In his first major interview since announcing his pending resignation, House Speaker John A. Boehner vowed Sunday that there will be no government shutdown at the end of the month — adding that he will impanel a select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood after "undercover" videos renewed outrage among conservatives about government funding for the women's health provider.
"The Senate is expected to pass a continuing resolution next week," Boehner told "Face the Nation" moderator John Dickerson. "We'll also take up a select committee to investigate these horrific videos that we've seen from abortion clinics that we've seen in several states."
House Democrats and Planned Parenthood were quick to decry the formation of the new select committee.
"House Republicans already have three standing committees with subpoena power conducting one-sided, biased attacks against Planned Parenthood, so it is unclear why they need a fourth," Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement provided to The Washington Post on Sunday. "House Republicans either have no confidence in their sitting chairmen, or they are willing to waste millions of taxpayer dollars just to placate extremists within their own party.”
In a statement on Sunday, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the move to impanel a select committee a "five-ring circus."
"We will, of course, cooperate with any fact-finding inquiry —even though these investigations are all based on false and discredited claims, without a shred of evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood," Laguens said. "This is really an attempt of to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. It's an assault on every woman whose breast cancer was caught early because of Planned Parenthood and every woman who has made her own decision about whether and when to have a child."
Earlier this year, anti-abortion activists released secret video recordings of conversations with Planned Parenthood officials about the use of fetal tissue for medical research. The recordings of the frank conversations outraged many who oppose legalized abortion, who said the videos raised new questions about whether Planned Parenthood was profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.
In light of the videos, many Republicans have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, and a group of conservative lawmakers said they would refuse to vote for any spending bill that included funding for the organization. Those vows stirred speculation that the government could shut down temporarily over the funding disagreement, but Boehner's announcement that he will resign from Congress is widely expected to have limited the chances of a shutdown.
"The commitment has been made that there will not be any way that a shutdown will occur,” Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) told The Post last week.
The announcement of a select committee was first made on Friday by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), prompting immediate scorn from House Democrats.
“House Republicans are planning yet another taxpayer-funded Select Committee to burn more of the millions of taxpayer dollars they’ve already spent playing politics — this time with the goal of taking lifesaving preventative care away from millions of American women," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement on Saturday. "Make no mistake: House Republicans have renewed their war on women's health. With this Committee, Republicans are trying to make it easier to shut down the government and harder for millions of women to access the lifesaving health care they need. Hard-working families deserve better than a taxpayer-funded Republican Committee fixated on dismantling women’s health.”