Two of those Republicans, Rand Paul and Tom Cotton, opposed the bill not because of its Planned Parenthood provisions but because it didn’t meet their priorities on other government spending. Paul voted no because it would lead to another $400 billion in debt; Cotton opposed it because spending on defense wasn’t high enough to suit him.

I haven’t seen explanations from the other six but five of them are among the most centrist members of the caucus. (Ben Sasse is an exception.) Did they take issue with some element of spending too, or was this in fact a vote to protect Planned Parenthood?

The vote divided Republicans, with eight of them breaking ranks. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Susan Collins (Maine), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Dean Heller (Nev.) Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ben Sasse (Neb.) all voted against moving forward…

After the vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed a new short-term spending bill that would fund the government and Planned Parenthood…

[Sen/ Ted] Cruz could try to force weekend work by objecting to a request to adjourn on Friday, but he could be rebuffed by a majority vote…

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), questioned as to whether the Senate would work this weekend, said “no.” Asked if he was sure, he replied, “yeah, I’m pretty sure.”

Ayotte and Collins both said recently that they didn’t want to waste time on a defunding bill that had no hope of passing, but that doesn’t explain why they voted no once they were forced to take a position. Maybe … this explains it?

pp

Not only does a plurality not want to defund Planned Parenthood, but nearly as many people would support a shutdown to protect funding for PP as would support one to defund it. Then again, just 48 percent of the people polled say they’ve seen any of the sting videos. What would the defunding numbers look like if, say, 75 percent had?

The next stop in the Senate now is a clean spending bill without the Planned Parenthood provisions. Ted Cruz may try to block that but passage is a fait accompli. Then it’s over to the House where Boehner will do … what? His Speakership is on the line if he caves too soon, so maybe it’s time for hardball:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to announce Friday morning in a closed meeting that the House will ramp up its oversight of Planned Parenthood, and immediately begin drafting a budget reconciliation bill that would strip the group of its government funding. That bill will only need 51 votes to pass the Senate, and is likely to reach President Barack Obama’s desk. He is expected to veto it. Furthermore, Boehner (R-Ohio) and the GOP leadership will announce additional votes on anti-abortion legislation…

Boehner huddled Thursday afternoon with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who leads the Freedom Caucus, and Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), Reid Ribble (R-Wis.). and Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), all members of the conservative group. Upon leaving, none of them would commit to trying to overthrow Boehner. But the Freedom Caucus held two private meetings today, according to a source.

Let me ask a question that I can’t believe I need to ask: Does McConnell have even 51 votes to defund Planned Parenthood? He didn’t today, but maybe that’s because Ayotte and Collins meant it when they said they didn’t want to bother with show votes on a bill that was doomed to be filibustered by Democrats. If McConnell uses reconciliation, there’s no filibuster; Ayotte’s and Collins’s votes will be crucial to forming a majority. I’m assuming they’ll fall in line just because, even for the Senate GOP fail caucus, it’s unthinkable that they’d crap the bed by not getting a simple majority to put this bill on Obama’s desk. Right?

Update: Ben Sasse’s statement:

“I reject more Washington false choices and empty gestures. Nebraskans know this city isn’t serious. They did not send me here to participate in kabuki theater. They sent me here to bring conservative values and common sense to a broken city. Washington’s false choice between ‘fund it all’ or ‘shut the government down’ is nonsense. This city stumbles from crisis to crisis by short-term budgeting. And that’s no way to run a bait shop—let alone the federal government. I am committed to defunding Planned Parenthood and restoring Congress’ constitutional power of the purse through a real debate about how we prioritize the federal government’s most important duties. It’s way past time we consider individual appropriations bills and have a serious conversation with the American people.”