Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, has achieved the ignoble distinction of being admonished by the House after refusing to apologize on the floor for his outburst during the presidential address of President Barack Obama. What is astonishing is that only seven Republicans voted to uphold the House rules and to admonish their colleague in a 240-179 vote.
What is equally striking is that twelve Democrats voted not to admonish a member for screaming “you lie” at the President of the United States during a formal address on the House floor. Moreover, five Democrats simply voted “present.”
Most notably, Barney Frank did not vote for the measure and instead voted “present” while Dennis Kucinich voted against the measure. The only good news for Wilson is that Pete Stark voted for the measure and Wilson is thus not someone Stark would bestow his novel method of showing respect, here.
Here is the language of the resolution:
Raising a question of the privileges of the House.
Whereas on September 9, 2009, during the joint session of Congress convened pursuant to House Concurrent Resolution 179, the President of the United States, speaking at the invitation of the House and Senate, had his remarks interrupted by the Representative from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson; and
Whereas the conduct of the Representative from South Carolina was a breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings of the joint session, to the discredit of the House: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives disapproves of the behavior of the Representative from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson, during the joint session of Congress held on September 9, 2009.
The twelve Democrats voting against admonishment were:
Michael Arcuri (NY)
Bill Delahunt (MA)
Gabrielle Giffords (AZ)
Maurice Hinchey (NY)
Paul Hodes (NH)
Dennis Kucinich (OH)
Dan Maffei (NY)
Eric Massa (NY)
Jim McDermott (WA)
Gwen Moore (WI)
Gene Taylor (MS)
Harry Teague (NM)
The seven Republicans who voted for admonishment were:
Joseph Cao (LA)
Jo Ann Emerson (MO)
Jeff Flake (AZ)
Bob Inglis (SC)
Walter Jones (NC)
Jim Petri (WI)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA)
The five Democrats who voted present were:
Eliot Engel (NY)
Bill Foster (IL)
Barney Frank (MA)
Carol Shea-Porter (NH)
Ike Skelton (MO)
This is the first formal admonishment of a member for misconduct during a presidential address in Congress. House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio called the resolution “piling on” and urged a vote against the measure.
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