Next week, the government may shut down, sending the House and Senate leaders into a frenzy to come up with effective plans to deter the situation. Members of Congress are caught up in a battle to approve funding for Planned Parenthood, which approves abortions. In order for the bill to pass, the government agencies need to remain open.
House Speaker John Boehner took the issue up with his team, informing them that he plans to defund Planned Parenthood into a reconciliation bill, which the Senate cannot filibuster. However, the speaker’s team is not onboard with this idea, saying that even though both the House and Senate may pass the bill, President Obama will use his power to veto it.
Additionally, it will allow Congress to pass a stopgap measure, free of restrictions, before October 1 to keep the government from closing down. This plan will create an unharmonious atmosphere amongst conservatives when Boehner pitches the idea on Friday in a private meeting.
Democrats in the Senate will attempt once again to reject the bill, which will cease funding for Planned Parenthood if it passes. Last time, the Democrats in the Senate rejected the bill using the filibuster technique to delay it. In order for the bill to pass, it needed 60 votes, but only received 47 to 52, resulting in their loss.
The bill contained anti-abortion sections, planned to fund the government until December 11, and barred money from going towards Planned Parenthood. Conservative Republicans despise Planned Parenthood’s action of providing women with abortion services. When the bill came to the attention of Democrats, they refused to consent with the funding, until the section of defunding Planned Parenthood was deleted.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, predicted in advance that this bill would fail. McConnell along with GOP leaders began procedural proceedings to tell the opposing party that even if they wanted the bill to pass, they wouldn’t be able to, as they lacked the votes. Their whole aim is to prevent the shutdown and keep funding the federal agencies. He pushed for the stopgap funding bill in which the anti-abortion sections will remain intact. At least, this will prevent the government from closing down until December. The final votes for the bill will be decided one day before the deadline. Once the bill passes the Senate, it will be in the hands of the House to decide its fate.
Why are the Republicans leaders making such a big deal out of the issue? An anti-abortion group secretly recorded the officials of Planned Parenthood discussing details about selling the fetal tissue. The video outraged the conservative party, thus putting the wheels in motion for the creation of the bill.
With the latest developments, Republicans senators such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas have accused the GOP leaders of caving into the demands of the Democrats. Steny Hoyer, D-House, was not pleased with how the Republicans for the second time have run this issue so close to the deadline.
He also acknowledged to reporters that leaders were well aware of the bill requiring bipartisan support, but the GOP leaders have not gotten in touch with Democrats. However, the person feeling the most pressure as the result of this bill is House Speaker Boehner. In fact, his own party members are trying to oust him out of the position of Speaker, especially if he sides with the Democrats and approves funding for Planned Parenthood.
The GOP leaders of the House plan to elaborate on the issue of anti-abortion funding by sending additional legislation to the Senate in an attempt to pressure and force them to bend to their will and pass the anti-abortion bills.