Republicans threatening to shut down government over doctored Planned Parenthood videos

Riding a nonexistent wave of public outrage over videos that have been edited to appear to show Planned Parenthood employees discussing how to profit from abortion procedures, Republicans in Congress are aggressively pushing for all federal funding to be pulled from the organization.

And they want Congress to do “everything within its power” to make it happen, including blocking all appropriations and omnibus bills until they have gotten what they want, shutting down the government if necessary.

Of course, defunding Planned Parenthood isn’t as easy as cutting a line from a spending bill. The funding it receives from the federal government comes almost entirely in the form of Medicaid reimbursements that they receive for providing preventative care, i.e. not abortions. So when Republicans say, as John McCain did yesterday, that it’s deeply concerning for the federal government to be financing the fetal tissue donation discussed in the sting videos, he’s deliberately misleading the public. The government already doesn’t fund it.

Also, as Wonkette reminded us today, John McCain and Mitch McConnell — along with 91 other senators — voted to legalize fetal tissue donation research in 1993. So it’s particularly rich for them to be performing outrage over the practice today.

Planned Parenthood, via Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

Planned Parenthood, via Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

But never mind that. A vote has been scheduled for next week on a bill that would cut all federal funds from Planned Parenthood. That vote will fail. Republicans will be honor-bound to continue their quixotic freakout. More votes will be forced. They will all fail. Uber-conservative Republicans — some of whom aren’t even in Congress — will write impassioned emails to their constituents asking them to send $5 to help them continue the fight for the unborn. Many people will send $5. Republicans will keep fighting. And so on.

In other words, get ready for another shutdown fight over a non-issue in what was supposed to be a congressional session in which Republicans proved that they could govern like big kids.

As I wrote when the first Planned Parenthood sting video was released, it’s fairly obvious that Congressional Republicans have coordinated their efforts around the release of the videos to score as many political points as they can. But given how clearly doomed this push to defund the organization is, and how few political points they have scored — the public still opposes pulling federal funding from Planned Parenthood by a wide margin — it’s clear that this is a fundraising issue for the Republicans and nothing more.

But they’re going to play around with the government’s basic functions for a while before they’re done. Because that’s how the big kids govern.

UPDATE: Rand Paul is making a big fundraising push over the defund vote:

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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26 Responses to “Republicans threatening to shut down government over doctored Planned Parenthood videos”

  1. cleos_mom says:

    But NPR does love your $$$$$$$$$.

  2. cleos_mom says:

    Lying For God really should be given a place in the Olympics.

  3. mhandrh says:

    Conservatives must believe that the SCOTUS is in their pocket, and this is the time when they can reverse the Roe v. Wade decision of the past, and make abortions illegal everywhere for any reason.
    Women’s health is simply not important to them, much less the health and welfare of children born with debilitating ailments, or into lives of poverty and malnutrition.

  4. mhandrh says:

    Several eyars ago, the sensationalistic, misrepresented coverage of Akorn resulted in fulfilling the conservatives’ wishes, and Akorn is gone. When the dust settled, neither ACORN nor its employees have been found guilty of, or even charged with, casting fraudulent votes.
    Now it seems the sights have been set on Planned Parenthood, using similar tactics, misrepresentation, riling up public discourse based on false information, and the goal is the same: destroy them.

  5. IsaacLHawk says:

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  6. Indigo says:

    I see that too. ABC is especially prone to repeating propaganda as if it was fact. Even NBC isn’t that lost. It helps to keep in mind that Disney owns ABC. I like David Muir but every time I watch his version of the news, I remind myself that he’s a Disney cast member, not all that different from the kid in the Mickey Mouse costume at DisneyWorld/Land.

  7. Indigo says:

    You’re right to call it class warfare. It’s been raging since Eisenhower was elected, a concession here, a nip there, a tuck somewhere else and finally, Reagan was actual able to push the balance hard enough that the New Deal has fallen apart. We’re already living in a post-New Deal privation, we need to label it loudly so the voting public gets the message. Media spin continues to support the Republican narrative of return to a Libertarian tyranny that never existed outside of the Wild West. Sometimes I suspect the Wild West is largely a fiction of pulp literature and B movies.

  8. MoonDragon says:

    If one limits the categorization to personal behavior (or self identification thereof), one might be correct in saying Americans see themselves as center-right. That they don’t support such policies can be explained by the fact that many people can live their lives in a particular, somewhat conservative manner while not only not wishing to impose that way of life on anyone else, but also supporting the rights of others to live their lives as they please. Not all teatotalers would support a return to prohibition.

  9. Doug105 says:

    Yes, but right now our representative government doesn’t seem very aligned with the views of the people, maybe cause so many can’t be bothered, no longer believe it matters, or fell for the line – their all the same.

    Is it to late? I hope not, but it won’t be fast or easy to get the right people in place. the conservatives played a long game and are winning, maybe class warfare can’t be stopped, but I refuse to give up.

  10. Indigo says:

    It would a whole lot more fun if he proceeded constitutionally with a call for a Constitutional Congress. It was coming together in the Sixties when somebody in a position of busybody authority realized that a Constitutional Congress would have the authority open every can of worms on the shelf. The move was quietly squelched.

  11. ShirleyRManley says:

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  12. emjayay says:

    Could have been the news on NPR.

  13. Doug105 says:

    This one and for now.

  14. Butch1 says:

    Cruz (and his father) would love to change the Constitution. Their religion (Dominion) would love to change it from a Democratic-Republic to a Theocracy. This is one of this cretin’s main ambitions coming to the Senate is writing anti-gay laws.

    This religion is rabidly phobic against gays and Cruz has produced a number of anti-gay bills in the senate along with his constant speeches. Thank goodness no one likes him or will help sponsor a bill with him when it comes to hate. He pretty much goes it alone.

    His religion, which strangely the media hasn’t questioned him about their views about homosexuality and how they are very literal in their interpretation of Leviticus and believe gays should be put to death has been silent. Cruz never mentions this either, though keeping his father’s mouth shut on this will be a huge problem if a good journalist ever finds his spine and decides to question the old man about it. I’m sure Rafael Ted Cruz feels the very same way or he wouldn’t pursue such an aggressive agenda in the Senate.

    If, by chance he were to become president would the bumpkins who voted him into office realize what they have done? Would they comprehend that this man wants to actually change the Constitution; this isn’t rhetoric, he’s tell us right now what he want to do and if they elect him one cannot say they were duped.

    What he would try to do to us is roll back all the progress that has happened; could he do it? Your guess is as good as mine, but if Congress hangs on to a republican House AND a Senate stranger things could occur. Laws can be made and slowly certain rights can diminish over time. What this man wants to do is eventually make homosexuality illegal and if he ever could accomplish that, he could arrest us and accomplish his religious dream revisiting those days Circa 1939 in Germany where we have been before.

    Thankfully, this zealot’s numbers are very low and he is hated by his party and most people in this country. “Never say, never,” but I don’t think we will have to worry about this religious freak of nature.

  15. DGT says:

    I was watching the local (NYC) news the other day and saw how these phony pseudo-scandals can influence public discourse.

    The report said that Republicans were threatening to defund Planned Parenthood over a “controversial” video that “reportedly” shows Planned Parenthood “selling” fetal tissue. This is a complete distortion of what actually transpired, but that’s the description of the debate.

    If you’re a casual viewer, that’s what you know of the situation. And it wasn’t Fox. It was the ABC affiliate.

  16. Betty M. McKinney says:

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  17. Doug105 says:

    Be Afraid.
    Ted Cruz Convenes Hearing On Changing The Constitution

  18. Naja pallida says:

    They have passed that particular ‘law’ as an amendment to dozens of different pieces of legislation. Most of which completely unrelated to health care. Only once have the Democrats ever actually stood up to them on it.

  19. Houndentenor says:

    It’s already illegal for any federal funds to be used for abortion and has been for decades. They’re going to shut down the government to pass a law that already exists? Fuck. They are hell-bent on driving the country off the cliff.

  20. MoonDragon says:

    Toddlers, when denied the object of their desire, whine and throw temper tantrums. They will conflate and confabulate to create a reality in which it is fair and appropriate for them to get their way. Unfortunately, these tactics sometimes work. Screaming hissy fits and lying. Seems like Congressional Republicans are taking a page from the playbooks of people who aren’t potty trained.

  21. Demosthenes says:

    In a news conference held this afternoon, Sen. “Ted” Cruz also threatened to shut the government down unless Congress lowers the import duty on Molson’s Lager, which is his favorite beer from his land of birth (Canada).

    When asked to comment on Sen. Cruz’s latest shutdown threat, Speaker Boehner burped, whipped out and lit a filterless Camel Cigarette, and asked the reporter if he had any whiskey on him.

  22. BeccaM says:

    I think I’m seeing the pattern here:

    – ACORN, a community activist group focused primarily on getting folks registered to vote, especially minorities, is smeared in a deceitful, phony and overtly slanderous video that alleges illegal activities –specifically, fraudulent voter registrations, which aren’t happening at all–resulting in Republicans demanding it be defunded and disbanded.

    – National Public Radio, one of the few remaining non-corporate owned (although sadly increasingly corporate-influenced due to the lack of public funding) media organizations, is smeared in a phony and overtly slanderous video that alleges illegal activities–specifically, accepting donations from controversial Muslim groups, which never happened–resulting in Republicans demanding it be defunded and disbanded.

    – Planned Parenthood, a network of health providers for women, dedicated primarily to helping women who can’t otherwise afford pre-, peri-, and post-natal healthcare and to empower women by enabling them to choose when to become pregnant in the first place, is smeared in a deceitful, phony and overtly slanderous video that alleges illegal activities–specifically, the sale of aborted fetus tissue for profit, which wasn’t happening at all–resulting in Republicans demanding it be defunded and disbanded.

    Republican radical-conservative policies in action, folks: Governing via deceitful propaganda and overtly dishonest demagoguery.

  23. Indigo says:

    When it comes to deceitful practices, the Republicans hold their ground with remarkable ease.

  24. Butch1 says:

    I wonder which book Ted Cruz will read to an empty Senate chamber this time wasting taxpayer dollars? ;-

  25. 2karmanot says:

    Brought to you by the same morons that thought Terry Shivo smiled, blinked her eyes, said her rosary and was ready any day to sing and dance. # Any day now, any way now, I shall be released.

  26. MoonDragon says:

    So it’s actually Republicans are making money off dead babies.

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