In an exchange on the House floor that might otherwise have gone entirely overlooked, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington, 7th District) — the first Indian American woman to be elected to Congress — shut down her colleague, Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) for addressing her as “young lady” and saying that she “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” (Transcript of the exchange available here related to Amendment No. 43.)
The exchange took place Thursday on the floor of the House of Representatives during a debate over an amendment sponsored by Representative Young that would repeal federal regulations against controversial hunting practices in wildlife reserves, such as the use of artificial lights and certain forms of bait to lure animals towards areas where they can be shot at point-blank range, as well as the shooting of bear cubs or wolf pups during denning season. Jayapal, who is 51 years old and a former civil rights attorney currently serving her first term in the House, gave remarks on the floor outlining her concerns with the proposed amendment. Reports The Seattle Times:
“These national lands are intended to be enjoyed by all Americans, including those who visit and hope to have the rare opportunity to see bears and wolves in their natural habitats,” Jayapal said. “These are reasonable regulations that prevent cruel hunting practices.”
Young, however, took issue with those comments, and took to the floor to attempt a patronizing, sexist takedown of Representative Jayapal. While dismissing her as a “young lady”, Young chastised Jayapal as someone who “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” Deriding her commentary as “really nonsense”, Young accused Jayapal of parroting talking points written for her by animal rights groups.