Republican ridiculed at House hearing for telling witness she should read Breitbart for international news

Rep Anna Paulina Luna wants more people reading the far right site

Abe Asher
Wednesday 19 July 2023 01:41 BST
Republican Anna Paulina Luna tells congressional witness to read Breitbart

Republican congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna of Florida was ridiculed after suggesting that a witness in a congressional hearing read Breitbart News to stay up-to-date on world affairs.

Ms Luna was questioning Dr Ellen Montz, deputy administrator and director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, when she asked whether Dr Montz was aware of the particulars of the relationship between the United States and China.

“Are you aware that China does not like the United States and that [it] has engaged in espionage activites against the United States?”

When Dr Montz replied that she had neither personal nor professional expertise on the particulars of the US-China relationship, Ms Luna scoffed and responded: “Ok, well, I suggest you read Breitbart.”

Rep Jasmine Crockett, a Democrat from Texas, was not impressed with Ms Luna’s reading suggestion.

“It never ceases to amaze me what will come out of some of my colleagues’ mouths,” Ms Crockett said.

Rep Anna Paulina Luna of Florida addresses a witness in the House subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services ( @Acyn/Twitter)

She then read from Wikipedia’s entry on Breitbart, which notes that the site was founded in 2005 by conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart and that the site’s content has been described as “misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist by academics and journalists.” Breitbart had links to the Donald Trump campaign in 2016, most notably through former Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon.

“I don’t know that that’s where I want anybody to take their cues from, especially when they’re trying to run this country,” Ms Crockett said.

The indirect clash between the two first-term lawmakers enlivened a House subcommittee hearing titled “Why Expanding Medicaid to DACA Recipients Will Exacerbate the Border Crisis.”

That was a premise that Democrats on the committee, including Ms Crockett, took issue with. DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a US immigration policy instituted by President Barack Obama that allows people who were brought to the US illegally as children to stay in the country.

In April, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new proposed rule to expand Medicaid coverage to DACA recipients. If approved, the new rule could result in some 129,000 people gaining health insurance. Republicans have largely opposed the potential change.

“Every day, nearly 580,000 DACA recipients wake up and serve their communities, often working in essential roles and making tremendous contributions to our country,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “They deserve access to health care, which will provide them with peace of mind and security.”

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