Mitch McConnell has a strategy for government shutdown: More anti-abortion votes
A strategy, of sorts, is emerging from Senate Republicans about how to not shut down government.
It begins, as all things Republican do these days, with voting to defund Planned Parenthood. But what happens after that isn’t so clear.
The Republican leader finished the fast-track process, which was started on Monday night, that will allow the House-passed bill to skip the committee process and go directly to the Senate floor, where it could be brought up for a vote.The legislation, which passed the House last week by a 241-187 vote, would place a one-year freeze on federal funding for the organization, giving lawmakers more time to investigate claims of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood made in a string of controversial videos.
Senate Republicans also finished the fast-track process on legislation that would tighten restrictions on abortion doctors who violate infant protections.
Yes, it’s abortion week in the Senate, but that’s supposed to end up in votes that will prove that there aren’t the votes to defund Planned Parenthood, and that the Senate will have to pass a clean continuing resolution bill to keep the government open on October 1. Following the failed vote on a 20-week abortion ban, McConnell has teed up that defunding vote for Thursday, the day the Pope speaks to Congress. When that vote fails, he will move a “clean” continuing resolution, one that maintains Planned Parenthood funding. What else it contains isn’t clear at the moment—notably how long it will last and when the next shutdown drama could happen. Also not clear right now is what Sens. Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or Rand Paul might do to block that vote.
Speaking of shutdown drama, what none of this resolves is what happens in the House, which isn’t even scheduled to do any work on anything this week until Thursday. That tells you something about Speaker John Boehner’s priorities. The hardliners in the House already know that there aren’t the votes to defund Planned Parenthood there, and they don’t seem to give a damn. They reject that reality as a reason for not moving ahead with a government shutdown and seemingly won’t be deterred. In other words, we’re a day closer to the government shutting down and nowhere nearer a solution for avoiding it.
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