More proof, as if we needed it, that Harry Reid still runs the Senate.
When it comes to surrendering, the French have nothing on the Gutless Old Party under McConnell and Boehner.
The Senate leader says he wants a ‘clean’ funding bill through December.
By Burgess Everett and John Bresnan at Politico
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview Friday he will back a plan to fund the government into December with no conditions, rejecting in his strongest terms yet calls from within his party to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a larger budget bill.
“It’s an exercise in futility,” the Kentucky Republican said of a strategy that would likely provoke a government shutdown. “I’m anxious to defund Planned Parenthood” but “the honest answer of that is that’s not going to happen until you have a president who has a similar view.”
“It’s better to be honest with the American people and say, ‘That won’t get it done,’” he added.
The Senate leader’s bow to political reality further sets up an end-of-month clash with congressional conservatives that could potentially shutter the government over Planned Parenthood funding. Instead, he plans to pursue a two-pronged strategy: A short-term funding bill to buy time to negotiate a longer-term spending measure, and separately, a vote this month to federally ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The GOP leader said in the interview on Friday that while he’d “love to be able to defund Planned Parenthood” after the release of secretly taped videos that allegedly show group officials discussing sales of fetal tissue, he’s got a math problem: A Democratic minority that will block any such effort and a president that would veto it even if it could pass the Senate.
“Senate Democrats have refused to let us pass any of the 12 appropriations bills,” McConnell said. “What we’re going to do is fund the government into the end of the year and it will obviously have to be something that could get a presidential signature. So there’s no way you can avoid talking to each other about how to get there.”
Asked if that short-term bill would contain any language affecting Planned Parenthood or the nuclear deal with Iran that’s now safe from the GOP’s attacks, McConnell said: “We’re going to take a look at whatever the House sends us.”
But the Kentucky Republican said a strategy being promoted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and a growing bloc of House conservatives that would oppose any spending bill that funds Planned Parenthood is “misleading people into thinking it’s possible” to strip the organization of funding. That proposal can’t pass the Senate’s 60-vote threshold and even a government shutdown would still keep most funds flowing the women’s healthcare organization.
Though the 20-week abortion ban proposal is likely to fail due to broad Democratic opposition, McConnell and anti-abortion groups believe it’s a better option than risking a shutdown. McConnell seemed unconcerned with the increasingly strident attacks on him from Cruz, who says the GOP is pursuing a “meaningless show vote” and has compared McConnell to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
“Groups who deeply are concerned about the issue realize this [Planned Parenthood strategy] isn’t going to get that done,” McConnell said. “What we are going to do is move to the pain-capable [abortion] bill sometime this month and see how people feel about that,” he added, referring to the 20-week bill.
McConnell gave no indication that he’s begun speaking with the Obama administration on a larger budget deal. The Republican leader said he’s talking to President Barack Obama significantly less often than during the Senate’s arduous passage of free-trade legislation earlier this year, which marked perhaps the peak level of cooperation between the majority leader and the president during their seven-year governing relationship.
Senate Democrats have been asking McConnell for months to begin serious budget talks with them, an opportunity that by all accounts the GOP leader has spurned. He said there will be “plenty of time to talk” in October and November after avoiding the latest shutdown threat on Oct. 1, but Democrats immediately blasted him for punting.
“This is yet another Republican-manufactured crisis straight out of Senator McConnell’s playbook,” said Kristen Orthman, a spokeswoman for Reid. “Instead of wasting his time trying to blame Democrats for his own management failures, Senator McConnell should finally take us up on our offer to sit down and negotiate. Better late than never.”
RELATED: Surrender, Then “Play-Fight” – A Word From McConnell’s Office
Write McConnell and tell him he has the blood of those murdered babies on his hands.
Demand that he resign as Majority Leader.
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Harry Reid still runs the Senate: