House GOP, Planned Parenthood Chief to Face Off Over Undercover Videos

Cecile Richards is set to testify before a House committee today.

ByABC News
September 29, 2015, 12:01 AM

— -- House conservatives aren't expected to force a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding this week, but they are gearing up for a public face off with the organization and its president, Cecile Richards.

Richards is set to appear on Capitol Hill today to testify before the House Oversight Committee.

The hearing is the latest episode of what Republicans promise will be a sustained campaign to investigate the organization and its practices.

Richards is expected to aggressively defend her organization according to written testimony she submitted to the Oversight Committee, which ABC News obtained. She is particularly critical of David Daleiden, whose group, the Center for Medical Progress, has released a series of undercover videos allegedly showing employees of the group discussing the distribution and sale of fetal tissue.

In her testimony, Richards calls Daleiden and his colleagues' actions "outrageous."

"They sought to infiltrate Planned Parenthood affiliates and tried unsuccessfully to entrap Planned Parenthood physicians and staff for nearly three years. It is clear they acted fraudulently and unethically -- and perhaps illegally. Yet it is Planned Parenthood, not Mr. Daleiden, that is currently subject to four separate congressional investigations," she wrote in her testimony to be delivered today.

Richards also notes that the organization serves 2.7 million women across the country. Planned Parenthood also contends that only 3 percent of its overall services go to abortions.

House Republicans' last hopes to defund Planned Parenthood through a short-term government funding bill were dashed when House Speaker John Boehner announced on Friday that he was stepping down as speaker at the end of October, and soon after said he would work with Democrats to get a clean funding bill -- without the Planned Parenthood defunding -- passed that did not rely on Republican votes.

But stepped-up investigations of Planned Parenthood -- including a possible new House select committee focused on the group -- are just one of the tactics Republicans in both congressional chambers are pursuing now that the government funding strategy has failed.

The GOP is also planning to vote on additional anti-abortion legislation, including a bill authored by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin, that would allow states to withhold Medicaid funding from health care providers that conduct abortions.

And House and Senate Republicans have both signaled that they will use the budgetary process known as reconciliation, which speeds up consideration of some tax and spending bills by lowering the bar for passage to a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate, assuming it passes muster with parliamentarians who must certify that the bill is primarily focused on budgetary matters.

Such a bill would be destined for a presidential veto, but conservatives could call it a symbolic victory by forcing President Obama to use his veto pen and defend the organization's work.