Rep. Chaffetz Freaks Out: "I Don't Give A Crap About The Pupfish"

April 15, 2011 5:46 pm ET — Brian Powell

Rep. Jason Chaffetz's (R-UT) temper flared during a joint hearing of the House Oversight and House Natural Resources Committees investigating whether environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act are impeding the ability of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to keep America safe.  After subjecting the committee to gruesome slides depicting violence in Mexico, the hearing culminated in a freak-out by Chaffetz, who howled, "I don't give a crap about the pupfish."

TIERNEY: Is there a contention that our Border Patrol people and Interior people and others are responsible for the Mexican side of the border, where these films are from?

CHAFFETZ: Let's keep going. They are dealing with this threat coming through the United States of America. They're having to deal with this by the hundred — you can turn them off. Please, turn them off. They're having to deal with this by the hundreds of thousands.

I, in good conscience, cannot be a participant in the United States Congress and not give every tool and resource to the Border Patrol to secure that border.

I don't give a crap about the pupfish. I do care about America.

Watch:

Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), the ranking member of the subcommittee, pointed out that the photographs Chaffetz used as evidence were from Mexico, outside the jurisdiction of any U.S. agency. He also reminded Chaffetz of the testimony by the committee's panel of witnesses from the Department of the Interior, U.S. Forestry Service and the Border Patrol, who pointed out that Border Patrol agents are allowed to use any vehicle or method of pursuit they deem necessary to pursue individuals under "exigent circumstances," including in the face of threats to national security.

Full transcript below the fold.

CHAFFETZ:  Routinely, the Border Patrol is not able to do what it's able to do in other areas, in terms of locating towers, operating with, uh, with vehicles. You know, I wasn't gonna do this, but I think I'm gonna do this — if you have a sensitive heart, I am telling you, this is the most graphic thing I've ever seen. If you're a young child, don't watch this.

I'm going to show you four slides that are happening right near our border, this is on the Mexican side of the border. And this is what I'm concerned about, what we're putting our men and women down there and saying "go protect us," but we're not gonna give you all the resources, because we're worried about the pupfish.

So you know, you go on horseback, you go just walk it — go ahead, let's show the first slide. And just roll through these, we're gonna do this swiftly. Don't look if you're sensitive to any sort of graphic image.

TIERNEY: Mr. Chairman.

CHAFFETZ: Ok.

TIERNEY: Point of clarification.

CHAFFETZ: This is the kind of thing that we're sending our agents to deal with. On a daily basis.

TIERNEY: Mr. Chairman. Point of clarification.

CHAFFETZ: Sure.

TIERNEY: Is there a contention that our Border Patrol people and Interior people and others are responsible for the Mexican side of the border, where these films are from?

CHAFFETZ: Let's keep going. They are dealing with this threat coming through the United States of America. They're having to deal with this by the hundred - you can turn them off. Please, turn them off. They're having to deal with this by the hundreds of thousands.

I, in good conscience, cannot be a participant in the United States Congress and not give every tool and resource to the Border Patrol to secure that border.

I don't give a crap about the pupfish. I do care about America. And I do care about those border patrol agents. And when you tell them they have to go on horseback when they'd much rather go in a vehicle, that's fundamentally wrong. I yield back.

REP. ROB BISHOP (R-UT): Ok, well uh, if — do you want another minute? In fairness?

TIERNEY: No no, I mean look, I think we've made the point a hundred times here that the Border Patrol people are in whatever vehicle they think they need to be in at the appropriate time, and I think we can leave it at that.

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