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 McConnellFor city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now US ill-prepared for coronavirus-fueled mental health crisis Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe 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 GrassleyExpanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support Grassley, Leahy urge Roberts to permanently air Supreme Court arguments Democrats broaden probe into firing of State Department watchdog MORE (R-Iowa).

Still, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP deeply divided over Trump's social media crackdown Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged Iranian sanction violations 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.