Senate to take test vote Monday on government funding bill

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bill to Extend US Spending Authority Blocked in Senate.

Washington — Democrats and several Republicans banded together on Thursday to block legislation to keep the government open over a contentious, GOP-led effort to strip Planned Parenthood of its taxpayer funding.The Senate’s top Republican moved swiftly to avoid a government shutdown in six days, pushing legislation that would keep agencies operating without a contentious fight over money for Planned Parenthood. The move, which comes as conservatives are weighing whether to try to remove John Boehner as House speaker, was discussed at a closed GOP leadership meeting Thursday. Senate has blocked a bill that would have kept the federal government open, clearing the path for another bill that is likely to draw bipartisan support.

But it would ultimately be a meaningless exercise: The Senate would reject the measure, and President Barack Obama has said he will veto any spending bill that tries to defund Planned Parenthood. McConnell immediately offered a bipartisan stopgap spending bill free of the Planned Parenthood dispute that’s expected to easily clear the Senate next week by a wide bipartisan margin. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, using the common congressional term. “The House is going to figure out what the House is going to do but we can’t shut down the government.” Honoring public health workers for their efforts to combat Ebola, the president said such organizations “need support from Congress in order continue to excel in their mission so I hope that Congress chooses to keep our government open and operating so that heroes like this can keep working.” Planned Parenthood has long been targeted by Republicans, but their efforts have intensified after the release of secretly recorded videos that raised questions about its handling of fetal tissue provided to scientific researchers. After Pope Francis departed the Capitol Thursday afternoon, Boehner met with the leaders of a conservative group that has threatened to try and overthrow him.

The members of the House Freedom Caucus would not say if they would attempt to strip Boehner of his gavel if he can’t block Parent Parenthood’s funding, although some hardliners have threatened to do so. That bill is viewed as an unconscionable surrender by conservatives like Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination next year. “We should honor the promises we made to the voters,” said Cruz. “We have Republican majorities in both houses [of Congress]. It is my hope that [congressional Republican] leadership will actually lead.” That sentiment is shared by a bloc of Republicans in the House of Representatives rumored to be plotting to oust Speaker John Boehner over what they see as the speaker’s reluctance to take a hard line with Democrats on issues like Planned Parenthood. But the new, multi-step effort on Planned Parenthood by House Republicans comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) failed in his own effort to cut off funding for women’s health group.

And on Thursday, the White House issued a statement that Obama would veto it in any event, arguing that it “would limit access to health care for women, men, and families across the nation, and disproportionately impact low-income individuals.” The Senate’s vote, and the bipartisan measure that followed, cranks up the pressure on the GOP-controlled House. And they are interested in Republican majorities of Congress actually standing up and defending the principles we promised we would defend when we were elected.” Cruz’s tough rhetoric may prove to be little more than fodder for his presidential campaign. Eleven GOP House freshmen — several facing difficult re-election races next year in Democratic-leaning districts — say they oppose a shutdown confrontation. Ryan Costello promises to “avoid repeating the mistakes of the past,” a reference to the GOP-sparked 2013 shutdown over implementation of the health care law.

Conservative hard-liners including Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, were summoned to Boehner’s suite but would not comment on his plans. Sources close to Boehner dismissed the notion that he would the offer the motion to vacate the speaker’s chair himself, as some Republicans have privately suggested he do as a show of strength. Ken Buck of Colorado and Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, have signed on to a more confrontational strategy, along with prominent conservatives like Reps. Upon leaving, none of them would commit to trying to overthrow Boehner or even comment directly on what was said during the session in the speaker’s office. So far, it appears as if the effort has been successful, although there remains a core group of at least 25 members who would be glad to see Boehner replaced.

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