No Matter What SCOTUS Says On Texas Abortion Case, Uncertainty Will Follow

Pro-choice protesters shout across the street to pro-life protesters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court today steps into the national debate about the restrictions state lawmakers can put on abortion clinics, but the two most likely rulings won’t settle the issue nationwide.  

The justices will hear oral arguments in a challenge to a Texas law that regulates the operation of abortion clinics because of what state officials say is a concern for women’s health. The Texas law is similar to those in more than a dozen other states.  

In Death, Scalia May Succeed in Blocking Trump

Social conservatives dare to hope Scalia’s death will sober up those Republicans willing to ignore Trump’s lack of discernible core principles. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Conservatives now have yet another reason to revere Antonin Scalia : In death, he just may keep Donald Trump from becoming the GOP nominee.  

In every presidential election I can remember, both major parties have issued two warnings: This is the most important election of our lifetime. And it will decide the balance of the Supreme Court for decades to come.  

Steve Scalise Defends Planned Parenthood Strategy

Scalise, left, says Republican priorities are reflected in the way his office approached the Planned Parenthood defuding effort. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans were skeptical when their No. 3 leader started talking back in September about using the budget reconciliation process to defund Planned Parenthood, knowing full well it would be vetoed by President Barack Obama. Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., though, still counts it as one of the GOP's biggest victories of the 114th Congress. Ever since the GOP captured the majority in the Senate, Republican lawmakers had been holding out on using the Senate filibuster-proof process until there was a solid plan of attack to dismantle elements of the Affordable Care Act.  

The Planned Parenthood elements muddled that strategy a bit; many Republicans wanted to use the appropriations process to address Planned Parenthood, even though that raised the specter of a government shutdown.  

As San Bernardino Shooting Unfolds, Reid Pushes Guns Measure (Updated)

News outlets were reporting that at least 14 people had been killed in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 10:29 a.m. | Following Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said the Democrats will call for "a few" votes on gun-related amendments to the budget reconciliation bill during Thursday's session.  

Democratic Sens. Charles E. Schumer of New York, Patty Murray of Washington, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut will hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. Thursday to call for the amendments.  

Democrats Call for Abolition of Planned Parenthood Panel

Speier is one of the six Democrats serving on the select committee investigating Planned Parenthood who are calling for and end to the committee. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats appointed to serve on select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood called Tuesday for an end to the panel, arguing that Republican rhetoric incited anger toward the group that led to the Nov. 27 shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.  

Republicans formed the select committee, which falls under the jurisdiction of Energy and Commerce, to investigate whether Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue. Democrats argue the investigation is unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer dollars because three standing congressional committees have found no evidence of wrongdoing and that undercover videos that sparked the investigations were manipulated. The six Democrats on the select committee — Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Diana DeGette of Colorado, Suzan K. DelBene of Washington, Jerrold Nadler of New York, Jackie Speier of California, and Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey — sent a letter to Speaker Paul D. Ryan asking him to disband the panel in the wake of the shooting that killed three people and injured nine others in Colorado Springs.  

Senate GOP Not Deterred on Planned Parenthood, Obamacare

Lee said he was encouraged by the emerging reconciliation measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It's all systems go for the Senate GOP's effort to defund Planned Parenthood and upend the Affordable Care Act.  

Republican senators emerged from a conference meeting Monday evening generally enthused by the effort to gut as much of the health care law as is feasible under the chamber's budget reconciliation rules.  

McCarthy Won't Speculate on Push to Defund Planned Parenthood

McCarthy said he did not support funding Planned Parenthood. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the wake of last week's shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado, one GOP leader faced questions about whether congressional Republicans will continue their push to defund the organization.  

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., did not rule in or out a move to strip the group's funding in the must-pass government spending package. He told reporters during a pen-and-pad briefing Monday there will likely be debate on the subject.  

Shooting Won't Affect Planned Parenthood Defunding Effort

Rubio, left, and Cruz, right, will be on the presidential campaign trail Monday. They, along with Sen. Mike Lee, center, have said they are opposed to a House reconciliation bill. (Photo by Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There's no reason to expect last week's shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility will alter the Senate's effort to block funding to the organization this week.  

Republican leadership had long planned to include language blocking federal Medicaid and family planning dollars from flowing to health care organizations that provide abortions as part of a budget reconciliation package that also curtails the 2010 health care overhaul.  Senior Republican aides said there is no plan to change course.  

Does Obamacare Repeal Have a Senate Path Without the Mandates?

Cruz, Lee and Rubio have previously expressed concerns about a reconciliation bill that doesn't fully repeal Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The search is on for 51 Senate votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, raising questions about whether the House’s attempt to use the budget reconciliation process to do so will succeed.  

Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, both presidential candidates, and Sen. Mike Lee are on record that they “cannot support” a bill that doesn’t “fully repeal” the health care law. The offices of Cruz and Rubio referred CQ Roll Call back to a joint statement from three weeks ago when asked for a response to Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s ruling this week that Obamacare’s employer and individual mandates fail the test for inclusion in a reconciliation bill. The budget reconciliation process is the only filibuster-proof option available to Senate Republicans, who control the chamber with 54 votes. That’s why there is little room to spare if Cruz, Rubio and Lee balk.