OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
During a committee hearing on U.S.-Cuba relations, Rep. María Elvira Salazar (R-FL) expelled Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) for spreading what she called “communist propaganda.”
The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Western Hemisphere Subcommittee met on Thursday to deliberate on U.S. policy toward Cuba. The committee’s chair, Salazar, has spoken out against human rights violations in Cuba.
Even though Lee isn’t on the subcommittee, Salazar quickly cut him off when he tried to speak during the meeting. As the Cuban government does to political dissidents, the California lawmaker claimed Salazar was trying to silence her.
Tense exchanges ensued as a result of the confrontation between Lee, Salazar, and her Democratic supporters.
“I was just kicked out of a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on Cuba policy because the Republican Chair didn’t like my views,” Lee wrote her followers on X, formerly known as Twitter, attached with a video of the meeting.
“I’d share the livestream, but Republicans cut out the sound when I stood up to defend myself & call them out,” she added. Lee has previously called for normalized relationships with the government in Havana following the death of Fidel Castro.
Watch the confrontation below:
I was just kicked out of a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on Cuba policy because the Republican Chair didn’t like my views.
I’d share the livestream, but Republicans cut out the sound when I stood up to defend myself & call them out. pic.twitter.com/eqV1ymor9j
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) January 18, 2024
Salazar responded to Lee’s complaints on X, formerly known as Twitter, by stating she was thrown out for spreading “communist propaganda” by calling for peaceful relations with Cuba.
“Today, I exercised my authority as Subcommittee Chairwoman to not allow an off-Committee Member to spread communist propaganda during my Cuba hearing. Members are not entitled to join any Committee proceedings without full consent of the Committee Members. Barbara Lee tried to disrupt an important discussion about the Biden Administration’s lenient policies toward the Cuban regime,” Salazar wrote.
“Barbara Lee is a communist sympathizer who was a personal friend to Fidel Castro, has visited Cuba 21 times, and has been a mouthpiece for the Cuban Regime since 1977. Letting someone as radical as Barbara Lee degrade a hearing on Cuban freedom would insult the Cuban exile community in Miami and amplify regime propaganda,” she added in another tweet.
Barbara Lee tried to disrupt an important discussion about the Biden Administration’s lenient policies toward the Cuban regime.
Barbara Lee is a communist sympathizer who was a personal friend to Fidel Castro, has visited Cuba 21 times, and has been a mouthpiece for the Cuban…
— Rep. María Elvira Salazar (@RepMariaSalazar) January 18, 2024
The GOP-controlled U.S. House has been busy this month to kick off the new year.
Republicans in the House have finalized a plan for states to use so they can ensure their elections are legitimate and secure.
According to The Federalist, the plan is comprised of a package of measures that state legislatures can adopt and enact “to increase voters’ confidence and promote election integrity.” Called “The Uniform State American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act,” it contains 13 recommended state laws and is modeled “after the ACE Act, a federal measure containing similar provisions that House Republicans introduced last year.”
The outlet added: “The bill is awaiting a full House floor vote after passing the Committee on House Administration in July.”
The Uniform State ACE Act incorporates policies that have received longstanding support from election integrity advocates. These policies encompass voter ID and the necessity for proof of residency when individuals cast their votes in person or via mail, the outlet reported.
Despite assertions by Democrats that ID requirements disproportionately affect non-white voters, a significant majority of U.S. voters, including those from black and Hispanic communities, favor these measures as safeguards for elections. Furthermore, numerous courts have recently rejected lawsuits brought forth by Democrats, which claimed that voter ID laws “suppress” voters, the outlet noted further.
Another proposed policy involves the requirement to periodically purge ineligible voters from state voter rolls, including the removal of any individuals who are not U.S. citizens from the list.
The Federalist continued:
Non-citizens on voter registration lists is a problem in many states. In 2017, Pennsylvania officials discovered an error in the computer system of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that allowed “non-United States citizens applying for or renewing a driver’s license to register to vote in the Commonwealth.” Pennsylvania has largely refused to forfeit records related to the matter, despite a March 2022 court order.
The Keystone State has since adopted automatic voter registration, in which Pennsylvanians obtaining a driver’s license at facilities such as the DMV will be automatically registered to vote unless they opt out. Under commonwealth law, “lawfully present” non-citizens are permitted to apply for a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card.
“By providing a toolkit of election integrity bills to states, we are going one step further in securing our elections and increasing Americans’ confidence,” bill co-sponsor and Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., noted in a statement. Co-sponsor Rep. Laurel Lee, R-Fla., added that “Americans need to feel confident that their elections are secure.”