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 - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Democratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies 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.”

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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 GrassleyGOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill State Department scrutiny threatens Pompeo's political ambitions Senators offer bill to prevent relief payments from being seized by private debt collectors MORE (R-Iowa).

Still, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzState Department scrutiny threatens Pompeo's political ambitions 125 lawmakers urge Trump administration to support National Guard troops amid pandemic Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House 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 CochranEspy wins Mississippi Senate Democratic primary Bottom Line Mike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid MORE (R-Miss.) say they would have trouble voting for a spending bill that included Planned Parenthood funding.