Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz had harsh words for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, criticizing them for their failure to defund Planned Parenthood. Cruz, never shy about opposing the establishment, said Republicans were making a big mistake by promising to avoid a government shutdown.
“When you have a radical in the White House who will exploit that promise, what it means in effect is that Republican leadership will support every failed big government policy of President Obama,” Cruz said.
That appears to be the case yet again, as the Senate prepares to vote on a new short-term spending bill that would keep the government open until December 11. The new continuing resolution is identical to the one voted down on Thursday with one exception: it allows taxpayer money to fund Planned Parenthood.
“We find ourselves with unneeded and unnecessary drama when it comes to funding the federal government,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. “Hence the vote on Monday on closing off debate on a continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 11, 2015.”
Republicans aren’t waving the white flag on Planned Parenthood quite yet. The plan now is to separate the divisive issue from the spending bill through a process known as budget reconciliation in the House. This would give Republicans the ability to avoid a shutdown while pushing a different piece of legislation defunding Planned Parenthood. This legislation would only require a simple majority to pass, thus increasing the odds that it winds up on the president’s desk.
But critics of the embattled abortion clinic say that’s not good enough.
“The objective is not simply ‘to get a bill on President Obama’s desk.’ The primary objective is to defund this organization,” said Heritage Foundation spokesman Dan Holler.
Alas, there seems to be little hope of that. Any bill along those lines would be met with an instant veto, even if it somehow managed to squeak past Democratic opposition in Congress. Republican leaders see this as some form of political victory, as though America is not well aware of how President Obama feels about Planned Parenthood. Forcing him to veto legislation that he’s already promised to veto might make sense to politicians on Capitol Hill, but it feels a lot like theater to the rest of the country.
Once again, Republicans find themselves at the corner of rhetoric and action. On paper, this is a Congress filled to the brim with ethical conservatives willing to burn Washington to the ground if it means standing for what’s right. In real life, all of that bravado turns into political smoke once the rubber meets the road. Meanwhile, a nation of pro-life conservatives can only watch in helpless sorrow.
And the GOP is surprised that three outsiders are leading in the presidential primaries?