Senate leader: Not enough votes to defund Planned Parenthood

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In this Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 photo, Alexa Swiniarski shows her support during a rally at Utah Capitol Rotunda, in Salt Lake City, organized in support to Gov. Gary Herbert's recent decision to remove the state from federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Herbert says his move to block Utah from disbursing federal money to Planned Parenthood won't threaten women's health. Herbert last week ordered the Utah Department of Health to stop passing along about $223,000 in federal money to the Utah arm of the organization for programs like STD testing, sex education and screening for victims of sexual assault. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 photo, Alexa Swiniarski shows her support during a rally at Utah Capitol Rotunda, in Salt Lake City, organized in support to Gov. Gary Herbert’s recent decision to remove the state from federal funding of Planned Parenthood. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

WASHINGTON — The Senate’s top Republican is conceding that his party will have to await the next president before it can cut off federal funds that go to Planned Parenthood.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says Republicans lack the votes to halt the payments. He also says that standing in the GOP’s way is President Barack Obama, who doesn’t leave office until January 2017.

“The way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it, the president has to sign it,” McConnell said in an interview with Kentucky TV station WYMT recorded Monday.

“The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood,” McConnell said. “So that’s another issue that awaits a new president, hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood.”

McConnell spoke a week before Congress returns from a summer recess. Many conservatives say lawmakers should refuse to finance federal agencies, which run out of money on Oct. 1, unless federal funding ofPlanned Parenthood is terminated. This has triggered a political confrontation that could lead to a government shutdown.

Shortly before leaving on its break, the Senate fell six votes short of advancing legislation that would have blocked Planned Parenthood’s federal money. The organization receives over $500 million annually in government money, which includes money from states.

That move was prompted by videos, secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists, showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing their provision of tissue from aborted fetuses to researchers.

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