House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tells reporters he expects a healthy debate about funding Planned Parenthood, but would not say whether or not Republicans intend to insist on defunding the abortion organization.
The 2-year budget deal was signed by President Obama in October, but Congress has yet to assign the money to federal agencies and programs.
On Monday, a reporter asked McCarthy whether Republicans were still going to put up a fight to strip funding for the group, in the wake of the shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado.
McCarthy said that he is personally against spending tax dollars on Planned Parenthood, but wouldn’t say whether or not Republicans would fight to put a provision in the spending bill that would defund the group.
“I expect there to be a healthy debate on every place the government spends money,” he said. “I do not see a shutdown happening in this process.”
Last month, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that he was open to the idea of attaching a policy provision to the spending bill that would strip funding for Planned Parenthood, but McCarthy said that the focus should now be on the Syrian refugee crisis.
According to Politico, McCarthy told reporters:
“I think security is becoming the top issue that I am hearing, especially in the last two weeks,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said. “Very concerned where the president is and where this country is.”
“I don’t look at the refugee issue as something to get votes for the omnibus” spending bill, he added. “I look at it as safety for America. … I think that bill needs to pass and become law whichever way it can.”
The bill would need President Obama’s signature by December 11, 2015 in order to avoid a government shutdown.