An effort led by Utah Senator Mike Lee (R) to defund Planned Parenthood in the U.S. Senate ran aground on Sunday, as his attempt to add an amendment to the highway bill was squashed by the senate leadership. Lee, with support from Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R), tried to attach an amendment eliminating all federal funds for Planned Parenthood to the highway bill. However when the chair of the Senate rejected his amendment, Lee was unable to get support from the ten Senators he needed, in order to override that decision.
After Lee’s effort was rebuffed, Senator Cruz lashed out at Mitch McConnell and the GOP leadership, stating:
The so-called Republican leader led the effort to continue the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. It makes clear that the McConnell-Reid leadership team is united in favor of big government spending, and debt and power.
The Texas Senator continued by railing:
The McConnell-Reid leadership team has no interest in cutting off one penny of funds to Planned Parenthood…The truth is, had the majority leader not opposed us, we could have had a binding vote on defunding Planned Parenthood.
While many Republican Senators dislike Planned Parenthood, it has become apparent that they dislike Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee even more. The two right-wing senators appear to be engaged in a protracted procedural civil war with Senate leadership, and that conflict came to a head on Sunday, over the Planned Parenthood defunding measure.
Pro-life activists may begin to direct their outrage at Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders, if Cruz and Lee can convince them that the Senate leadership is failing them. Ironically, the Republican Party’s inability to get along with one another has ensured that for now, Planned Parenthood, will continue to receive federal funds. Apparently, Mitch McConnell’s distaste for Senators Cruz and Lee, has turned him into a tacit supporter of Planned Parenthood, at least temporarily.