Today while the Senate votes to defund Planned Parenthood and send the money to Federally Qualified Health Centers, Senator Lindsey Graham, who sponsored the 20-week abortion ban in the Senate, won’t be there (R-SC). Graham along with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), who is also the sponsor of the bill to defund the abortion giant, Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) are all running for president and will be at the Voters First Presidential Forum in New Hampshire.
The forum clashes with the vote, since the vote will not be moved to take place on another day.
The National Review reports that Senators Paul, Cruz and Rubio have committed to still voting remotely, while Graham has not done so.
At that time, the four Republican senators who are running for president were expected to be in New Hampshire for the Voters First Presidential Forum hosted by the New Hampshire Union Leader, set to take place from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M. on Monday, which put the senators who are also presidential candidates in a bind. The campaigns pressed Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to move the vote, but he declined. As a result, I’m told that Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul will participate in the forum remotely from C-SPAN’s Washington, D.C. studio.
A spokeswoman for Lindsey Graham says the senator will be in New Hampshire for the event. According to McConnell spokesman Don Stewart, the vote was scheduled when it was because McConnell filed cloture on the motion to proceed as soon as the bill was available for consideration, and the vote was scheduled as soon as it was available. “Under the regular order/Rule 22, that vote happens on Monday,” Steward says. ”Votes on Monday are at 5:30 every week.” He says moving the vote would require unanimous consent from Democrats, who “aren’t cooperating.” Regardless, the fracas sends a message to the candidates, some of whom have played a key role in sustaining the conversation about Planned Parenthood on a national level, that the Senate will not bend to accommodate their campaign schedules.
Reporting on Monday from LifeNews.com about Graham skipping the vote mentions that pro-life leaders and groups are calling on Graham, saying that he is needed for the vote. Shown is a tweet from Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America.
Graham had also said recently on “The Steve Malzberg Show” that Planned Parenthood could not be defunded with Barack Obama in the White House, even with a majority, since Obama would veto it and also mentioned:
I don’t want to tell people on your show that we have the votes to defund Planned Parenthood because you’d have to override the presidential veto. Do you think Obama would veto a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood?
Despite the points that Graham makes, his decision on the vote may still be noticed by pro-life voters. As LifeNews.com mentions:
There is no doubt that Graham is pro-life — he is the prime sponsor of the Pain Capable bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks and was the lead sponsor of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act to protect women and unborn children killed in violent crimes and provide for justice for both victims. Although he holds a 100% pro-life voting record, his record will be tarnished somewhat by his non-attendance.
Regardless of the outcome of the vote today, Graham’s presence would have been reassuring to those closely watching the vote in hopes to see Planned Parenthood defunded.
As Newsmax reports, Graham is currently polling with less than 1 percent among the GOP presidential candidates.