WASHINGTON — A top congressional Republican defended a House probe of Planned Parenthood for providing fetal tissue to researchers and gave no indication Monday that last week's fatal shootings at one of the group's Colorado clinics will affect that investigation.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters that a special committee GOP leaders created to investigate Planned Parenthood includes Democratic members and is "where all pieces of information can come forward. We'll see how that plays out."
Democrats have said they are participating in that panel to be in a position to defend Planned Parenthood.
McCarthy also contested remarks by Planned Parenthood defenders that harsh language by the group's critics helped create a hostile political environment that could encourage people to react violently against the organization.
"This individual, this shooting, the thing that drove him most is he's an evil, crazy man," McCarthy said.
Robert Lewis Dear, described by acquaintances as a loner, is accused of killing three people in an hourslong attack on a clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Friday. A law enforcement official said Dear told authorities "no more baby parts" after being arrested, an apparent reference to secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing tissue donations that have caused an uproar among Republicans in Congress and with abortion opponents nationally.
McCarthy said he does not expect a federal shutdown this year over Planned Parenthood.
While saying he personally supports halting Planned Parenthood's federal funding, he did not answer directly when asked if he favored using a must-pass bill to try halting the group's federal payments and said, "I do not see a shutdown happening in this process."
President Barack Obama would veto a spending bill if it blocks Planned Parenthood's money, which would result in federal agencies closing down. Some conservatives have said they'd support such a showdown.
McCarthy said he expects the House to work on legislation by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., aimed at revamping the nation's mental health system.