Katie Britt And Ted Cruz Introduce Bill To Rehab Image Of Katie Britt And Ted Cruz

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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) speaks during a news conference with fellow Republican senators at the U.S. Capitol on May 09, 2024 in Washington, DC. Reacting to the White House's warning that it wi... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) speaks during a news conference with fellow Republican senators at the U.S. Capitol on May 09, 2024 in Washington, DC. Reacting to the White House's warning that it will halt some weapons supplies to Israel, GOP senators accused President Joe Biden of supporting Hamas and abandoning Israel. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been putting in a lot of hours into trying to convince Texas voters, specifically Hispanic Texas voters, that there’s much more to him than the trolly, argumentative, hard-right hysterical persona he’s carefully crafted throughout his career in the Senate.

As he prepares to go up against Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) in the fall, Cruz has been making the rounds, trying to message his way into appearing bipartisan. Allred’s challenge appears to be one Cruz is taking seriously, despite Cruz’s lead in the polls, as Allred has been out-raising him for weeks. During a recent Texas meeting of the U.S. Hispanic Business Council, Cruz announced a new “Democrats for Cruz” effort to try to reach more voters ahead of the 2024 election. He also has been recently touting his working relationships with Democrats like Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Cory Booker (NJ) and Amy Klobuchar (MN).

Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) obviously stands to do some image rehab herself, after freaking everyone out with her delivery of the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address.

So the two have teamed up to introduce legislation that they claim would, if it passed the Senate, ensure federal protections for in-vitro fertilization, the extremely popular and highly common procedure used to help people facing fertility issues conceive. Both also represent states where the courts have either weighed in on IVF protections in recent months or soon will. In Texas, a pending court case involving a divorced couple’s dispute over frozen embryos could soon have implications on the accessibility of IVF in the state.

And as TPM has previously reported, Republicans have been struggling for months to properly message on the procedure, after Alabama’s Supreme Court issued a ruling that declared embryos to be “children” earlier this year. The decision came down as part of a wrongful death suit, but the fetal personhood ideology underlying the decision quickly became a stumbling block for Republicans who were quick to also vocalize their support for the idea that embryos are babies.

But when it became clear that the ruling would have a chilling effect on the availability of the procedure in the state — an extremely unpopular outcome that would affect voters across the political spectrum — Republicans backtracked, grasping for a way to still claim that embryos were “children” while also declaring their support for the common fertility treatment. That heartburn manifested in the introduction of empty resolutions that proclaimed support for the procedure but that did little to actually protect IVF. Even worse, Senate Republicans blocked the advancement of a Democratic bill that would’ve codified federal protections for IVF, the same bill they blocked when Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) tried to introduce it in 2022, after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling.

So Cruz and Britt, in their hour of need, are returning to the IVF well to try to garner some likability, given how widely supported protections are among voters. Their proposed legislation, they said, would “clear up confusion after an Alabama Supreme Court ruling,” though it doesn’t directly address the ruling. An excerpt of the pair’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Monday, announcing their bill:

To address these concerns, we will introduce a bill on Monday to ensure IVF access is legally protected nationwide. The legislation would require, as a condition of receiving federal Medicaid funding, that states don’t prohibit IVF. While the Alabama Legislature after the court’s decision promptly reiterated that IVF is protected, federal legislation would eliminate any ambiguity that might arise from future state-level judicial interpretations. Our goal is to make sure that any family’s path to bringing a child into the world isn’t compromised by preventable legal confusion.

But as the Daily Kos writer Joan McCarter and others noted throughout the day Monday, it appears the bill does not actually establish IVF as a right or include any actual legal protections for the procedure. It just raises the specter of access to Medicaid funds being cut off in red states where potential bans on IVF may arise. Biden is already seizing on the bill to remind voters Senate Republicans had the opportunity to support the procedure twice in the last two years and did nothing.

Donald Trump and Senate Republicans had the chance to protect IVF nationwide, and they chose not to,” Biden-Harris campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt told HuffPost Monday. “By overturning Roe, Trump created the crisis that threatens IVF — and he supports states that ban abortion and rip away IVF access.”

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