Healthcare

McConnell resists calls to defund Planned Parenthood via spending bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (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 Grassley (R-Iowa).

Still, Sen. Ted Cruz (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 Cochran (R-Miss.) say they would have trouble voting for a spending bill that included Planned Parenthood funding.

Tags Chuck Grassley Mitch McConnell Ted Cruz Thad Cochran

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