Planned Parenthood launches six-figure ad campaign blasting vulnerable GOP senators on COVID-19 bill

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund launched a six-figure ad campaign Monday pressuring several vulnerable GOP senators to pass the next coronavirus relief legislation.

Senators return this week from a two-week recess with a steep path to negotiating a bill both parties have vowed to pass by August. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to share the GOP proposal with fellow Republicans on Tuesday.

The Planned Parenthood campaign primarily targets McConnell and Sens. Steve Daines (Mont.), John Cornyn (Texas), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Martha McSally (Ariz.). The ads also targeted Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, who is not up for reelection this year.

The digital ads urge constituents to call their senator and tell them to “stop stalling” on a COVID-19 relief bill.

The senators are not “focused on women and families,” and are “spending time confirming Trump’s unfit judges instead of addressing the urgent public health crises of COVID-19 and systematic racism,” many of the ads read.

Another ad calls on the lawmakers to address racial inequities in the next relief bill by including free testing, public health investments and voting reforms.

“The United States now has more than 3.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases — but if you thought these dire numbers would finally drive Senate Majority leadership to act, you thought wrong,” Jenny Lawson, the group’s vice president of organizing and campaigns, said in a statement Monday.

The GOP senators targeted by the campaign have “refused to take action as the country feels the weight of this public health crisis,” Lawson added.

The races for McSally, Gardner, Collins, Daines and Tillis are all considered toss-ups by Cook Political Report. Ernst’s race is rated “lean Republican,” while McConnell and Cornyn are in “likely Republican” races.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund launched a separate six-figure campaign July 16 targeting Collins over her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who recently voted to uphold a Louisiana restriction on abortions. The state law was ultimately struck down in a 5-4 decision.

Lawson on Monday also criticized GOP senators for not taking up the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that House Democrats passed in May.

Senate Democrats will use that bill as their starting point in negotiations. Republicans and the White House both aim to cap the price of their proposal at around $1 trillion.

Points of contention between Democrats and Republicans include state and local aid, stimulus checks, and extensions of enhanced unemployment insurance and the Paycheck Protection Program. McConnell has also indicated no bill will pass without liability protections for employers, a provision Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized Monday.

Tags Brett Kavanaugh Charles Schumer Coronavirus Cory Gardner COVID-19 Heroes Act John Cornyn Joni Ernst Josh Hawley Martha McSally Mitch McConnell Pandemic Planned Parenthood Steve Daines Susan Collins Thom Tillis
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