A looming debate over defunding Planned Parenthood may reignite the threat of a government shutdown
Oct. 1 — and GOP presidential contenders in the Senate reportedly could lead the charge.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz,
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham
are all backers of defunding the abortion and healthcare provider.
reports there's expectations Cruz — a major player in the 2013 government shutdown — and Paul will be pushing hardest when talks on the government funding bill come up this month.
"There's real potential for fireworks in the Senate in September," Matt Mackowiak, a GOP strategist and president of Potomac Strategy Group, tells The Hill.
"I expect Cruz and Rand, particularly, to use this fight to collect as much data as possible and to earn as much media as possible. I wouldn't be surprised to see microsites launched and email addresses collected and small dollar donations raised."
GOP leaders want to approve a short-term funding resolution, but conservatives are demanding all federal money for Planned Parenthood be slashed from the legislation — despite the risk of getting blamed for shutting down the government, The Hill reports.
"We've done this now with immigration and we've done it with Obamacare, so we know how it plays out," John Feehery, president of QGA Public Affairs who also served as the top spokesman to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), tells The Hill.
"It's still a headache because there's a lot of pressure put on both [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell and [House Speaker John] Boehner from the Ted Cruz fundraising machine."
The GOP contenders in the Senate have been firm on the issue
, with Paul and Rubio suggesting President Barack Obama
and the Democrats would be to blame if there was a shutdown.
Cruz has called it "nonsense"
that the GOP was to blame.
Graham says he supports defunding Planned Parenthood, but warns a shutdown would jeopardize national security.
"Even if Democrats are the reason the government shuts down for a day or two, it's a Republican Congress," Steve Bell, senior director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, tells The Hill. "They will get blamed and the president has the bully pulpit."
Though Boehner wants investigations
into Planned Parenthood completed before deciding on a defunding bill, The Hill reports GOP aides say the leadership has promised a vote when lawmakers return.
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