WASHINGTON -- Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) laid into Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Tuesday for grilling Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards over her salary -- something she suggested he wouldn't have done had Richards been a man.
Chaffetz had just finished needling Richards, who was testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, about why her salary increased by more than $100,000 between 2009 and 2013. Maloney was not pleased.
"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."
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.
Chaffetz spent most of the hearing lobbing questions at Richards about Planned Parenthood's services and then cutting her off as she tried to answer. He cut off Maloney, too, when she asked if she could speak. As his time ran out, he put up a chart showing the rate of abortions increasing at the clinics while the number of "life-saving procedures" performed decreased, and demanded that she explain. Nobody seemed to know where the chart came from, and Richards said it was inaccurate. Her attorney finally leaned over and cleared it up.
"My lawyer's informing me the source is Americans United for Life, which is an anti-abortion group," said Richards. "So you might want to check your source."
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) later said the "disrespect" Chaffetz showed to Richards is reflective of a much broader problem Republicans have with women.
"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?"