Senator Ted Cruz has repeatedly accused his colleagues in the Senate of not fighting hard enough to defund Planned Parenthood.

The bill currently funding the government will expire on September 30, and Cruz has asked the other Republican members of the Senate to oppose any further funding bills that allocate money for Planned Parenthood. He’s willing to risk a government shutdown in what he insists is an attempt to ensure that no federal dollars flow to the abortion business; other Republican senators, however—even those who boast an ardently pro-life record—oppose this tactic, saying that it offers no path to victory (with “victory” being the actual defunding of Planned Parenthood.)

Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) recently penned a letter to Senator Cruz, asking him to explain how he plans to move from legislative opposition, to government shutdown, to the end of funding for Planned Parenthood.

More from CBS News:

“Given the challenges and threats we face at home and abroad, I oppose risking a government shutdown, particularly when it appears there is no chance of achieving a successful result,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, wrote to Cruz in a letter first obtained by local television station WMUR. “Nevertheless, as I understand it, you have been circulating a letter to our colleagues asking them to oppose any government funding bill that continues to authorize funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Senate Democrats have repeatedly said they would block any measures defunding Planned Parenthood, and the White House has issued veto threats against it. On Thursday, the Obama administration released a statement saying that the “threats by some Republicans to shut down the government and eliminate access to healthcare for men, women and families across the country is a game of chicken with our economy that we cannot accept.”

Now, it seems even Republicans are turning away from the proposals. In her letter, Ayotte further pressed Cruz on his “strategy to succeed” in gathering support for the measure, expressing skepticism that Republicans have the votes to pass it.

The New Hampshire senator is no supporter of Planned Parenthood. She voted last month to defund the women’s health organization, on a bill that only received 53 votes in the Senate — far short of the 60 votes needed to break the Senate Democrats’ filibuster.

Senator Ayotte’s letter has less to do with the political consequences of pushing for defunding-via-shutdown, and more with the lack of communication between Cruz and his Senate colleagues:

How do we get 60 votes?

And if for some reason there were 60 votes, how do we get 67 votes in the Senate to overcome a Presidential veto?

During the last government shutdown, I repeatedly asked you what your strategy for success was when we did not have the votes to achieve the goal of defunding Obamacare, but I did not receive an answer. I am again asking this question and would appreciate you sharing your strategy for success with all of us before any damaging government shutdown becomes imminent.

Even if we assume for the sake of argument that Ted Cruz is persuasive enough to convince pro-choice Democrats to sign on to a bill that defunds the ultimate poster child of pro-choice America, rhetoric counts for nothing unless it gets us closer to what we want to accomplish—namely the end of Planned Parenthood’s butchery-for-profit scheme. Cruz has no reason to hide the ball here. Republicans are behind him in principle—they just want to know how he plans on reaching the end zone he so adamantly insists is just within reach.

Kelly Ayotte is Ted Cruz’s colleague, and she’s asking him for his game plan.

This is a fair request. Cruz should respond to it.

You can read Sen. Ayotte’s full letter here.

Follow Amy on Twitter @ThatAmyMiller


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.