Friday, September 18, 2009

House rebukes Rep. Joe Wilson

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House of Representatives voted this afternoon to admonish Rep. Joe Wilson over his “You lie’ comment to President Barack Obama.

The 240-179 vote on the resolution of disapproval reflected the sharp partisan divide over the issue. Democrats insisted that the South Carolina Republican take responsibility for what they said was a serious breach of decorum.

Republicans characterized the vote as a political stunt.

Wilson himself would not back down on his position that he owed the House no apology. Surrounded by Republican supporters, Wilson said Obama had “graciously accepted my apology and the issue is over.”

He’s not happy about it, but Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver intends to vote to ‘disapprove’ of Rep. Joe Wilson, who yelled, “You Lie!” at President Obama last week.

The Missouri Democrat said that he felt bound to do so because he voted last year to condemn the liberal anti-war group,, when it published a newspaper ad referring to Gen. David Petraeus as “General Betray Us.”

Petraeus was the military commander in Iraq at the time.

Cleaver, vice chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said that he feared the resolution would only sharpen the nastiness of the political mood that the debate over health care has unleashed.

“I think this will serve to further push the nation toward a partisan divide and will ultimately prevent the government from dealing with major problems we face,” Cleaver said.

Wilson, a Republican from South Carolina, interrupted the president when he was speaking about health care reform before a joint session of Congress last week.

He apologized later to the president. But many Democrats - and a few Republicans – said that he violated the rules of House and needed to apologize to his colleagues.

Speaking metaphorically, Cleaver said, “The nation is in trouble. It is in far more trouble than most people believe. I don’t think there are that many ready to put their guns back in their holsters. I think they're ready to fire. I wish we could get involved in some real civil debates on health care. The nation has not had that yet.”