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Paul Ryan doubtful about defunding Planned Parenthood

Story highlights

  • "I think we need to be very clear about what we can and cannot achieve," Paul Ryan said
  • "I think being an effective opposition party means being honest with people upfront about what it is we can and cannot achieve," he added

Washington (CNN)Paul Ryan doesn't believe Planned Parenthood should get one "red cent" from taxpayers -- but he cautioned Sunday against expectations that he'll be able to pull federal funding for the organization now that he's House speaker.

"I think we need to be very clear about what we can and cannot achieve and not set expectations that we know we can't reach given the constraints of the Constitution," Ryan told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union."
    The women's health organization has long drawn the ire of anti-abortion lawmakers, but efforts to pull federal funding for it increased after activists released undercover videos accusing Planned Parenthood of breaking federal laws by selling tissue and organs from aborted fetuses.
    "I don't think Planned Parenthood should get a red cent from the taxpayer. I've always believed that, even before these disgusting videos came out," Ryan said. "But I believe we need to do our oversight. We're just beginning to start a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood. That's important. So the special committee on Planned Parenthood, I think, should be in the driver's seat overseeing this process."
    Bash asked, "Will you defund Planned Parenthood?"
    "This is what I mean when I say being an effective opposition party. I think being an effective opposition party means being honest with people upfront about what it is we can and cannot achieve," he said.
    "But we also have to push issues where we can push issues, we have to speak truth to power," he added. "We have a president that isn't willing to listen, that isn't going to sign lots of our bills into law, we have a Senate that has a very difficult process when it comes to actually getting bills voted on, so knowing that we have those constraints, we have to operate within those constraints."