Arizona Congress Members Vote 4-7 to Shut Down Federal Government

Despite four out of 11 Arizona congressional delegates voting to shut down the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding, citizens can take a deep breath knowing that the country narrowly averted that fate — at the very last moment, both houses of Congress passed stopgap spending bills, giving lawmakers a few more months to figure out the budget situation. 

Talk of a federal government shutdown has worried many for months, and until Speaker of the House John Boehner announced his resignation last week, it was unclear whether Republicans would once again hold the government hostage and allow it to shut down like they did for 17 days in 2013.

Much to the chagrin of conservatives, yesterday's bills didn't defund Planned Parenthood, and many have vowed to continue the fight against the organization. (The House of Representatives did pass another bill to cut off all federal dollars to Planned Parenthood, but the Senate is not expected to move it forward.)

In the weeks leading up to Wednesday's vote, our elected officials in Arizona came out on both sides of the issue, and not all ended up voting predictably. 

Here's a breakdown of how our congressional delegates voted:
**A "nay" vote means let the government shut down.

John McCain: yea
Jeff Flake: yea

Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Flagstaff): yea
Martha McSally (R-Tucson): yea
Raúl Grijalva (D-Yuma): yea
Paul Gosar (R-Prescott): nay
Matt Salmon (R-Mesa): nay
David Schweikert (R-Scottsdale): nay
Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix): yea
Trent Franks (R-Glendale): nay
Kyrsten Sinema (D-Tempe-Phoenix): yea

There were three surprising votes, the most obvious being Republican McSally's. But McCain's "yea" vote also was significant because, depending on whom you ask, it might represent another flip-flop.

In the past he's been strongly against any government shutdown, but in an interview with NPR a few weeks ago, he suggested that the controversy over Planned Parenthood might be worth it. McCain's communication director says his words were taken out of context, but the NPR transcript suggests otherwise.

While many, including President Obama, are celebrating Wednesday's vote, those Republicans who voted against it are anything but thrilled.

“Today’s vote lacks the leadership our nation is demanding. Rather than taking a principled stand against arguably illegal activities, the House today surrendered to the demands of Planned Parenthood’s management and took up a continuing resolution that aimed to continue providing funding to an organization under multiple investigations for their potentially illegal abortion practices," Salmon stated.

Perhaps he summed up the situation well when he went on to explain that because the fight over Planned Parenthood funding continues, the threat of a government shutdown is not quite over: "We will again confront this issue in December, and I am hopeful that the House’s new leadership will pay more attention to the will of the American people than their own desire to capitulate."

Though unfortunately for him, every recent poll shows Americans overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood.
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Miriam is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Miriam Wasser