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Wyden: Keep government open

PORTLAND — U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said Friday he hopes resigning House Speaker John Boehner uses his influence to keep the government from shutting down next week.

Wyden, a Democrat, spoke to reporters at the Planned Parenthood offices in Portland, where he held a press conference backing the organization as conservatives try to cut off its federal funding. A group of Republican lawmakers has vowed not to vote for any budget that includes money for Planned Parenthood, threatening a partial government shutdown after the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Boehner announced Friday that he'll resign from Congress and his position as House leader.

"The real question for me is how the speaker will spend these next few weeks, particularly this week, using his influence, and my hope is that his priority will be keeping the government open," Wyden said.

Wyden accused conservatives of prioritizing "ideological trophies" over "bipartisan problem-solving."

Meanwhile, the head of Planned Parenthood's Oregon political arm said the organization considered participating in a hearing in the state House requested by Republicans. But Mary Nolan said Republicans used language that suggested they wanted to have an ideological debate about abortion.

"We support and love to engage in fact based data, information that is actually descriptive of what we do," Nolan said. "But late last week it became very clear that that was not the conversation that the Republicans wanted to have."

Republicans say they're asking questions raised by their constituents after secretly recorded videos raised questions about Planned Parenthood's handling of fetal tissue

"We didn't talk about shutting them down. We didn't talk about taking drastic action to cut off funding," said Kara Walker, a spokeswoman for House Republicans. "It was simply a public hearing, an opportunity for them to come in an answer questions." 

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., discusses efforts in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood during a news conference at a Planned Parenthood office Friday in Portland. Wyden's support of Planned Parenthood comes amid a heated debate among Oregon politicians over how Planned Parenthood uses the $3.6 million it gets from Oregon. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.