As Congress prepares for this week’s papal visit on Thursday, House and Senate floor action and committee business is slower than usual. Nevertheless, with fewer than 10 days until a potential government shutdown, federal funding negotiations remain under way along with the corresponding Planned Parenthood funding debate.
Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced legislation that would keep the government running through Dec. 11, while defunding Planned Parenthood. A largely party line vote is expected Thursday, which likely will fail. The proposal is intended to persuade members of Congress to consider a clean funding extension to avoid a government shutdown.
Last Friday, the House passed legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood for one year. Tuesday, the Senate held a procedural vote on H.R. 36, a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. The bill passed the House, but it fell short of the 60 votes needed to move forward in the Senate. Senate leaders hope the papal visit will help bolster support for stricter abortion laws.