Planned Parenthood Opponents Talk Government Shutdown After Bill Fails : It's All Politics An effort to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding failed in the Senate on Monday, but the fight isn't over. That was only the opening volley in a larger funding battle to play out in September.

Planned Parenthood Opponents Talk Government Shutdown After Bill Fails

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The uproar over sting videos alleging Planned Parenthood illegally profits from selling aborted fetal tissue has only just begun on Capitol Hill. That bill, the one Don just mentioned, blocking all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, failed in the Senate. But opponents of the group remain undeterred. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, yesterday's vote is only the opening volley in a larger funding battle.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: It takes a special kind of issue to make threats of a government shutdown even halfway credible on Capitol Hill. Not just any controversy will fly. Genuine government shutdown potential requires an intensely emotional issue, something that is an ideological litmus test.

JAMES LANKFORD: This is not about Cecil the lion. This is not about whales at Sea World. This is about children.

CHANG: That was Republican James Lankford of Oklahoma, who helped push a bill to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood. It failed yesterday, but it was simply Act One for even bigger drama coming in September. That's when government funding expires, and a chorus of Republicans have already vowed to reject any funding measure that contains money for Planned Parenthood. Here's presidential candidate Ted Cruz of Texas.

TED CRUZ: We should use any and every procedural means we have available to end funding for Planned Parenthood.

CHANG: And if that means a government shutdown, then Republican John McCain of Arizona says so be it.

JOHN MCCAIN: I don't like a government shutdown, but this is a clear case of a totally improper use of taxpayers' dollars. I have an obligation to the taxpayers of Arizona.

CHANG: McCain had scolded his Republican colleagues in 2013 for shutting down the government over the Affordable Care Act. And then he told them to ditch shutting down the Department of Homeland Security over the president's executive action on immigration. But McCain says this issue is different, and Democrats would be unwise to block their efforts.

MCCAIN: They want to stand before the American people and say that they support this practice of dismembering unborn children, then that's their privilege.

CHANG: But Democrats who say they're concerned about the videos, too, are perplexed at the Republican strategy. They point out Planned Parenthood is already banned from using federal money for abortions, except in rare cases. And Claire McCaskill of Missouri says defunding a group that provides contraceptives will only increase abortions.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL: If I want to reduce abortions, which we all ought to agree on, the dumbest thing we could do is cut off access to birth control. And that's exactly what the Republicans are trying to do.

CHANG: Other Democrats seem to be taunting their Republican colleagues to try shutting down the government again. Go ahead, Chuck Schumer of New York says. Voters remember 2013 all too clearly.

CHUCK SCHUMER: Have Republicans learned nothing? They tried to do this over ACA and had to walk away weeks later with their tail between their legs. Ted Cruz said follow me, and they followed him for three weeks until they got to the very edge of the cliff. Are they going to do that again?

CHANG: Republicans will have the month-long August recess to mull that over. Ailsa Chang, NPR News, the Capitol.

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