MUST READ: Ranking Member Elijah Cummings Pens Op-Ed on House GOP’s War on Women

Oct 1, 2015
Press Release
The House GOP’s War on Women

MUST READ: Ranking Member Elijah Cummings Pens Op-Ed on House GOP’s War on Women


Washington D.C. (Oct. 1, 2015)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Select Committee on Benghazi, penned the following op-ed in Politico.

The House GOP’s War on Women

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings


As the top ranking Democrat on both the Benghazi and Oversight committees in the House of Representatives, I have a front row seat to watch House Republicans push their highest priorities.

Right now, the top two goals for Republicans are to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign to become the nation’s first woman president and to attack and defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides critical healthcare services to millions of women across the country.

My assessment is based not only on Republicans’ statements, but also on their actions, and particularly the way in which they are structuring and paying for these efforts in the House.

On both issues, House Republicans have taken, or may soon take, the extremely rare step of creating a special “select committee” to focus on these issues over all others. They are devoting millions of extra taxpayer dollars and hundreds of thousands of additional staff hours to these two issues alone.

This week, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who may become the next Speaker of the House, admitted that the true goal of the Benghazi Select Committee was always to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President. This is what he said:

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.”

This was his example of the Republican “strategy to fight and win.”

He did not mention the four Americans killed in service of their country, raise any questions that were not answered by multiple previous investigations or offer any concrete proposals to enhance security for our diplomats overseas.

His stunning confession revealed the truth that Republicans never dared admit in public—that their core goal in establishing the Benghazi Committee was to use taxpayer funds for a political campaign against Hillary Clinton.

The Benghazi Committee has now spent more than $4.5 million in one of the longest and least productive congressional investigations in history. It has held no hearings of any kind since January, and Republicans have completely abandoned their plans to hear public testimony from top defense and intelligence officials so they can focus almost exclusively on Hillary Clinton.

Now House Republicans want to use this same model to attack the Constitutional rights of women—rights which have been affirmed by the Supreme Court—to determine their own healthcare decisions in consultation with their doctors.

Republicans have threatened to shut down the government, they have ousted their own House speaker and now they want to set up a new select committee to attack Planned Parenthood.

This week, Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood, testified before the Oversight Committee. She had already provided tens of thousands of pages of documents, so even Republicans had to admit that she has been extremely cooperative. Ms. Richards came armed with the facts, she was assertive and strong in her defense of the rights of women, and she was compelling.

She explained the critical services—such as breast exams, pap tests, cancer screenings, and contraceptive services—that Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country provide to millions of women who are often uninsured, poor, or living in medically underserved areas. She also highlighted the fact that, after four congressional hearings by three standing House committees, Republicans have failed to identify any credible evidence to support their repeated claims that Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue for profit in violation of federal law.

Tellingly, Republicans refused to invite David Daleiden, the radical extremist whose group engaged in a host of potentially illegal activities during his failed three-year crusade of deception to try to entrap Planned Parenthood. (Daleiden’s lawyers have indicated in separate litigation that he plans to take the Fifth.)

Recognizing this failure, Republicans changed course during the hearing and actually tried to attack Ms. Richards’ salary, as if it were somehow inappropriate for a woman who leads a renowned national organization to make six figures.

After Ms. Richards’ stellar testimony, Republicans may be second-guessing their plans because they postponed the vote to set up the new select committee. (Or maybe they are just reading the latest polls showing that Americans support funding for Planned Parenthood by more than 2 to 1.)

While Republicans are considering their next steps, I offer this suggestion: existing House committees should do their jobs. Republicans should join Democrats to investigate issues that actually need attention, such as the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.

According to a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 70 percent of Americans believe prescription drug prices are unreasonably high, and this has become the number one healthcare issue even among Republican voters. Although I have tried repeatedly to get House Republicans to join me on this issue, they have refused every time.

Focusing on issues that make a difference to hundreds of millions of Americans would be much more helpful—and appropriate—than continuing to squander millions of taxpayer dollars on Republican political campaigns to attack the interests and rights of women.

Related:   BREAKING: Oversight Committee Chairman Admits on National Television He Has No Evidence Planned Parenthood Violated Any Laws


114th Congress