Democratic Washington Senator Patty Murray visited a Planned Parenthood clinic in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood on Friday. She said she’s worried that Republican attempts to de-fund the organization will lead to a government shutdown.
Meanwhile her challenger said Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C. share the blame for the lack of a budget.
Murray said she remembers the government shutdown two years ago and has no desire to repeat it. The spending plan she negotiated that year with Rep. Paul Ryan expires at the end of September.
"We have a responsibility now to negotiate another budget agreement without threats of government shutdowns and more artificially created crises that just leaves everyone with uncertainty and the thinking that no one can work their way out of a paper bag in Washington, D.C.,” Murray said.
Murray said she will also fight any effort to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Some Republicans are seeking that in the wake of videos discussing the group’s use of aborted fetuses in research.
"We aren’t going to let Republicans use the budget process to jam an extreme policy through,” she said.
Chris Vance, former chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, who is challenging Murray in 2016, said the Planned Parenthood issue is a distraction. “I think Senator Murray and I would both agree that the government should not be shut down over Planned Parenthood," Vance said.
Vance said his real difference with Murray is over spending. “One of the reasons we are where we are is because Patty Murray and the Democratic leadership has been filibustering all the appropriations bills because they are demanding that we increase spending by another $40 billion, money we don’t have," he said.
Vance says Murray’s budget agreement with Ryan was a “stopgap" and he supports a budget that makes broader changes to entitlements and the tax code as well as spending.