When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used a parliamentary trick Sunday to block efforts to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and keep illegal alien criminals off the streets, he showed why conservative Republicans are so fed up with the party’s leadership.
And why presidential contenders like Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are resonating with the GOP base.
During a rare Sunday session to deal with a must-pass Highway Bill, McConnell, R-Ky., blocked an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, which was the target of an undercover sting that revealed that the abortion giant was also in the business of selling the internal organs of aborted babies.
In addition to corporate and private donations, Planned Parenthood receives over a half-billion dollars in federal taxpayer funds each year, according to The Daily Caller.
Although McConnell previously claimed to have wanted to defund the organization, he blocked the amendment that would have done so.
The majority leader did agree to fast track a stand-alone bill to defund Planned Parenthood, but that would have made it subject to filibuster by Democrats. It takes 60 votes to break a filibuster, something the GOP doesn’t have. An amendment only requires 50 votes for inclusion.
Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, tweeted:
Mitch McConnell’s once again engaging in his favorite Senate pastime: kabuki theater. PP defunding would’ve passed via amdt to highway bill.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) July 26, 2015
So what does his silly standalone PP defunding bill accomplish? Nothing. It won’t pass. It needs 60. As an amdt it only needed a majority.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) July 26, 2015
The second amendment to the Highway Bill that McConnell blocked would have enacted “Kate’s Law,” named after Kate Steinle, the woman who was shot and killed in San Francisco on July 1 by an illegal immigrant who’d been deported five times and had seven felony convictions.
Kate’s Law was originally proposed by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, and would have imposed a mandatory five-year prison term on any illegal alien convicted of a violent felony if they’d been previously deported.
McConnell Blocks Amdts for Kate’s Law, Defund PP; McCain blocks amdt arming Marines in recruiting posts. Why’s Trump resonating w/voters?
— Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) July 26, 2015
To block both amendments, McConnell used a procedure called “Filling the Tree,” in which the number of amendments to a bill are limited by the majority leader, who fills that number with his own pet amendments.
This was a tactic used by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the previous majority leader, and flat-out criticized by Republicans, who vowed to return the Senate “normal order” if they took control.
On Friday, Texas Sen. Cruz gave a fiery speech on the Senate floor accusing McConnell’s Republican leadership of being no different from Reid’s Democrat disaster.
On Sunday, it looked like he was right.
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