Senator Cruz vows to defund Planned Parenthood, threatens weekend work

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After Pope Francis Speech, Obama Threatens Veto Of Planned Parenthood Defunding Bill.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate was poised to vote on legislation that would keep the government open beyond next Wednesday’s deadline, but at a price Democrats are certain to reject: stripping taxpayer money from Planned Parenthood. With the big news out of Congress today the warm welcome received by Pope Francis, one might forget that our nation’s august legislature is headed for yet another government shutdown, this time over Republican demands that the government cut off all funding for Planned Parenthood, most of which comes in the form of Medicaid reimbursements for women’s health care.

President Obama vowed to veto a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood soon after Pope Francis finished up his speech to Congress calling for respect for life in all of its stages. On Thursday, the White House issued a statement that President Barack Obama would veto it anyway, saying it “would limit access to health care for women, men, and families across the Nation, and disproportionately impact low-income individuals.” The next steps were unclear, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has promised there will not be a government shutdown. Just when it was starting to look like their chaotic presidential primary might be heading to a more sane place, the shutdown controversy threatens to drag it backwards, boosting the candidates the party fears most. But they oppose a shutdown confrontation over Planned Parenthood, which is under intense criticism for undercover videos that raise questions about its practice of supplying fetal tissue for scientific research.

A new Businessweek poll asked whether “Federal funding to Planned Parenthood should be cut,” and found that 59 percent said it shouldn’t (with 40 percent saying that “strongly”) while only 37 percent said it should. A letter by New York freshmen Ryan Costello and Elise Stefanik promises to “avoid the mistakes of the past” — a reference to the GOP-sparked 2013 shutdown over implementation of the new health care law. Among Republican voters — particularly the partisans who will actually turn out in primaries — Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular, and a shutdown doesn’t seem like such a terrible idea. Internal GOP divisions over what tactics to use to take on Planned Parenthood have House leaders tied in knots, and they have been unable to take on their traditional role of initiating spending legislation.

If you’re a Republican, this is a hopeful sign, because the outlandish number of candidates is beginning to dwindle, and the fewer candidates there are, the more order can come to the race. One might even hope that the winnowing process will accelerate the decline of the “outsider” candidates who are the product of momentary fascination but who would be disastrous in a general election. Planned Parenthood has long been targeted by Republicans, but the effort took on greater urgency after the release of secretly recorded videos that show organization officials discussing methods of procuring tissue from aborted fetuses and compensation for shipping it to researchers. As the number of active candidates goes down, voters’ minds may turn toward rational considerations like electability, and the party could nominate someone who actually has a chance of winning next November.

But now we get another shutdown controversy, which reminds Republican voters of all the reasons they can’t stand the GOP’s establishment in Washington. Perhaps more than anything else, the interest in the outsiders in general and Trump in particular is fed by the disappointment and disgruntlement among the GOP base over party leaders who seem completely ineffectual, forever talking about how they’re going to stop Barack Obama but always failing to deliver. So if there will be any beneficiaries of a shutdown (or an intra-GOP) battle over whether to pursue a shutdown) in the presidential race, they’re likely to be Trump, perhaps Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, and Ted Cruz, whose entire political persona is built on his contempt for the Republican congressional leadership. Cruz has a new op-ed in Politico demanding a shutdown, which begins this way: What happens in politics when one side is absolutely committed to its principles, willing to fight for them no matter the cost, and the other side reflexively surrenders on every issue? Republicans will not get the substantive thing they want, just as they always fail to get the substantive thing they want when they threaten shutdowns.

Whenever it does end, Ted Cruz will cry “Betrayal!”, Donald Trump will say, “these bozos can’t get anything done,” and lots of Republican voters will nod their heads in agreement. And the day when something resembling order comes to the presidential primary contest will have been pushed back again — all while the general electorate is reminded of what a reasonable and trustworthy governing party the GOP is.

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