How much of a backlash should Rep. Joe Wilson endure, and in what form, for his “You lie!” outburst during President Obama’s speech nearly a week ago? Well, on Tuesday, the House was nearing a conclusion about whether to officially admonish Wilson—whatever that might mean. —KA
Update: The House voted 240-179 to adopt a resolution of disapproval, about as light a slap on the wrist as possible. Wilson, quoted by The Washington Post, said rather sensibly, “It is clear to the American people that there are far more important issues than what we are dealing with now. ... [Obama] graciously accepted my apology, and this issue is over.”
AP via Google News:
The proposed resolution of disapproval against Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina added to the already-toxic atmosphere of partisanship in the House. Democrats said Wilson’s behavior during Obama’s speech to Congress last week was an egregious display of disrespect for the president that could not be ignored. Republicans accused the majority party of hypocrisy and wasting the taxpayers’ time.
“That’s a very serious breach of decorum, and if it goes unaddressed then we will probably see other, worse breaches in the future,” Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., said before floor debate began.
But Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, a member of the Republican leadership, countered, “Our economy is struggling, families are hurting. And yet, this Congress is poised to demand an apology from a man who has already apologized. It’s a disappointment to millions of Americans.”
The Office of the House Historian said the resolution, if approved, would mark the first time in the 220-year history of the House that a member had been admonished for speaking out while the president was giving an address. The vote was on a resolution of disapproval, less severe than other disciplinary action available to the House, including censure or expulsion.