Top House Republicans hope to convince their members to keep the government open by using a fast-track process known as reconciliation to try to defund Planned Parenthood.
House Republican leaders are planning to target Planned Parenthood’s funding by immediately drafting a fast-track reconciliation bill, according to a senior House GOP aide.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his lieutenants will lay out their strategy at a closed-door conference meeting on Friday.
While the plan would mean supporting a short-term bill introduced in the Senate on Thursday to keep the government open through Dec. 11, it could also lead to legislation blocking money for Planned Parenthood hitting President Obama’s desk.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) defended the strategy in an interview Thursday with CNN, arguing that fighting Planned Parenthood through budget reconciliation was the wiser strategy.
“We intend to put on the president’s desk, I believe, legislation,” Ryan said. “And we can do that through our budget process. So I think there are better ways in getting at this issue, defunding this barbaric process and this group that does this, then involving the shutdown issue.”
It’s unclear, however, if the effort will pass muster with House conservatives — particularly with Boehner facing serious threats to his Speakership.
Many House Republicans voiced support for using reconciliation during “listening sessions” held between GOP leaders and their rank-and-file. The rules would prevent Senate Democrats from filibustering, almost ensuring that a funding bill blocking money for Planned Parenthood would reach the White House.
Implicit in this course, however, is the suggestion that the House would have to vote next week on the Senate bill that includes funding for Planned Parenthood.
That might be a bridge too far for many House conservatives, who have insisted they will not support any government-funding bill that also includes money for Planned Parenthood.
Several House conservatives met with leadership in Boehner’s office on Thursday. They included Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), who spearheaded a defunding letter signed by 30 other Republicans, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.).
Mulvaney indicated after the meeting that the conservatives are not backing down from their opposition to a “clean” spending bill, saying that he thinks such a bill would lose at least 50 Republican votes.
SOURCE: Rebecca Shabad, Peter Sullivan, and Bernie Becker