• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Mitch McConnell: Republicans Don’t Have The Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood

mitch-mcconnell-john-boehner

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pouring cold water on conservative hopes of eliminating Federal Government funding of Planned Parenthood during the upcoming budget fight:

Attempts by Congress to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding are destined to fail as long as President Obama is in office, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

“We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like,” McConnell said in an interview taped Monday with WYMT-TV, which serves eastern Kentucky. “I would remind all of your viewers, the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it, and the president has to sign it. The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood so that’s another issue that awaits a new president hopefully with a different point of view.”

McConnell’s comments put him at odds with hard-line members of his own party who are pushing to use the approaching Oct. 1 deadline for funding the federal government as leverage to force Obama and congressional Democrats to defund Planned Parenthood. A series of undercover videos released over the course of the summer has whipped up conservative outrage over the group’s practices regarding the harvesting of fetal tissue for research. While federal money is already banned from being spent directly on abortions, Planned Parenthood opponents say Medicaid reimbursements and other federal grants indirectly support the group.

The outcry has been most fierce among conservatives in the House, though Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has also pledged to block attempts to continue government funding without addressing Planned Parenthood.

“If we can’t get that done, oh my goodness,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a influential conservative leader, said in a recent interview. “If the president and [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid think it so much more important that this organization get your money, that that’s more important than paying our troops and paying our veterans, I’ll take that debate.”

Cruz recently urged pastors to contact their congressional representatives and urge them not to back down on Planned Parenthood. “An empty vote with no teeth on it will not suffice,” he said. “Now is the time for Congress to act and actually end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.”

But McConnell is wary of repeating the government shutdown of 2013, which began after conservatives launched an ill-fated attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act. The gambit failed, and the two-week shutdown helped distract public attention from the largely disastrous rollout of the health care reforms.

“There’s no education in the second kick of the mule,” McConnell said last month, addressing shutdown concerns before leaving Washington for the summer congressional recess.

In the TV interview Monday, McConnell suggested that many conservatives harbored false expectations for the Senate GOP majority, which is six Republicans short of a filibuster-proof margin and 13 shy of a veto-proof majority.

“The thought that we could completely stop Barack Obama by electing a Republican Congress, I never claimed that last year,” he said. “We have stood up to him, but to succeed you have to get a presidential signature, and that’s just the way the Constitution has worked for over 200 years. So I can’t change the condition of the country with this guy in the White House. We have been able to change some things, but we haven’t been able to change everything.”

McConnell is largely correct, of course. For one thing, it’s not even clear that an amendment that strip Planned Parenthood funding would even make it pas a cloture vote in the Senate given the fact that Republicans do not have a filibuster proof majority and it’s unlikely any Democrats would join them to advance the bill. Even if it did get past that hurdle, though, and get to a full vote Republicans would still face the possibility of a Presidential veto. Perhaps they are gambling on the chance that the President would not veto all or part of a Federal spending bill over $500 million in Planned Parenthood spending, but given the fact that it’s unlikely the veto would be overridden there doesn’t seem to be much risk for the President in utilizing his veto pen. Additionally, Democrats are likely to spin the upcoming Republican attack on Planned Parenthood as an attack on women’s health, so they would have every political incentive to be as intransigent as Republicans on the issue. At that point, the GOP would have to decide if they wanted to risk a government shutdown over this issue.

This isn’t a new question for Republicans, of course. Two years ago, they were faced with another insurgent movement seeking to force a showdown over funding in the Federal Budget as the end of the Fiscal Year loomed. At that time, of course, the battle was over funding for the Affordable Care Act and, despite the warnings of top Republicans, including Senator McConnell, Congressional Republicans ended up forcing a shutdown over the issue that led to a sixteen day long Federal Government shutdown at the end of which the PPACA remained funded and the Republican Party saw its approval numbers sink like a stone. Preliminary polling on a shutdown this time around shows that, once again, Republicans would receive most of the blame if they forced another shutdown at the end of September. Meanwhile, polling also shows that the American public remains largely split on the issue of abortion, and a majority of Americans support continued Federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Given this, McConnell is correct to point out that Republicans would be fighting a losing battle to force a shutdown over this issue.

No doubt, conservatives will react to McConnell’s words here quite negatively, just as they rejected similar warnings in the run up to the 2013 shutdown. The question, then, will become whether they will be placated by the entirely symbolic vote that they will most likely get in the Senate, or whether they will demand more.  As things stand, it seems implausible that the GOP would let another shutdown happen, but even just a week away from the deadline two years ago it seems implausible that the GOP would allow a shutdown over the PPACA funding as well, and we all know what happened then.

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    “If we can’t get that done, oh my goodness,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a influential conservative leader, said in a recent interview. “If the president and [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid think it so much more important that this organization get your money, that that’s more important than paying our troops and paying our veterans, I’ll take that debate.”

    Everybody’s favorite Congress.
    Well, guys like Jordan are what the public complains about and then re-elects.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Bummer….Republicans won’t be able to take away critical reproductive and sexual health care and education from almost 3 million women.
    No wonder these old white guys are so frustrated.
    Crimminy…what a pathetic pile of horse-poop the Grand Ole Party has become.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. C. Clavin says:

    @al-Ameda:

    that that’s more important than paying our troops and paying our veterans

    Where in the fwck did that false choice come from???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. James Pearce says:

    “I would remind all of your viewers, the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it, and the president has to sign it. The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood so that’s another issue that awaits a new president hopefully with a different point of view.”

    I don’t want to damn the man with faint praise, but holy hell, rather than shovel the shit into waiting mouths, McConnell is dropping some actual science.

    I would remind all of your viewers, the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it, and the president has to sign it.

    Or in other words, politics isn’t a protest rally. It’s a process.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. grumpy realist says:

    So what’s the over/under on the length of time before some radio shock jock calls McConnell a RINO?

    (By the way, did anyone see McCain’s pile of regurgitated vomit in the WSJ? The guy gets a hard-on thinking about the Mideast in flames, there’s no doubt about it. If McCain had to worry about Iran at the same time an asteroid was heading for Earth, he’d nuke Iran and ignore the asteroid.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Mu says:

    @C. Clavin: They committed all the money to Lockheed-Martin for the F35. Need to pay the troops somehow.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Rob Miles says:

    For these defunders, does it even matter that the videos they’re in such “outrage” over were highly edited to give an entirely fabricated view of what was discussed in the interviews? Or would they want to defund PP regardless?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. michael reynolds says:

    It’s getting harder and harder not to think of all this impotent flailing as “death throes.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Ron Beasley says:

    So they will shut down the government. I can’t really see myself voting for another Republican again and I have voted for many in my 69 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @Rob Miles: Talking about fabricated videos, has anyone noticed the latest James O’Keefe bruhaha?

    When even the WP news reporters are asking you “is this a joke?” you know you’ve reached Batboy territory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. gVOR08 says:

    I note that Dr. Carson’s fetal tissue experimentation doesn’t seem to have hurt him in Iowa. I guess IOKIYAR.

    Politico happened to mention:
    Indeed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with Sen. Dan Coates, Sen. Chuck Grassley and other pro-life Republicans, were among those to give support to a 1992 bill that specifically allowed funding for and promotion of research on human fetal tissue. Though that bill was vetoed by President George H. W. Bush, in 1993 members of both parties, again including McConnell and other Senate Republicans, almost unanimously supported the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act, which permits “reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control or storage of human fetal tissue.”

    Despite the futility of trying to defund PP I’m sure Ted Cruz and the boys are having great success fund raising off it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Lenoxus says:

    @C. Clavin: Assuming they push in the direction of shutdown, the choice wouldn’t be “false” so much as imposed, at least until the GOP inevitably folds.

    “If the president and [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid think it so much more important that this organization get your money to keep a mere couple thousand bucks of their money, that that’s more important than paying our troops and paying our veterans having the Statue of Liberty not be evacuated and demolished, I’ll take that debate.”

    (Why, oh why do the Democrats hate Lady Liberty?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Scott says:

    Perhaps the legally literate here can help here but why is the legislation defunding Planned Parenthood not considered a Bill of Attainder and therefore unconstitutional?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Democrats are likely to spin the upcoming Republican attack on Planned Parenthood as an attack on women’s health,

    Doug, it’s not spin, it is an unadulterated fact. If theGOP were really upset about the practice the highly edited videos purportedly show, they would be pushing to make that practice illegal. They aren’t. They are trying to destroy Planned Parenthood, an organization that is for more than a few women the only available source of healthcare.

    The fact that you can not see this calls into question your reasoning abilities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Facebones says:

    @grumpy realist:

    So what’s the over/under on the length of time before some radio shock jock calls McConnell a RINO?

    I don’t think quantum physics has identified a length of time that brief.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. JohnMcC says:

    @grumpy realist: Sen McConnell has been identified as a RINO for a long long time. The earliest date that showed up on the first 2 or 3 pages of a google search (Sen McConnell a rino) was 11/22/13:

    http://www.angrywhitedude.com/2013/11/mitch-mcconnell-go-must-defeated/

    On July 31st, Erick son of Erick wrote:

    “This is really, really simple.

    “If Republicans do not defund planned parenthood, they will see a great portion of their base vanish overnight. That is not an exaggeration.

    “Planned Parenthood, we now know, is killing living children who have already been born, cutting them up, and harvesting their organs.

    “If Abraham Lincoln’s party cannot go to war against that where war is not bullets, just a government shutdown until the President relents then Abraham Lincoln’s party needs to be put on the ash heap of history. It really is that simple.”

    http://www.redstate.com/2015/07/31/do-or-do-not-there-is-no-try/

    Which leaves me wondering at all the things that are piled up on that ‘ash heap of history’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Rob Miles: Bingo! Defund PP regardless is the goal, the videos are simply the current tool.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: The problem is that people on the right want abortion to be completely illegal in the US but don’t want their daughters to have to go to Mexico to get one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. C. Clavin says:

    @JohnMcC:

    “Planned Parenthood, we now know, is killing living children who have already been born, cutting them up, and harvesting their organs.

    Stop and think about this for a moment….a major political party, in the greatest nation on earth, is trying to make policy based upon this complete and total nonsense. It’s not a difference of opinion, or of viewpoint. It’s total fabrication. And yet…it is not only allowed to stand…but Erickson is wildly influential in the GOP.
    Inconceivable…but true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. JohnMcC says:

    @C. Clavin: Indeed. They have invented their own universe of good and evil. Reminds me of someone donning a virtual reality outfit and playing a part in a video game that involves sword-swinging and gunfire — but in a crowded public square. And he thinks he’s the one that knows reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. DrDaveT says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Where in the fwck did that false choice come from???

    From Kindergarten — it’s the “look what you made me do” gambit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Scott says:

    @DrDaveT:

    From Kindergarten — it’s the “look what you made me do” gambit.

    You mean the Republican version of the Alinsky playbook is “Everything I Know I Learned in Kindergarten”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. george says:

    @Scott:

    You mean the Republican version of the Alinsky playbook is “Everything I Know I Learned in Kindergarten”?

    Actually I thought Alinsky was a Republican. They’re the only ones who ever talk about him. The same way Marx was a Communist, since they were ones who talked about Marx all the time.

    I’m serious, Google Alinsky. Most of the hits point at conservative references. Its pretty clear cut actually.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnMcC: Small grammar note, that’s properly “Erik spawn of Erik”. I occasionally glance at Red State. He’s really gone off the deep end. Which is hard given that he started pretty far gone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. al-Ameda says:

    @Scott:

    You mean the Republican version of the Alinsky playbook is “Everything I Know I Learned in Kindergarten”?

    Republicans are seem to be unaware that most Americans think that Alinsky was the executive producer of “Jersey Shore”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0