McConnell resists calls to defund Planned Parenthood via spending bill

McConnell resists calls to defund Planned Parenthood via spending bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Chances for disaster aid deal slip amid immigration fight MORE (R-Ky.) looked Thursday to shift the debate around Planned Parenthood away from trying to defund the organization through a larger government spending bill.

Asked about attempts to reject a government funding bill unless it were to strip the group of federal money, McConnell said such a strategy did not work in the past, such as a 2013 bid to block funding for ObamaCare.

“There’s no education in the second kick of the mule,” McConnell said, adding, "We’ve been down this path before.”

He reiterated his pledge to not shut down the government.

Asked if he had the votes to pass a spending bill that left Planned Parenthood untouched, McConnell said: “Yeah, we’ll fund the government. I can’t tell you what will finally end up in or out of any government funding resolution; I can tell you without fear of contradiction there will be no government shutdown.”

McConnell said the failed vote on a stand-alone defunding measure allowed senators to be “on record” against the organization. He also pointed to an investigation into the group by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThreat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Trump mulling visit to ethanol refinery later this month: report Nursing home care: A growing crisis for an aging America  MORE (R-Iowa).

Still, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzJim Carrey fires back at 'Joe McCarthy wanna-be' Cruz Hillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity GOP senators split over antitrust remedies for big tech MORE (R-Texas) and other presidential candidates could put pressure on McConnell to defund the group through the spending bill. Cruz has called for using all methods available.

Even establishment senators such as Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranTop 5 races to watch in 2019 Bottom Line Races Dems narrowly lost show party needs to return to Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy MORE (R-Miss.) say they would have trouble voting for a spending bill that included Planned Parenthood funding.