An unwritten rule in the United States House of Representatives is “don’t mess with U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), managed to mess with her during Tuesday’s hearing that was intended “To examine the use of taxpayer funding by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (PPFA) and its affiliates,” according to the House Oversight website.
According to Slate.com, Rep. Chaffetz asked Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. a question in the form of an accusation, “Your compensation in 2009 was $353,000. Is that correct?”
“I don’t have the figures with me,” Richards replied.
Chaffetz replied, “It was. Congratulations.” This “snarky comment” referring to Richards, a woman, is what set off Rep. Maloney, who upon her turn directed a slap back at Chaffetz, “I first would like to register my opposition and my objection to the chairman beating up on a woman, on our witness today, for making a good salary,” Maloney said.
“The entire time I’ve been in Congress, I’ve never seen a witness beaten up and questioned about their salary,” she continued. “Ms. Richards heads a distinguished organization providing health care services to millions of Americans. I find it totally inappropriate and discriminatory.”
The Huffington Post said that as “Maloney spoke, the camera panned to Chaffetz, who sat there with a weak smile on his face, fiddling with something on his desk. It was a long several seconds.”
U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a member of the Oversight Committee, said that the “disrespect” by Chaffetz toward Richards is reflective of a much broader problem Republicans have with women. The continuation of the “War on Women” by the Republican Party.
“My colleagues like to say there’s no war on women. Look at how you’ve been treated as a witness,” Connolly said. “Intimidation. Talking Over. Interrupting. Cutting off sentences. Criticizing you because of your salary. How dare you! Who do you think you are, making a professional salary as the head of a premier national organization and daring to actually make decisions as the head of that organization?”
“Lord Almighty,” he added. “What’s America coming to?”
Disrespect and male chauvinism run rampant in the halls of Congress, that is what America is coming to.