By all accounts, the House committee hearings on Planned Parenthood last week were an abject failure. The Members who were part of the investigatory panel were ill prepared, completely ceded the ground on the video, and wandered aimlessly through the hearings without scoring a single substantive point. Particularly embarrassing was the performance of Members like [mc_name name=’Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001076′ ], who used the hearings to grandstand for themselves instead of conducting any investigation of Planned Parenthood at all.
The House is now considering a resolution to empanel another investigatory committee underneath the auspices of the Energy and Commerce Committee, to give them a second bite at the apple. [mc_name name=’Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B001243′ ] is set to chair this panel, which will be composed of 8 Republicans and 5 Democrats – the 8 Republican members to be chosen by the Speaker. Word on the Hill is that Boehner is allowing McCarthy significant latitude in the composition of this committee as a way to burnish his leadership chops, so all eyes are on McCarthy now to see who he chooses to sit on the committee.
House insiders have indicated to RedState that [mc_name name=’Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’E000291′ ] is angling hard to be on the committee. The reasons for Ellmers’ desire to be on the committee are obvious: Ellmers publicly betrayed the pro-life movement during the embarrassing debacle over the 20-week abortion ban – a bill which enjoyed broad, bipartisan support but which failed due to the political cowardice of Ellmers and others. Ellmers already knows that due to this and a number of other high profile votes, she is likely to face a stiff primary challenge as one of the most high profile faces of Republican Failure Theater.
[mc_name name=’Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’E000291′ ] already had a chance to do something for the pro-life movement, on a bill that’s much more popular than defunding Planned Parenthood, and she blinked. She does not have legitimate interest in defunding Planned Parenthood or taking any actual substantive action against them. What she wants is television commercial material during her upcoming primary campaign.
In other words, allowing Ellmers to participate will to invite another Chaffetz into this hearing – someone who has no interest in using the hearings to actually do or learn anything but rather only to grandstand. We already tried that once and it failed. The public’s tolerance for these hearings is not infinite, and the House already burned their most significant opportunity to land a substantive blow against Planned Parenthood by flubbing the first hearing. They can’t afford to blow another one on a sham attempt by endangered caucus members to shore up support with their base (who knows better anyway).
[mc_name name=’Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’E000291′ ] already had a chance to strike a blow for the pro-life movement, and she struck a blow against it instead. The positions on this panel should instead go to serious members who will be prepared and who will use their time to nail Planned Parenthood down on a position that will expose why they aren’t deserving of Federal funding.
Conservatives in the caucus should be watching McCarthy and encouraging him to keep Ellmers off this panel.