• Senate Rejects Short-Term CR Defunding Planned Parenthood
  • October 1, 2015
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • After initially signaling that he thought defunding Planned Parenthood was an issue for the “next President,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) on Tuesday morning that funds the government and defunds Planned Parenthood.

    The clock is ticking on Congress to act with the September 30th deadline looming large.

    A CR that defunds Planned Parenthood was doomed from the start in the Senate. Senate Democrats repeatedly made it clear that they would not support anything but a clean continuing resolution to fund the government at its current spending levels, and, indeed, earlier attempts to defund Planned Parenthood failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to proceed, earning just two Democratic votes.

    As expected, the CR, which included language defunding Planned Parenthood, failed to get the necessary 60 votes on Thursday. Eight Republicans joined all but one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), in opposing the measure.

    Immediately after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed another short-term CR that does not include the provisions defunding Planned Parenthood. While the clean CR has the votes necessary to pass in the Senate, it is unclear when it will pass because of the outspoken opposition of members like Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY). Complicating matters is the question of whether Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) can cobble together the votes in the House.

    House Republicans have a conference meeting scheduled for Friday where they will again discuss how to tackle federal funding for Planned Parenthood and a short-term spending measure, and Speaker Boehner met with some of the leaders of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus on Thursday night.

    Boehner continues to court conservatives, hoping to avoid relying on Democrats to pass a clean CR. At the center of Boehner's pitch is his promise to immediately use reconciliation to defund Planned Parenthood.

    Boehner is promising conservatives to start marking up reconciliation bills next week that would include language to defund Planned Parenthood. Reconciliation would allow the Senate to pass the measure with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes that it has been unable to find so far on the issue.

    While the battle over the CR rages on, Democrats in the Senate continue to blocking appropriations bills— this week blocking the funding bill for the Department of Defense. The Democrats have blocked the appropriations process in the Senate and say they will continue to do so until Senate Republicans agree to enter into negotiations to raise the spending caps for next year.