Staring down the possibility of another government shutdown at the end of the month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) went on the record with Politico to tamp down fears that there would be a shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding.
“Shutting down the government, it doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood any more than shutting down the government two years ago would have defunded Obamacare,” McConnell said in the interview, referring to the 2013 shutdown that was led by some of the same cast of characters floating a shutdown now.
In addition to publicly reminding his conservative colleagues of the political consequences of shutting down the government over abortion politics – a movement that is being fueled by a series of Planned Parenthood “sting” videos – McConnell and his counterparts in the House have set up votes on anti-abortion bills separate from the federal budget to channel conservatives’ outrage elsewhere.
In the Politico interview, McConnell laid out a longer-term strategy to achieving some of the things conservatives desire that depends on Republicans holding their majorities in Congress while winning the White House in 2016. In the meantime, he said he wanted to focus on more moderate goals that are achievable in the current landscape, like infrastructure funding and a cybersecurity bill.
“None of them by themselves fundamentally change the country. But they’re all important,” McConnell said.