This was never going to go anywhere in the Senate:
“WASHINGTON — The Senate blocked a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, 51-46, Monday afternoon. But that wasn’t the point.
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would have liked to see the bill pass he knew the bill wasn’t likely to get the 60 votes needed. Yet he brought up the bill anyway to make vulnerable Democrats take a position.
“This afternoon, every one of us will go on record on the issue,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday ahead of the vote. “I hope that our Democratic colleagues will not obstruct the Senate from taking up this bill.”
More than half of the Senate’s Democrats and independents are up for re-election this year; 10 of them are in states President Trump won and many of those have some version of the 20-week ban already passed at the state level.
“Vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year like Sens. Claire McCaskill, Sherrod Brown, and Heidi Heitkamp, ought to vote in line with their constituents and support this compassionate bill,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, who is president of the anti-abortion advocacy organization Susan B. Anthony List said Monday morning. “Voting to keep the brutality of late-term abortion legal isn’t just morally abhorrent, it defies national consensus and is a major political liability.” …”
That was the whole point of bringing it to the floor.
The goal was to hold a cloture vote on the 20 week abortion ban. Every Republican would vote for it along party lines. It would fail because moderate Democrats from Red States opposed it. Then the Republicans could run against the Democrats in the 2018 midterms with their ‘pro-life’ credentials intact. Lucy will have pulled the football away from Charlie Brown again.
Is it smart politics? Sure, but it illustrates what the Senate has become, which effectively requires 60 votes to pass anything of consequence because of political polarization and the filibuster. In order for a party to govern and pass its agenda, it needs the White House, House of Representatives and a supermajority in the Senate, which is an alignment that almost never happens. Even if the Republicans managed to somehow get the 60 votes necessary, it could always be torpedoed by a single handwringing cuck.
The only way to pass major legislation without 60 votes is through budget reconciliation. This is a trick that can only be used once a year. It was used in 2017 to push through the tax cuts.
UPDATE: President Trump has released a statement:
“Recently, when I addressed the 45th annual March for Life, I called on the Senate to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, important legislation that would protect our most vulnerable. It is disappointing that despite support from a bipartisan majority of U.S. Senators, this bill was blocked from further consideration. Scientific studies have demonstrated that babies in the womb feel pain at twenty weeks. The vote by the Senate rejects scientific fact and puts the United States out of the mainstream in the family of nations, in which only 7 out of 198 nations, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. We must defend those who cannot defend themselves. I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and pass legislation that will celebrate, cherish, and protect life.”
Here is the speech at the 2018 March for Life: