Senate blocks Lee's vote to defund Planned Parenthood

Senate blocks Lee's vote to defund Planned Parenthood

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's Morning Report — Emergency declaration to test GOP loyalty to Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency MORE (R-Utah) was rebuked by his Senate colleagues on Sunday as he tried to force a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood.

Lee had tried to attach an amendment eliminating all federal funds for Planned Parenthood to the vote on Congress’s must-pass highway legislation.

The amendment was rejected by the chair of the Senate, who called it out of order because it was not germane to the highway bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKids confront Feinstein over Green New Deal Trump selects Kelly Craft for United Nations ambassador Union leader says Green New Deal would make infrastructure bill ‘absolutely impossible’ MORE (R-Ky.) decided last week that he would only allow two amendments to the bill — a repeal of ObamaCare and a reauthorization of the Export-Import bank — while blocking all others in a procedure known as “filling the tree.”

Lee attempted to override the decision but couldn’t get the support of 10 other senators.

Lee, along with Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzInviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge O’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate MORE (R-Texas), have been vocal critics of McConnell’s procedures for the highway bill, which they said was intended to block a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood.

In a disparaging floor speech against McConnell on Friday, Cruz blasted the leader, saying McConnell “did not want a vote” on Planned Parenthood.

The organization has been under fire over the last two weeks after hidden-camera footage surfaced that shows Planned Parenthood executives in conversations about fetal-tissue donation.

After Sunday's vote, Cruz blamed McConnell for rallying Republicans against moving forward on a Planned Parenthood vote.

"The so-called Republican leader led the effort to continue the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood," he said. "It makes clear that the McConnell-Reid leadership team is united in favor of big government spending, and debt and power."

McConnell finished the fast-track process on the Senate floor of legislation to defund the organization, but Cruz added that "the McConnell-Reid leadership team has no interest in cutting off one penny of funds to Planned Parenthood."

"I believe in the power of truth, and what I intend to do is continue serving 27 million Texans and standing up and speaking the truth," Cruz said. "The truth is had the majority leader not opposed us we could have had a binding vote on defunding Planned Parenthood."

Jordain Carney contributed to this report, which was updated at 5:04 p.m.