Republicans Say Enough With the Government-Shutdown Talk Already

Many doubt the government would really shut down over Planned Parenthood funding.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 09: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (3rd L), Senate Minority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) (R), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Sen. John Thune (R-SD), speak to members of the media after the Senate Republican Policy Luncheon at the Capitol December 9, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Senate Republican leadership responded to a report on CIA's use of torture conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee where were released today.
National Journal
July 30, 2015, 11:26 a.m.

While a hand­ful of con­ser­vat­ives are hanker­ing for a show­down in Septem­ber over Planned Par­ent­hood fund­ing, many prom­in­ent Re­pub­lic­ans are dis­miss­ing the pos­sib­il­ity that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment could shut down over the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s stream of fed­er­al dol­lars.

The GOP is liv­id over re­cently re­leased sting videos that show Planned Par­ent­hood of­fi­cials al­legedly dis­cuss­ing the sale of fetal tis­sue. The Sen­ate will try next week to move for­ward on a stand-alone meas­ure to de­fund the group and re­dir­ect the money to com­munity health cen­ters, though it is ex­pec­ted to fail in the face of Demo­crat­ic op­pos­i­tion.

But with memor­ies of the 2013 gov­ern­ment shut­down fresh in many of their minds, few Re­pub­lic­ans seem to think it’s worth clos­ing down the gov­ern­ment over the is­sue.

“No. Not over this,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, a mem­ber of Sen­ate lead­er­ship and chair of the Ap­pro­pri­ations sub­com­mit­tee that over­sees health care, when asked if the gov­ern­ment could shut down over the con­tro­versy.

That doesn’t mean Blunt wants the is­sue to go away. “I think it’ll be an on­go­ing top­ic for dis­cus­sion un­til Planned Par­ent­hood comes up with a much bet­ter ex­plan­a­tion for their con­duct than they have so far,” he said.

In the House, a group of 18 Re­pub­lic­ans sent a let­ter Wed­nes­day to their lead­er­ship say­ing that they would not vote for a gov­ern­ment spend­ing bill that con­tin­ued to fund Planned Par­ent­hood.

“It would lead to a fight, no ques­tion about that,” said Rep. Phil Roe, chair­man of the GOP Doc­tors Caucus. “There’s no doubt that it would, but I think this is a fight worth hav­ing.

“I’d be will­ing to shut the gov­ern­ment down over hu­man life,” he said, adding that he does not fore­see a shut­down ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing.

But there was al­ways likely to be a con­tin­gent of Far-Right Re­pub­lic­ans who wouldn’t sup­port whatever spend­ing bill lead­er­ship put for­ward. It is much more doubt­ful that GOP lead­ers would be will­ing to pick a fight with Sen­ate Demo­crats and Pres­id­ent Obama over the is­sue and risk a shut­down.

“I don’t think to the point that it will stop a CR,” said Rep. Tom Cole, who chairs the House Ap­pro­pri­ations sub­com­mit­tee for health and is a close ally of Speak­er John Boehner, when asked if the Planned Par­ent­hood is­sue could sty­mie the spend­ing bill. Con­gress is ex­pec­ted to pass a short-term con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion be­fore the Sept. 30 dead­line.

“Look, I’m very sym­path­et­ic to my col­leagues,” Cole said, not­ing that his pan­el’s Ap­pro­pri­ations bill had cut all fund­ing for a fed­er­al pro­gram that fun­nels money to­ward Planned Par­ent­hood. “But I don’t be­lieve in shut­ting down gov­ern­ment and I don’t be­lieve in black­mail­ing your lead­er­ship.

“A lot of these threats are from people who won’t vote for the CR or fi­nal deal any­way, so they don’t carry too much cred­ib­il­ity,” he ad­ded. “But we should be work­ing to­ward what they’re try­ing to do. I just don’t be­lieve in gov­ern­ment shut­downs as the vehicle to do it.”

Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans in par­tic­u­lar swept in­to power last year with a prom­ise to make Con­gress more func­tion­al. Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell has said on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment would not shut down or de­fault on its debt un­der his lead­er­ship.

“Those are the com­mit­ments that we made,” said Sen. John Bar­rasso, the No. 4 Re­pub­lic­an, on Thursday.

Even those work­ing on the up­per cham­ber’s de­fund meas­ure balked at the no­tion of shut­ting down the gov­ern­ment to cut Planned Par­ent­hood money.

“I’m hop­ing to avoid that,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, who led the work­ing group that pro­duced the bill. “I don’t want to see the gov­ern­ment shut down. I’m not even go­ing to talk about that.”

“I’m not try­ing to risk a shut­down. That’s not what I’m try­ing to do,” said Sen. James Lank­ford of Ok­lahoma, an­oth­er mem­ber of the work­ing group.

That sen­ti­ment seemed to per­vade much of the GOP con­fer­ence.

“I’m go­ing to want to make sure that we keep the gov­ern­ment fun­ded,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hamp­shire.

Alex Rogers contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
PINS KHASHOGGI KILLING ON MBS
Senate Moves to End Support for Saudi War
10 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE
REP. POLIQUIN HAD CHALLENGED THE LAW
Federal Judge Upholds Ranked-Choice Voting in Maine
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A federal judge on Thursday rejected Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s constitutional claims against ranked-choice voting and denied the incumbent’s request for a new election against Democratic Congressman-elect Jared Golden. U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker ruled that, contrary to the arguments of Poliquin’s legal team, the U.S. Constitution does not require that whichever congressional candidates receives the most votes—or 'a plurality'—be declared the winner. Instead, Walker ruled the Constitution grants states broad discretion to run elections."

Source:
SAUDI ARABIA, ISRAEL, AND THE UAE
Mueller Probing Middle East Countries' Influence Campaigns
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Officials working under Special Counsel Robert Mueller are investigating Middle Eastern countries' attempts to influence American politics, and are set to release the findings in early 2019. "Various witnesses affiliated with the Trump campaign have been questioned about their conversations with deeply connected individuals from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Israel ... Topics in those meetings ranged from the use of social-media manipulation to help install Trump in the White House to the overthrow of the regime in Iran." Investigators are also probing meetings organized by Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, and Joel Zamel, "a self-styled Mark Zuckerberg of the national-security world with deep ties to Israeli intelligence."

Source:
HEADS TO TRUMP FOR SIGNATURE
Congress Passes Sexual Harassment Reforms
2 hours ago
THE LATEST
FACES UP TO FIVE YEARS
Butina Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday for conspiracy to act as an illegal foreign agent in the United States. Butina, 30, was accused of working to infiltrate Republican political circles through groups such as the National Rifle Association to bolster Russian interests." She admitted to acting "under direction of" Alexander Torshin. "She faces a maximum of five years in prison and will likely be deported after serving any time."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login