House Republicans Tuesday advanced a resolution creating a special subcommittee to investigate Planned Parenthood following recent revelations about the taxpayer-funded group's fetal tissue harvesting.
The chamber’s Rules Committee passed the resolution by voice vote, sending it to the full House for a vote Wednesday. Republicans likely would have enough votes to approve the resolution and empanel the committee.
The committee also saw off an attempt by Democrats to disband the Select Committee on Benghazi, which Democrats claim is a waste of taxpayer money and a political tool to undermine the presidential campaign of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Democrats had been empowered in that effort since House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., suggested last week that Clinton’s polls numbers have dropped since the select committee began investigating her actions as secretary of state during the Sept. 11, 2012, terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attacks.
The amendment to disband the Benghazi committee was offered by Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., the committee's ranking member. It was defeated 7-2.
"I think it is an awful waste of resources," Slaughter said of the proposed Planned Parenthood subcommittee. "We’re using the power of the House, [the] committee process and taxpayer money to make political points."
The Planned Parenthood subcommittee would be part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
At least 10 secretly recorded videos released in recent months capture Planned Parenthood officials casually describing how they sometimes obtain tissue from aborted fetuses for researchers.
Abortion foes say the videos show the group broke federal laws barring for-profit fetal tissue sales and altered abortion procedures to obtain usable organs.
"There is no issue more deserving of our undivided attention than unborn life," Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said. "The footage released raises serious questions."
Planned Parenthood and its defenders say the group has done nothing illegal and that the videos were dishonestly edited to distort what was said.
Republicans, social conservatives, pro-life groups and others have long tried to shutter Planned Parenthood because of its abortion service.
A group of congressional Republicans tried last week to pull Planned Parenthood funding via a measure to keep the federal government running through December.
Senate Democrats blocked the effort. But House Republicans are purportedly working on a new tactic to try again to strip millions of dollars in federal funds from the group. They are trying to advance a parliamentary procedure called budget reconciliation that allows some tax and spending bills to be passed with a simple majority vote.
Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.