WASHINGTON -- Conservatives in and out of Congress have argued this past week for Republicans to shut down the government if the next funding bill includes money for Planned Parenthood. Early signs suggest that top officials aren’t taking the bait.
On Sunday, presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky.) balked at the idea of a government shutdown showdown over the embattled women’s health group.
"I support any legislation that will defund Planned Parenthood. But I don't think you start out with your objective to shut down government," Paul told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."
The remarks takes a bit of wind out of the sails of social conservatives. A small but vocal number of Republican lawmakers wrote their party’s leadership last week demanding that taxpayer money no longer go to Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, Redstate.com’s editor in chief, Erick Erickson, promised to press every presidential candidate on that issue during a forum he’s hosting this coming week.
Considering the intense criticism coming Planned Parenthood’s way after videos emerged showing doctors there cavalierly discussing the donation of post-abortion fetal tissues, the specter of a shutdown grew. It seemed real enough to petrify other conservative commentators who aren’t particularly excited about rolling the dice with government funding, even for this high-profile issue.