McConnell: Planned Parenthood funding protest 'exercise in futility'
The Senate leader says he wants a 'clean' funding bill through DecemberBy Burgess Everett and John Bresnahan, Politico.com
Updated 09/11/15, 02:34 PM EDT
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.