Top Republican: Senate could take the lead on funding bill

Top Republican: Senate could take the lead on funding bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Overnight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Senate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges MORE (R-Texas) said Monday that the Senate might have to take the lead in advancing a spending bill, and not wait for the House. 

Asked if the Senate needed to take the lead on a funding measure, Cornyn told reporters, “I don't think it's been finally decided, but to me it becomes increasingly apparent that the Senate is probably going to have to move.”

Cornyn has indicated that the Senate will vote on a bill that defunds Planned Parenthood. That measure would certainly be blocked by Senate Democrats, after which the Senate would move to vote on a “clean” continuing resolution that does not defund the group.

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The office of Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Bottom Line Lobbying world MORE (Nev.) says it expects a vote on a spending bill that defunds the group on Thursday, which will fail, prompting Republicans to then start the voting process on a “clean” bill. 

Reid has assailed Republicans for what he calls wasting time on a 20-week abortion ban vote on Tuesday instead of taking up the clean bill. 

Republican leaders are trying to figure out how to avert a shutdown, ahead of a Oct. 1 deadline. 

Cornyn said Monday that the Senate is not expecting action from the House soon. 

“I understand they're not in session until Thursday, so I guess we're not expecting too much before then, so I think they're still trying to figure the path forward,” Cornyn said. 

“We all understand that trying to figure out how to advance the pro-life agenda without attaching it to a failed strategy like a shutdown is important, and I think we're trying to thread that needle.” 

Republican leaders face pressure from conservatives like Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators at White House Senators confirm Erdoğan played 'propaganda' video in White House meeting MORE (R-Texas) and a group of 31 House conservatives vowing to oppose any spending bill with Planned Parenthood money.