Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz got personal and became visibly emotional just moments into his introductory remarks at Tuesday's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing exploring Planned Parenthood's use of federal dollars.
"This is an important topic. At the risk of getting a little personal, my wife Julie and I have been married some 24 years. We have our 25th wedding anniversary coming up in February," Chaffetz said as Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards silently sat before him. "She got her degree in psychology later in life after helping to raise three kids."
The Utah congressman, who clearly became emotional, said that his wife now works for a plastic surgeon — a doctor who helps women who, due to medical issues like cancer, must have their breasts surgically removed.
Seemingly holding back tears, he moved on to discuss his mother's struggle with cancer, saying that he believes that the government isn't spending enough to fight to disease.
"My wife spends her day helping these women. I'm proud of her for doing that," Chaffetz said. "My mother, she passed away when I was 28 years old. She fought cancer for more than 10 years. She had breast cancer and I miss her."
Watch the congressman's comments below:
At the center of the hearing, he said, is the question of whether Planned Parenthood is truly in need of federal subsidies.
"What I don't want to become numb to is wasting those taxpayer dollars," Chaffetz said. "This is an organization that doesn't need federal subsidy."
He continued, "They're pretty good at fundraising. They don't necessarily need taxpayer dollars to go pay for it."