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Senate blocks Lee's vote to defund Planned Parenthood

Senate blocks Lee's vote to defund Planned Parenthood

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeCongress must make sentencing reform priority for public safety MyPillow CEO to attend White House opioid discussion Congress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia 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 McConnellPress: Trumpism takes a thumping The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump says Florida races should be called for GOP | Latest on California wildfires | Congress set for dramatic lame duck Congress braces for high-drama lame duck 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 CruzProgressives flex muscles as Dems return to Washington Election Countdown: Florida braces for volatile recount | Counties race to finish machine recount | Trump ramps up attacks | Abrams files new lawsuit in Georgia | 2020 to be new headache for Schumer | Why California counts its ballots so slowly Beto supporters urged to 'upgrade' campaign signs for 2020 run 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.