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Senate Vote To Keep Government Funded Fails As Shutdown Nears

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought a measure up for a vote Thursday that funded the government but defunded Planned Parenthood. Democrats banded together to block it.

Senate Democrats today blocked a Republican plan to keep the federal government open beyond next week. Their objection was that it also denied federal funds to Planned Parenthood.

With only days left before an Oct. 1 shutdown, the short-term measure that would fund the government through mid-December fell well short of the 60 votes needed advance, 47 to 52.

The vote took place just hours after Pope Francis' speech to a joint meeting of Congress in which he urged lawmakers to come together to solve America's problems.

This outcome was not unexpected.

Democrats had vowed to vote down any measure containing anti-Planned Parenthood language, and President Obama had threatened to veto any such bill.

Conservatives in Congress, notably Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, want to block federal dollars from going to the Planned Parenthood. The organization has been the subject of ongoing controversy since a sting video was released that alleges it profits from the sale of fetal tissue.

So the scramble continues to keep the government funded.

As the Two-Way reported last week, leaders of both parties are not itching for a shutdown. Republicans fear should a shutdown take place, a majority of Americans would saddle them with the blame, as in 2013.

Since Thursday's procedural vote failed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to move to a vote on a "clean" continuing resolution, or CR, that leaves federal funding for Planned Parenthood intact.

As Politico reports:

"McConnell can also box out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) from attempting a filibuster if the GOP leader acts quickly after the failed vote; otherwise Cruz could try to delay McConnell's plans to jam House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) with a do-or-die vote on a clean stopgap spending bill, or continuing resolution. But Senate GOP leadership is confident they can rebuff any Cruz maneuvering."

If the clean CR passes, as is expected, it will then go to the House, where its fate is less certain.

As The Hill reports, House conservatives could once again rally behind Cruz AS they did for the 2013 shutdown.

"Cruz's power on Capitol Hill rests largely with House conservatives, as it did two years ago, because few Senate colleagues are willing to join him in challenging McConnell.

"If enough Republicans in the lower chamber side with Cruz, it could pressure [House Speaker] Boehner not to schedule a vote on a clean Senate-passed stopgap out of fear that it may cost him his gavel."

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