Updated 7:32 p.m. | A working group of Republican senators has reached a deal on the details of a bill to stop funding Planned Parenthood that will get a vote before the August recess.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell began the procedural gears to bring that bill directly to the floor just before the Senate adjourned Wednesday.
“The horrendous videos of senior executives from Planned Parenthood discussing in callous tones and shocking detail their role in a national scandal requires a congressional response. Our constituents demand it; the unborn deserve it," the Kentucky Republican said in a statement. "This legislation would ensure taxpayer dollars for women’s health are actually spent on women’s health — not a scandal-plagued political lobbying giant."
Reid to GOP: 'Good Luck' on Measure to Defund Planned Parenthood
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa is leading the Republican Conference's effort on this legislation.
Coming out of a meeting of the group earlier Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who pushed for the amendment to be attached to the highway bill, said he expected to see a bill quickly.
"We’re all very close and all of the staffs have been working together to come up with a consensus agreement and I think you’ll have it pretty soon," Paul said.
Paul, who spoke earlier at a rally, said the bill's details were still being worked out and questioned both the legality of the nature of the organ harvesting as well as the morality, noting that this was a "good debate to have." Planned Parenthood has been under fire in particular since a video was released weeks ago of an executive of the organization discussing harvesting fetal organs over a meal.
The working group led by Ernst includes members of Republican leadership and Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; and Paul.
Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., earlier in the day hinted that Democrats would not support any measure to defund Planned Parenthood, saying the plan was an "attack on women's health."
"We're dealing with the health of American women, and they're dealing with some right wing crazy deal," Reid said.
When asked about different proposals being floated, including one that would divert money from Planned Parenthood to other groups that offer similar women's services besides abortion, Reid said "Good luck with that."
Senate Will Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood Before Recess