House Republicans emerged from an hour-long meeting Wednesday evening no closer to a decision about how to fund the government at month’s end while addressing activists’ concerns about choking off federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
In fact, with just eight legislative days to go before a government shutdown, more options exist than before, making it unclear where GOP leaders will find consensus in their conference.
Leadership has been touting using the budget reconciliation process to target federal funding for the women’s health organization. That has found some buy-in from some antiabortion members who believe that engaging in a fight that could end up shutting down the government in the name of the antiabortion cause could damage the movement.
“I think there’s a possibility that that could be true,” said Rep. Trent Franks, asked whether a shutdown could set back his cause. “In this case there is potentially one other maneuver that could work,” he continued, referring to reconciliation.
That would make more sense, other members argued, because much of the funding for the group is mandatory spending through Medicaid, which means it could not be reapportioned in a discretionary spending bill. Rep. Tom Cole said a short-term continuing resolution with a rider cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood would not work because “the money’s already out the gate for this year.”