GOP primary contenders Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) skipped a critical cloture vote that allowed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to fund the government, including Planned Parenthood, to move forward without risking a shutdown.
That means Rubio and Graham, for whatever reason, skipped a key vote that would have shown where their allegiances lie regarding funding for the highly controversial abortion provider, which, based on recent undercover video investigations, is in the business of selling aborted baby body parts to the highest bidder.
The vote succeeded 77 to 19 without Rubio or Graham’s help, thanks to every Democrat in the U.S. Senate voting for McConnell’s Continuing Resolution (CR). But Rubio and Graham skipped the vote that matters; cloture is the only place where McConnell and his allies in the Democratic conference could be stopped. So both can claim on the presidential campaign trail how pro-life they are all they want, but when push came to shove–when the pro-life community needed them most–they were not there.
Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY), on the other hand, were present and voted “no.” Cruz did so with extraordinary criticisms of GOP leadership, including McConnell.
“Notice how much energy Majority Leader McConnell devotes to attacking conservatives? Notice how much energy Speaker Boehner devotes to attacking conservatives?” Cruz said on the Senate floor on Monday evening in a scathing speech about leadership, in which he accused McConnell and Boehner of cutting a deal with the Democrats–about the worst possible thing they could have done.
Earlier this month, Rubio stressed that it is the Democrats who are threatening to shut down the government if Planned Parenthood, a private organization, is not funded. “No one can tell me that Planned Parenthood–funding Planned Parenthood as an organization is such a high priority that we have to do it, otherwise we won’t fund government,” he said. “That’s absurd.”
At this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, Rubio painted a rosy picture of the future for conservatives, instead of dealing with the fight right before them.
“By the year 2020, I hope we will be able to say that abortions after 20 weeks are illegal, that no taxpayer money is used to fund abortions here or abroad, and that Planned Parenthood doesn’t receive a penny from the federal government,” he said.
But the U.S. Senate voted 77 to 19 on the cloture vote, which ended debate and allowed McConnell’s plan to move ahead. The vote has a 60-vote threshold, so if 41 Republican senators had voted against cloture, they would have derailed McConnell’s efforts to fund Planned Parenthood. Maybe if Rubio had not disappeared from the Senate–and had actually voted–he might have been able to convince his colleagues to oppose McConnell’s efforts. Unless Rubio, of course, is only saying he wants to do those things to rile up the conservative base with no intention of ever actually doing them. It would not be the first time Rubio publicly claims he’s a conservative when he’s really just a supporter of everything the GOP leadership wants him to support–like McConnell got him to do when it came to the “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill.
Rubio, who attempted to seize the moment when he announced House Speaker John Boehner’s forthcoming resignation to the room of Values Voter Summit conservatives by pushing for new leadership in the Republican Party, has not really supported new leadership in the GOP. He backed Boehner right up until the second Boehner resigned, and even though there are beginnings of a push to remove McConnell as Majority Leader due to his utter failure to lead, Rubio is supporting McConnell’s remaining there.
“I’m not calling for anyone to resign,” he said when asked if he backs McConnell, according to The Washington Post.
Rubio was one of four senators who did not participate in the cloture vote on the CR. The only other presidential candidate who did not vote was Graham. The other two who did not vote were Bob Corker (R-TN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).
Rubio’s horrendous attendance record—he has the worst voting attendance record in the entire U.S. Senate—has come under fire from 2016 GOP frontrunner billionaire Donald Trump.
“I think he’s a man who doesn’t show up to Congress to vote, to the Senate to vote,” Trump said in a recent exclusive interview with Breitbart News, which aired on Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM Patriot this weekend. He added:
When you’re a member of the Senate, when you’re elected to the Senate, you’re supposed to show up to vote. He’s got the worst voting record in all of the Senate by far. That means he’s either a not hard worker or he’s maybe even something worse than that. But what you’re supposed to do if you’re elected, you’re supposed to be voting. There’s no excuses for that.