Shutdown Showdown Over Planned Parenthood Possible, Members of Congress Say
The fight over defunding Planned Parenthood could lead to a government shutdown.
Many have been warning that they will hold up measures to fund the government past October if the legislation contains any taxpayer dollars for Planned Parenthood, which became the center of debate again after videos surfaced allegedly showing employees of the group discussing prices for fetal tissue and body parts.
“We can not and will not support any funding resolution ... that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood, including mandatory funding streams,” wrote 18 Republican House members to House leadership Wednesday.
This would present a major hurdle for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has repeatedly pledged that the government would not shut down under GOP congressional stewardship.
“We're certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt," he said during a March television interview.
More moderate Republicans and some centrist Democrats are already working on ways to avoid ending taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood outright, but focus instead on removing just funding that goes to clinics that engage in fetal-tissue procurement. Moderate Maine Republican Susan Collins is working on legislation that would maintain Title X and Medicaid funding for all Planned Parenthood clinics that do not engage in fetal tissue sales. National Journal noted that Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is working with her, but that Senate Republican leadership has not yet approved the legislation.
"We need more facts and a more targeted approach," Collins said in a statement.
Whether a compromise is reached or not, the issue is already becoming a fight for which Democrats, who largely support federal funding to Planned Parenthood, are steeling themselves.
“This is just presidential Republican primary politics finding their way onto the Senate floor,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, said today.