise in futility."
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats up ante in risky debt ceiling fight Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, told reporters last week that the Senate could take a vote on defunding the agency in relation to a government spending bill.
That effort, however, would likely fail to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle.
Sessions on Monday said it is Congress's "business" to spend federal money and that a majority in both chambers don't believe that Planned Parenthood should get federal funding.
The Senate voted earlier this year 53-46 on ending debate to proceed to a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, with 60 votes needed to overcome the procedural hurdle.
Sessions on Monday said that he doesn't believe President Obama has "the moral authority, the political clout, to tell the American people that the Congress shut down the government."
"It's time for this Congress to do its duty, and we should fund programs that need funding and don't fund programs that don't need funding."
The president has pledged to veto any spending bill that doesn't include funding for Planned Parenthood.