Election 2016

Republican Candidates Support Shutting Down Government Over Planned Parenthood Funding in GOP Debate


Nearly all the candidates asked about it in tonight's Republican presidential debate declared support for shutting down the federal government over the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. Ohio Gov. John Kasich offered the sole dissenting answer among those who responded—which did not include Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Marco Rubio or, in any substantive way, Donald Trump—suggesting that perhaps a symbolic, do-nothing effort wasn't the sort of hill on which Republicans should even linger. 

"When we shut the government down—if we have a chance at success and it's a great principle, yes," said Kasich. But "the president of the United States is not going to sign this, and all we're gonna do is shut the government down, and then we're gonna open up—open it up, and the American people are gonna shake their heads and say, 'what's the story with these Republicans?' … So I think there is a way to get to cutting off the funding for Planned Parenthood… without having to shut the government down."  

Unsurprisingly, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been leading efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in Congress as part of the current budget process, stuck up for his proposal, saying "I will veto any budget that doesn't fund Planned Parenthood… We need to stop surrendering and start standing."

Cruz was backed by Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. "I defunded Planned Parenthood" in New Jersey, pointed out Christie, "and I've vetoed Planned Parenthood funding eight times." When pressed to say whether he'd shutdown the government over the efforts, Christie said yes.

Jeb Bush, too, pointed out that he had defunded Planned Parenthood as governor of Florida, instead becoming "the only state to fund crisis pregnancy centers with state moneys." Crisis pregnancy centers are religious organiations that offer neither abortion nor women's health care, but do counsel pregnant women not to get abortions. Bush said: "We were totally focused on this. And I would bring that kind of philosophy to Washington, D.C." 

Fiorina said that after calling her "good friend Bibi" and the leader of Iran on her first day in office, she would get to work on defunding Planned Parenthood. She also supports current Republican defunding efforts. "This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, then shame on us!" 

Walker piped up unprovoked to note that he, too, had defunded Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin, and would be also supported Congressional Republicans current efforts. Trump, for his part, added: "I respect women. I will take care of women" before pivoting to Iran and North Korea. 

NEXT: Donald Trump: Rand Paul Shouldn't Even Be Up Here and Boy Is He Ugly

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  1. Who’s going to believe they’d actually cut any government spending.

  2. You know, I used to defend Republicans for playing the abortion card without doing anything really serious to ban abortion, but now I see that what it really is is just another way of distracting low information voters with bullshit. It’s pure rabble-rousing and it allows the candidates to avoid doing any serious discussion of real issues. It’s really no different than Trump and his populist anti-immigrant clap-trap.

    1. Shhhhh…. It’s just like a stage magician. Stop drawing attention to that other hand.

    2. So if they don’t try to end planned parenthood funding they’re pandering, and if they do- they’re pandering?

      Of course ending a useless government program that is in no way covered by the constitution offends some libertarian’s sensibilities because why? It seems like pretty much text book government interference and waste.

    3. That there are people so benighted as to disapprove of selling dead baby giblets is proof enough that this country is ready for Taliban takeover.

    4. You’ve just described all of politics.

    5. Some people might consider the government helping to fund the for-profit dismemberment of living human babies to be more of a “real issue” than,say, reforming the tax code or repealing a few regulations.

      Those people are not GOP politicians, of course, but they do exist.

  3. This exchange was only good at confirming that Trump doesn’t give a shit about Planned Parenthood’s funding or abortion.

  4. Can we defund planned parenthood AND shut down the government?

    1. Or defund the government and shut down Planned Parenthood.

      1. Naw – if Planned Parenthood provides a valuable service then people will be willing to pay for it. It should simply be left to live or die on its own.

        And I’m willing to ‘shut down’ the government to make that happen.

  5. I’d shut the government down for less than that.

    1. Precisely, the government should have been shut down until the president signed a stripped down budget decades ago. This hasn’t happened because the system has failed failed failed.

  6. Cruz probably has some sincere conservative leanings, but they absolutely take a backseat to his ego and ambition. You know what they say about Chuck Schumer, that the most dangerous place in Washington is between him and a camera, well it goes double for Cruz. The main difference is that Schumer is much more skilled at gaining support from his colleagues; he doesn’t just mouth off to get attention like Cruz constantly does.

  7. Republican Candidates Support Shutting Down Government Over Planned Parenthood Funding in GOP Debate

    Good. I wish the Democrats were also willing to ‘shut down’ the government more often to get what they want. I wish the Republicans were willing to ‘shut down’ the government over more issues.

    And the government should not be funding Planned Parenthood – among many, many other things it should not be funding. But you gotta start somewhere.

  8. This is going to be the campaign.

    Democrats and the media are going to ring all the bells that make Republicans foam at the mouth, in hopes of not having to debate about all the things the Democrats really suck on.

    And the Republicans will fall for it.

  9. It’s interesting how this issue is being framed. If they forced Obama to veto a budget (or whatever hodgepodge of spending bills they use nowadays), wouldn’t Obama be the one shutting down the government?

    1. If there is a policy dispute between the executive and the legislature, the branch controlled by the GOP is the one shutting down government. Don’t you know anything?

    2. Nope! The party that funded 99.99% of the government is to blame, not the one vetoing the budget over the last .01%.

    3. Not really. If two sides are trying to honestly make a deal, and one side adds an obvious poison pill, then that person is the one who is considered to have killed the deal because they added something they knew the other side couldn’t/wouldn’t agree to.

      Imagine you’re trying to buy a car and you and the salesman agree on a price. You’re ready to sign, but then the salesman says you can have that price, but now you have to pay 2,000 more for this useless undercoating. You walk away. Who is responsible for killing the deal?

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