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 McConnellGOP-controlled Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi vote Overnight Defense: Senate moves toward vote on bill ending support for Saudi war | House GOP blocks Yemen war votes for rest of year | Trump throws uncertainty into Pentagon budget | Key Dem to leave transgender troop ban to courts Senate moves toward vote on ending support for Saudi-led war 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 GrassleyTop security officials issue stark warning of Chinese espionage efforts Lame-duck Congress should pass First Step Act The Hill's Morning Report — Takeaways from the battle royal in the Oval Office MORE (R-Iowa).

Still, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenators prepare for possibility of Christmas in Washington during a shutdown Biden to discuss 2020 bid with family over holidays: report Julián Castro launches exploratory committee for possible 2020 White House bid 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 CochranBottom Line Races Dems narrowly lost show party needs to return to Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy Espy files to run for Senate in 2020, setting up possible rematch with Hyde-Smith MORE (R-Miss.) say they would have trouble voting for a spending bill that included Planned Parenthood funding.