The longest-serving woman in Congress slammed the House Freedom Caucus for their threat to oppose any bill keeping the government open if it includes funding for Planned Parenthood. "If they want to use their usual temper tantrum, they're going to hurt our American people, they're going to hurt our economy, they're going to stick it to our national security after all that," Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said Thursday in a brief interview with CQ Roll Call. "I find it shocking that for people who are for the Freedom Caucus aren't for women having the freedom to choose. ... Freedom for all, not just freedom for a few," she said.
Mikulski said she hopes to avoid a shutdown.
"I hope cooler heads prevail, that we can pass a CR that takes us into Thanksgiving that is a clean CR, that enables us then to negotiate lifting the budget caps," she said.
President Barack Obama has threatened to veto any bill defunding Planned Parenthood, and Senate Republican leaders have repeatedly rejected the idea of risking a shutdown over the issue . That said, leaders didn't want to shut down the government in 2013 either but were bullied into it by a grass-roots groundswell on the right, and the videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of body parts from aborted fetuses has incensed the GOP base.
Talks on a CR, meanwhile, haven't started yet, but Mikulski thinks they'll begin in earnest next week.
"We're trying to stir the pot," she said.
Cornyn Rejects House Freedom Caucus Shutdown Threat Over Planned Parenthood McConnell: Republicans Lack the Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood McConnell Shuts Down Planned Parenthood Shutdown Talk See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.