No Abortion Rhetoric in New GOP Budget Offer

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Congress may yet avert a government shutdown as Republicans left Planned Parenthood funding intact in a resolution put to the Senate on Thursday.
     The Senate must approve legislation to fund the government by Oct. 1 to avoid a shutdown, but debate over the future of Planned Parenthood seemed destined to keep Democrats and Republicans fighting.
     Conservatives have been particularly enraged after a series of undercover videos came to light, supposedly showing Planned Parenthood executives negotiating over the price of organs from aborted fetuses.
     Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., had proposed an amendment that would temporarily fund the government through Dec. 11, while defunding Planned Parenthood, but a motion to end debate on the resolution failed 47-52 Thursday. Eight Republicans joined Democrats in voting against their party.
     Cochran’s is the first so-called continuing resolution the Senate has considered since returning from the August recess.
     Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced the second continuing resolution – this time without the language that would defund Planned Parenthood.
     Continuing resolutions allow the Senate to delay passing a full appropriations bill by providing enough money for the government to continue operating while the body considers more complete funding legislation.
     Democrats blocked a Republican abortion bill on Tuesday as well, preventing Republicans from ending debate on a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
     Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., lamented the similarity between the current battle over funding and the fight in 2013, when the government shut down for more than two weeks as Republicans proposed continuing resolutions that would have defunded the recently passed Affordable Care Act.
     “I really had hope Republicans would learn their lesson,” Murray said on the floor shortly before the vote on cloture on the continuing resolution.
     Murray said her colleagues were using women’s health as a “Tea Party political football,” and urged Republicans to stop “governing by crisis.”
     McConnell meanwhile said the resolution would have actually supported women’s health by transferring funds from Planned Parenthood, calling the nonprofit a “political organization … mired in scandal.”
     Any funding the continuing resolution removed from Planned Parenthood would have been directed into community health centers, McConnell said on the floor.
     The vote came hours after Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress in a speech he used to address the importance of good government and of protecting the lives of individuals in all forms.
     Republican members of the Senate praised the resolution, including presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
     “We should honor the commitments we made, we should pass the continuing resolution that, number one, prevents taxpayer money from going to Planned Parenthood, a private organization that’s not part of the federal government, it happens to be politically favored by the president,” Cruz told reporters after the vote. “But it is currently under multiple criminal investigations for being videotaped apparently committing a pattern of ongoing felonies.”
     The Senate is expected to vote on the new continuing resolution Monday evening, but that timeline depends on when McConnell files cloture on the new continuing resolution.

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