Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] introduced a resolution to temporarily fund the government, which Republican Presidential candidate [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] equated with lack of leadership. Cruz said that in his estimation, McConnell is no longer the leader of the majority GOP congress.
According to Cruz, “The position of Republican leadership boils down to this: They will support 100% of the priorities of Democrats.” He went on to say that, “the leader in the Senate is [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] because Republican leadership has said nothing will pass without Reid ‘s support. Today, the leader in the House is [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ].”
Though McConnell did move to temporarily block funding to Planned Parenthood, he obstructed Cruz’s goal of permanently defunding the controversial organization. Planned Parenthood has received a great deal of public scrutiny and is under investigation for a series of clandestine videos involving baby body parts. It is now a major part of the Senate budget talks.
The bill that McConnell moved to bring up would fund the government through Dec. 11 and would halt funding for Planned Parenthood. It is expected, however, that Senate Democrats will filibuster the plan on Thursday, following the Pope’s address to a joint session of Congress. At that point, McConnell is planning to bring up a clean funding bill–one that continues the funding to Planned Parenthood.
Cruz opposes McConnell’s plan and has said that a continuing resolution should stop all of the group’s public funding and also require the White House to disclose the full details of the nuclear agreement reached with Iran. “We should not be content with simple show votes, which is Republican leadership’s favorite strategy,” Cruz implored. “My focus is on urging leadership to actually lead.”
The GOP leadership, however, doesn’t want to risk a government shutdown.
Consequently, congressional Democrats and Republicans are at a budget impasse over whether or not to continue public funding of Planned Parenthood. And, the White House has made it clear they will not sign a budget that cuts funding for the abortion provider.
Cruz, and other conservatives in congress, have been critical of congressional GOP leadership many times prior to this current scuffle. In particular, the leadership has been accused of regularly voting with Obama–and, at a record pace. This latest dustup is intensifying, however, as the September 30 budget deadline approaches. Cruz reportedly, did not attend the conference’s regular lunch, for example.
The Texas senator has circulated a letter asking other senators to join him in his commitment to defund Planned Parenthood and his campaign website features a petition to defund the organization. The petition states, in part:
“The news Planned Parenthood is possibly selling the body parts of the babies it has aborted is sickening.
Congress should renew efforts to fully defund Planned Parenthood to ensure its morally bankrupt business receives not one penny of taxpayer money.”
The petition can be accessed at TedCruz.Org.