WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate’s top Republican is conceding that his party will have to await the next president before it can cut off federal funds that go to Planned Parenthood.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says Republicans lack the votes to halt the payments. He also says that standing in the GOP’s way is President Barack Obama, who doesn’t leave office until January 2017.
“The way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it, the president has to sign it,” McConnell said in an interview with Kentucky TV station WYMT recorded Monday.
“The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood,” McConnell said. “So that’s another issue that awaits a new president, hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood.”
McConnell spoke a week before Congress returns from a summer recess. Many conservatives say lawmakers should refuse to finance federal agencies, which run out of money on Oct. 1, unless federal funding of Planned Parenthood is terminated. This has triggered a political confrontation that could lead to a government shutdown.
Shortly before leaving on its break, the Senate fell six votes short of advancing legislation that would have blocked Planned Parenthood’s federal money. The organization receives over $500 million annually in government money, which includes money from states.
That move was prompted by videos, secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists, showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing their provision of tissue from aborted fetuses to researchers.