Raising a Question of the Privileges of the House

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Raising a Question of the Privileges of the House (2009)
United States House of Representatives

Raising a Question of the Privileges of the House. H. Res. 744. Congressional Record: September 15, 2009 (House of Representatives) Page H9529-H9534. DOCID:cr15se09-122.

503891Raising a Question of the Privileges of the House2009United States House of Representatives
The interruption by Congressman Joe Wilson. (September 9, 2009).


  Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of the privileges of the
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the resolution.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                              H. Res. 744

       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 SPEAKER pro tempore. The resolution presents a question of the
privileges of the House.
  Pursuant to clause 2 of rule IX, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr.
Hoyer) and the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Boehner) each will control 30
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Maryland.
  Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.
  Mr. Speaker and ladies and gentlemen of the House, none of us, none
of us is happy to be here considering this resolution. I know I am not.
  At the same time, my colleagues, what is at issue here is of
importance to this House and to our country, and that issue is whether
we are able to proceed with a degree of civility and decorum that our
rules and our democracy contemplate and require.
  The House Code of Official Conduct requires that each Member, every
one of us, each and every one of us "conduct himself," and I'm
quoting from the rule, "at all times in a manner which shall reflect
creditably on the House of Representatives."
  There seems to be little or no disagreement that Mr. Wilson did not
so conduct himself on the evening of September 9. Senator John McCain
was quoted as saying that Mr. Wilson's behavior was "totally
disrespectful." He went on to say, "There is no place for it in that
setting, or any other, and he should apologize for it immediately."
  Mr. Wilson did, in fact, apologize to the President through Mr.
Emanuel, the President's Chief of Staff.
  However, it was the House itself whose rules were offended. And as
Mr. Inglis, Mr. Wilson's colleague, a Republican colleague from South
Carolina, observed, and again I quote, "He should apologize to the
House," to the House, "for the rule violation." Mr. Inglis went on
to add, "That would end the matter."
  I had made a similar representation to the Republican leader, and I
believe that would have ended the matter. I know that is what the
Republican leaders of the House thought would be appropriate and what
the Republican leader talked to Mr. Wilson about doing. He said so to
the press.
  Indeed, last Thursday, based upon what a Republican leader told me,
not Mr. Boehner, that morning, it was what I expected Mr. Wilson to do.
As a result, I held open the time between the next-to-the-last vote and
the very last vote to give Mr. Wilson an opportunity to express an
apology to the House. As all of us know, many Members have done that in
the past, reflecting upon conduct they thought was not appropriate; and
as a result, they came to this floor. That has happened on both sides
of the aisle where Members have done things that they thought brought
discredit to the House and they came to this floor, to that rostrum and
to this, to say, I apologize. Mr. Inglis is correct: that would have
ended the matter.
  However, for whatever reason, Mr. Wilson has decided not to take any
further action. In light of that, this resolution simply states the
House's disapproval of Mr. Wilson's words and actions.
  As Republican Whip Cantor is quoted as saying, "Obviously the
President of the United States is always welcome on Capitol Hill and he
deserves respect and decorum." Surely all of us believe that's
correct. Surely all of us, hopefully all of us, believe that when we
invite a President of either party to come to this House and address a
joint session of Congress that he ought to expect and we ought to
expect that we will accord to him the decorum and courtesy of which Mr.
Cantor spoke.
  The Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, added, "I
think we ought to treat the President with respect, and anything other
than that is not appropriate." That's what this resolution is about.
It's a resolution of disapproval.
  This resolution is not about the substance of an issue, but about the
conduct we expect of one another in the course of doing our business.
Senator John Cornyn, the chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign
Committee, stated this: "There's a time and a place for everything,
and that was not the time or the place for that kind of comment."
  In the absence of Mr. Wilson's expressing his regret for acting in a
manner that almost all agree, every Republican that I have talked to as
well as every Democrat that I have talked to, was inappropriate and
contrary to the spirit of the rules of the House and the common
courtesy that we should extend to all, and particularly to the
President of the United States of America, our President, we have
brought forward this resolution. I expected to extend that same
courtesy with every President with whom I have served, be they
Republican or Democrat.
  We consider this resolution as a result of Mr. Wilson's failure to
follow the advice of his leadership and a number of his Republican and
Democratic colleagues who have told me that they have talked to him.

[Page H9530]

  I want to say personally that I know Mr. Wilson. We've had a good
relationship. I expect to continue to have a good relationship. I found
him a man of measured conduct. I was surprised. I think he was probably
surprised as well. A simple apology to this House would have ended the
  But this House ought not to stand silent in the face of conduct that
almost universally, and by Mr. Wilson himself, was felt to be
inappropriate. It is an expression of the people's House that neither
Presidents nor any of us ought to expect to be subjected to such
conduct in the course of our business in this, the people's House.
  The resolution says simply what hopefully all of us feel, that we
disapprove of the conduct cited and let others know that such conduct
is neither welcome nor approved by the House of Representatives.
  At this time, Mr. Speaker, I yield the balance of my time to the
gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Clyburn), and I ask unanimous
consent that he control the balance of that time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the
gentleman from Maryland?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield such time as he may
consume to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Wilson).
  Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Thank you, Mr. Leader. I appreciate
your service for America, and I further respect the majority leader,
Mr. Hoyer.
  Mr. Speaker, I am humbled and grateful for the support and prayers of
my wife, Roxanne, my four sons, my staff, the people of South Carolina,
my colleagues, and the American people.
  Mr. Speaker, I think it is clear to the American people that there
are far more important issues facing this Nation than what we are
addressing right now.
  The President said, "The time for games is over." I agree with the
President. He graciously accepted my apology, and the issue is over.
  However, this action today will have done nothing for the taxpayers
to rein in the growing cost and size of the Federal Government. It will
not help more Americans secure jobs, promote better education, ensure
retirement, or reform health insurance.
  It is the Democrat leadership, in their rush to pass a very bad
government health care plan, that is bad medicine for America. It has
muzzled the voices we represent and provoked partisanship.
  When we are done here today, we will not have taken any steps closer
to helping more American families afford health insurance or helping
small businesses create new jobs.
  The challenges our Nation faces are far bigger than any one Member of
this House. It is time that we move forward and get to work for the
American people.
  Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, this resolution addresses an issue of great
importance to current and future Members of this august body: the
proper conduct of its Members.
  Despite statements made by various leaders of the other party, this
is not about partisan politics or inappropriate comments. To the
contrary, this is about the rules of this House and reprehensible

                              {time} 1630

  I stand here as a former schoolteacher and the proud father of a
current public schoolteacher who teaches in the congressional district
represented by Congressman Wilson. My grandchildren attend schools in
that district.
  But, Mr. Speaker, this Hall is the most prominent classroom in this
great country, and all of us are teachers. We are bound by duty and the
offices we hold to conduct ourselves as such. Classroom teachers and
schoolchildren across the country and around the world looking in on
our proceedings should see proper decorum and hear civil discourse. Our
teachers are expected to teach our children to learn proper behavior.
All of us are expected to give appropriate support and deference to the
institutions that help us develop and maintain a civil and orderly
  Our three separate branches of government have defined roles to play
in this process, and those of us who hold positions within these
branches are expected and are duty bound to treat each other with
proper dignity and respect. Whether we like it or not, teachers and
students see us as role models.
  But none of us is perfect. We all make mistakes, and we sometimes
fall short of expectations. But when we do, proper contrition is
expected. When one of us, while seated in a formal session, severely
violates the rules of this body by shamelessly hurling accusations of
mendacity towards a President of these United States, our Commander in
Chief, and refuses to formally express remorse, we, at a minimum, are
duty bound to express our disapproval. Our teachers, our students, and
constituents deserve no less.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I recognize myself for as much time as I
may consume.
  I think this is a sad day for the House of Representatives. I think
that this is nothing more than a partisan stunt aimed at trying to
divert people's attention from the real issue that the American people
want to talk about, and that is health care.
  The gentleman from South Carolina made it clear the other night when
he told the President's Chief of Staff that his behavior was
inappropriate, and that is why he was calling to apologize to the
President. The President graciously accepted his apology.
  And last Friday, none other than the Speaker of the House, herself,
said it is time for us to talk about health care and not Mr. Wilson.
Now, the Speaker and I don't see eye to eye on every issue, but on this
issue I think I am in full agreement with her.
  Joe Wilson is a decent human being. He did the right thing. He called
the President and apologized, and the President was gracious enough to
accept it. And I just believe that a man who has spent 25 years of his
life in public service in the State senate and here in Congress, who
has four sons, all of whom were in the military, three of whom served
in Iraq, we all know Joe Wilson. He is a decent man, and to put him
through this on the floor of the House I think is unacceptable and it
is a partisan stunt.
  There has been behavior that has gone on around here far more serious
than this, and it didn't bring a resolution to the floor to condemn
someone's behavior.
  Yes, people have made mistakes. Some have come down to the floor and
apologized, others have not. But none of it, none of it required a
resolution. And to think that the precedent that is being set here
today, the precedent, think about it, never has this happened before,
that we are going to bring a resolution of disapproving of his
behavior. My goodness, we could be doing this every day of the week.
  The American people sent us here to work together to solve the
problems of our country. They didn't send us here to talk about our
behavior. They didn't send us here to do that. What they want us to do
is to deal with the issue of health care.
  The President said we ought to work in a bipartisan fashion to get
health care reform accomplished. I agree with the President. I'm here.
I'm willing. I'm able. Set the time and the place, and we will be there
with our solutions to the health care problems in the country.
  But to divert the Nation's attention from the issues they care about,
health care, trying to make sure that we get jobs back into our
economy, trying to do something about record deficits and record debt,
no, no, no, we are not doing any of that. We are here on some witch
hunt, some partisan stunt that the American people are not going to
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair will remind all persons in the
gallery that they are here as guests of the House, and any
manifestation of approval or disapproval of the proceedings or other
audible conversation is in violation of the House.
  Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I want to first of all say to my friend,
the leader, that before coming to this Congress I spent 18 years
running a State agency in South Carolina. In those 18 years, I worked
for four Governors--two Democrats and two Republicans. Many of you
remember that one of

[Page H9531]

those Republicans for whom I worked for 8 years was Carroll Campbell, a
former Member of this body. We were good friends. We often consulted
with each other in the evenings, but we always respected each other
even though we were poles apart politically.
  This is not a partisan stunt. I do not participate in partisan
stunts, and I think every Member here knows that. This is about the
proper decorum that should take place on the floor of the United States
House of Representatives.
  And I would like to say to the leader, and I think he knows, that he
has not represented the facts correctly. On October 23, 2007, a Member
of this body, Representative Stark, came to this floor and apologized
for behavior, as I read, "I want to apologize to first of all my
colleagues, many of whom have been offended," and then he went on to
say to the President, to his family, to the troops. That took place on
this floor in 2007 on October 23.
  Then I would remind the leader on July 23, which incidentally happens
to be Carroll Campbell's birthday, on July 23, Chairman Thomas came to
this floor and he offered an apology: "Because of my poor judgment,
the stewardship of my party as majority party in the House has been
unfairly criticized," and he went on to apologize.
  And so all we have ever asked is that this body, this House, receive
from Mr. Wilson a similar statement of contrition. It is all about the
decorum of this House.
  And I will reiterate, I have never stood on the floor of this House
in my 17 years and participated in any kind of partisan stunt, and I
think the other side knows that.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield as much time as he may consume to
the Republican whip, Mr. Cantor.
  Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the leader.
  Mr. Speaker, I am having some difficulty understanding how it is that
we are on the floor today debating this resolution. I would like to
first speak to the claims made by my colleague on the other side of the
aisle, the majority whip, in pointing out what are alleged to be
precedents for this resolution.
  As he knows, those instances that he referred to, whether it be the
gentleman from California (Mr. Stark) or the gentleman from California
(Mr. Thomas) when they came to the well of this body to speak to our
colleagues, it was as a result of conduct displayed, number one, in the
case of Mr. Stark, during debate on the floor of this House, and number
two, on the part of Mr. Thomas, conduct that took place among members
in a committee on which I sit, the Ways and Means, two very distinct
situations from the one we have here at hand.
  Again, I don't understand how it is a priority that we are here on
this particular resolution. The resolution, as has been pointed out,
creates no job. The resolution does nothing to do anything to increase
access to quality health care. The resolution does nothing to address
the issues of national security. Plain and simple, this resolution does
not reflect the priority of the American people.
  Now, President Obama came to this Chamber last week and he admonished
us, Mr. Speaker. He admonished us to stop with the partisan bickering.
In fact, he echoed the sentiments that he expressed during his
inaugural address when he said, "We may still be a young Nation, but
it is time to set aside childish things."
  Now, as the leader said, as the gentleman from South Carolina himself
said, he admits that what he did was inappropriate. He was on national
television indicating he shouldn't have done it. He wouldn't do it
again. He also said to the Nation, he called the President. As the
leader indicated, the President graciously accepted the apology. I am
told the Vice President has also accepted the apology. What more does
the gentleman want? That's why I am at a loss as to what this is if it
is not a partisan stunt.
  So I believe we ought to accept what the President and the Speaker
and others have said: Let's get on with the business of the people.
Let's try and get over the divide and stick to the course of trying to
work on things we agree on, or things that we have a potential to do
away with the disagreements, not the partisanship.
  Now, this is the bill. This is the famed H.R. 3200, Mr. Speaker, and
there are several issues in here the American people have spoken out
on. The first is the claim that we ought to be able to keep what we
have if we are talking about health insurance. On page 16 of the bill,
there is a section entitled, "Protecting the Choice to Keep Current
Coverage." That's what we all are trying to do for the 85 or some
percent of this country who has health insurance.
  You know what, our side says despite that title, there are provisions
in there which begin to require individuals and their insurers to do
certain things which make it somewhat difficult if not impossible to
allow for folks to keep what they have.
  The next issue that is of import certainly to the American people and
to this body is the question of access to Federal benefits by those who
are here illegally.
  Now, the President stood on this floor in this body, Mr. Speaker, and
said that he did not believe that there was any access for those here
illegally to Federal benefits. In fact, on page 143, there is a section
which speaks to the issue that there should be no Federal benefit for
those here illegally.
  The problem that we have on this side is there is no requirement of
verification of legal status. And in fact the White House, in fact
Senator Baucus and others have since come out and said, You know what,
you're right. These are the kinds of things we could be doing right now
to try and accomplish what it is that the American people have sent us
here to do, and they expect us to do that in a deliberate manner that
produces a positive result, which means we all have got to do that
living within our means and to ensure that we do not break the bank in
passing this health care reform measure.

                              {time} 1645

  So I implore this House, Mr. Speaker, let's try and get back to the
business of the people.
  Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my
  Mr. BOEHNER. I am pleased to yield 4 minutes to the gentlewoman from
Washington (Mrs. McMorris Rodgers).
  Mrs. McMORRIS RODGERS. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I rise
in opposition to this resolution. I think the facts are clear.
Congressman Joe Wilson admitted himself that his actions were wrong and
that he shouldn't have done it and that he won't do it again. Mr.
Wilson apologized to the President, and that was the right thing to do.
  Mr. Speaker, how much longer does this go on? What are we really
accomplishing here today? The President accepted Mr. Wilson's apology.
Both the President and Mr. Wilson agreed it was time to move on. Just
late last week, the Speaker of this House said, "It's time for us to
talk about health care and not Mr. Wilson." I couldn't agree more.
  Americans expect their elected officials to put aside partisan
differences and work to solve the problems that are facing American
families. Just last week, we were told, Let's put aside the partisan
  Instead of pursuing this petty partisanship, now is the time to work
together on behalf of the American people. Hardworking families back
home are worried about the economy. They're worried about losing their
jobs. Hardworking American families all across this country want us to
stop a government takeover of health care.
  Let's stop wasting time. Let's focus on tackling the challenges that
face our country.
  Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 4 minutes to the
gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite).
  Ms. GINNY BROWN-WAITE of Florida. I know Joe Wilson. I've worked with
him in the halls of this Congress in committees and I have traveled
with him to Iraq. A retired Army colonel, all four of his sons followed
Joe into military service.
  In the 7 years that I have known him, I have never known Joe Wilson
to say an unkind word about anyone. Joe is a good and honest man. He is
the kind of person who, if he disagrees with you, does it without being

[Page H9532]

  Just as it was wrong for my Democrat colleagues to boo former
President Bush in this Chamber, it was wrong for Joe Wilson to speak
out of turn. The difference is that Joe Wilson apologized and the
President very graciously accepted his apology.
  Every Member in this Chamber has uttered words they wish they could
have said differently. I know Joe made his comment out of frustration
because there seems to be a large gap between health care rhetoric and
  What the President said did not match up with the bill that came
before the House. This is the same bill that was discussed last month
in many town hall meetings across our country. His comment provided
Americans with an opportunity to discuss the differences between the
bill they've seen and the ideas that the President mentioned in
Wednesday's speech.
  On the issue of illegal immigrants in health care reform, in three
committees here in this very House Republicans offered up amendments to
clarify to ensure that illegal aliens would not be included in the
health care reform bill. In all three committees, those amendments were
resoundingly defeated by my Democrat colleagues.
  All Americans heard the President say, If you like your plan, you can
keep it. But those words directly conflict with the CBO's findings that
cuts to Medicare Advantage plans in H.R. 3200 would result in millions
of seniors losing their current plan. That's not keeping the plan that
they like.
  Further still, we heard the President say that his plan would not add
one dime to our deficits. Again, that's contrary to CBO's findings that
say that H.R. 3200 would increase deficits by $239 billion over 10
  Mr. Speaker, there's a lot of frustration in our districts and
throughout America about H.R. 3200. We need to stop wasting time and
get down to the business of drafting a bipartisan health care bill that
addresses the needs of all Americans.
  Think of how many Americans lost their jobs and lost their health
care coverage during this 1 hour of debate that we're having today. We
need to get down to the serious business that our constituents sent us
here for. That's the very least that we can do. That's our job.
  Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 4 minutes to the
gentlewoman from Michigan (Mrs. Miller).
  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, last week, the President came
to this House for a joint session of Congress to discuss how we as a
Nation will reform health care. The debate over health care has made
clear that the American people are actually paying attention to what is
happening here.
  During the President's speech, our colleague, Joe Wilson, made a
mistake--a mistake that I believe was driven by both the substance and
the emotion involved in this debate.
  Immediately after he made that mistake, Congressman Wilson did the
appropriate thing. He immediately apologized to the President.
President Obama very graciously accepted his apology.
  Mr. Speaker, recently, President Obama made a mistake when referring
to actions of the Cambridge police while acknowledging that he did not
have all the facts. In the national uproar that ensued, he called it a
teachable moment. I thought that was a very human response to an
incident that was blown totally out of proportion, in my opinion, and
some actually inferred that it had racial overtones.
  I think what we have here today, Mr. Speaker, is a teachable moment,
and it has nothing to do with race.
  Joe Wilson is a patriotic American who has defended our freedom in
uniform as well as here in the United States Congress. He is the father
of four sons who also served this Nation in uniform to defend our
liberty, our freedom, our democracy. And we have all heard Joe Wilson
speak on this floor, and he ends every floor statement with the same
following words: God bless our troops, and we will never forget
September the 11th.
  Joe Wilson simply made a mistake and was forgiven by the person who
was harmed by that mistake. Case closed. So why are we here? What can
we be taught by forcing a vote on this resolution?
  Well, I believe what is going on here, Mr. Speaker, today, is a
reflection of the unease among the American people as they have watched
this Congress enact a $700 billion Wall Street bailout, a $787 billion
economic stimulus bill, a $1.8 trillion deficit, this year alone,
placed on the backs of their children and their grandchildren.
  They have been watching as Congress works on health care legislation
that would fundamentally alter one of the most personal factors in
their lives, and that is how to care for themselves and their families.
  During the August recess we saw the frustrations of the American
people when they came out in large numbers to exercise their rights
guaranteed under the First Amendment--the right to free speech, the
right to peaceably assemble, and the right to redress their grievances
before government. And how were they treated when they did this? Some
leaders of this House called them un-American, or an angry mob. All of
this for simply making their voices heard.
  I understand that democracy is sometimes difficult and it can instill
passion. That passion, that love for our Nation and the belief in the
idea that every American deserves to be heard is what makes America
great. And we who are honored to serve here have a duty to listen.
  The acrimony that has developed here is what needs to be stopped. We
need to stop and we need to listen to one another. We need to focus on
the needs of the people and do the work that they sent us here to do.
Most importantly, get our economy moving.
  I come from Michigan, where countless of my fellow citizens have lost
their jobs and many have also lost their health care. The resolution
that we are considering today will not create one job. It will not help
one person get health care for their family. It will do nothing to
allay the concerns of seniors who are worried about their Medicare. It
will do nothing to get our economy moving again. It will simply inflame
a debate that should have been over when President Obama accepted Joe
Wilson's apology.
  We can do better. The American people can do better. And, hopefully,
in this teachable moment, we will learn.
  Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 4 minutes to the
Republican Conference chairman, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Pence).
  (Mr. PENCE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
  Mr. PENCE. I rise today in opposition to the resolution of
disapproval of Mr. Wilson. A friend of mine back in Indiana likes to
say that Washington, D.C., is 100 square miles surrounded by reality.
That never felt truer than it does today.
  Think about it. Our economy is struggling, families are hurting, and
Congress is poised to demand an apology from a man who has already
apologized. Extraordinary.
  First, let me stipulate that Joe Wilson is a good man and a man of
integrity. He is a devoted husband to his beloved Roxanne, a proud
father of four American servicemen.
  I have traveled with Joe into some pretty tight spots, like many of
my Democrat colleagues have. I have seen his devotion to our soldiers.
I have never failed to be inspired by his love for the men and women of
this country in uniform, his love of his country, and his constituents.
  The Old Book tells us a harsh word stirs up anger. We might have seen
a little bit of that last week. In the midst of a highly partisan
speech by the President of the United States, Joe made a mistake.
Immediately after the speech was over, Joe recognized his mistake and
he offered his sincere apology to the President and the President's
staff. And he was right to apologize. But it's important to note that,
despite his admitted error, the broader national interest was actually
  The American people didn't send us here just to get along. They sent
us here to get it right. Ironically, because of Joe Wilson's outburst,
we have been engaged in nearly a week-long debate about what's really
in H.R. 3200. In fact, now the American people know there's nothing in
the Democrat's bill

[Page H9533]

in the House that requires an individual to verify their identity or
citizenship, leaving open the very possibility of undocumented workers
receiving health care benefits. This was concurred in by the
Congressional Research Service that noted in the absence "of a
provision in the bill specifying the verification procedure,
undocumented immigrants could receive taxpayer-subsidized health
  If you need any further proof, the White House clarified their
position last Friday, stating their support for verification expressly
of an individual's citizenship.
  Despite the controversy and the sound and the fury, Congress has a
shot to get it a little more right than they would have otherwise.
  Let me speak, as I close, about the broader issue of bringing this
resolution to the floor of the Congress today. I was home in Indiana
yesterday. Hoosiers were shocked with the news that one of our most
storied companies, Eli Lilly and Company, was announcing 5,500 layoffs.
  I was in Evansville, Indiana, in August, on the very day that
Whirlpool announced they were closing a factory and sending more than a
thousand jobs out of that city and out of this country forever.
  More than 2 million jobs have been lost since the so-called stimulus
bill was passed. Fifteen million Americans were out of work. Yet here
we are, taking time in the people's House to demand an apology from a
man who has already apologized.
  The American people want better. The American people want less
politics and more jobs. They want Congress to set aside petty partisan
politics and come together to take action to get this economy moving
  I urge my colleagues to vote "no."

                              {time} 1700

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. BOEHNER. I yield the gentleman 1 additional minute.
  Mr. PENCE. Last Wednesday was not a good day in the House, but today
is worse. Today we see politics overwhelming this institution. The
American people are tired.
  So let me say again, without the din of the gavel, I urge my
colleagues to vote "no" on this resolution, put attention back on the
work that the American people sent us here to perform, and that is to
serve the interests of their families and the interests of this Nation
with everything we've got. I'm with Joe; vote "no."
  Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of our time.
  Mr. Speaker, over the month of August, when Members were home in
their districts, the American people were speaking loudly, and both
Democrats and Republicans heard the message, I think, loud and clear.
But as we stand here today, I would think the American people are
probably looking at us wondering, do they really understand?
  The American people are saying enough is enough; enough of the
politics here in Washington, enough of the spending, enough of the big
government takeover. And yet, here we are on the floor of the House
today debating a resolution that should not be here, putting a man's
name in the record books of disapproving of his behavior.
  The gentleman from South Carolina admitted that he had made a
mistake; he called the President and apologized. And yet, here we are
on the floor of the House of Representatives debating a resolution
describing his behavior. I think it's wrong. And I think we will rue
the day that we set this precedent and brought this resolution to the
  I would just ask all my colleagues to remember what it is that we're
doing here and the precedent that's being set. It's wrong. So I would
ask all my colleagues to do the right thing, to stand up and to vote
"no" on this resolution. Let's all respect our colleague who admitted
his mistake and apologized. Let's all respect him. And the way that we
do that is to vote "no" on this resolution.
  Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to close this discussion today
using the balance of the time.
  Mr. Speaker, the Republican leader earlier referenced the great
preacher whose reference can be found in the third chapter of the Book
of Ecclesiastes. He said there's a time and a place for everything. I
agree with that. I believe very seriously that there is going to be a
time for us to discuss health care, a time for us to discuss energy
policies, education, and the economy. But Mr. Speaker, the rules of
this House provide the vehicle by which we carry out those discussions.
If the rules are not honored, if the rules of this House are not there
to maintain order, we can never get to these discussions and do so in a
way that would make the people of our great country proud.
  The gentlelady from Michigan indicated that this is a teachable
moment. Yes, it is. This is a time for us to teach--not just by
precept, but by example--that which we say to our children, that which
we say to our constituents, that there are certain things that you do
and certain things that you don't do. And when you do those things that
you don't do, the proper thing to do is to show proper contrition, not
the way that you may think is proper, but the accepted form of
contrition. And the accepted form of contrition when the rules of this
body are violated is to come to this floor and to request the apology
of these Members. And until that is done, Mr. Speaker, proper
contrition has not been made.
  My father used to teach me all the time, Son, he would say, The first
sign of a good education is good manners. I took that to heart. And I
would hope that this body today would demonstrate to all of those
schoolchildren who are looking in on these proceedings that we are here
to demonstrate what is proper decorum for you to follow in your
classrooms. We must here today support our teachers and help them
educate our children.
  Silence gives consent. We cannot be silent in this matter, because we
do not consent to the conduct of Mr. Wilson.
  Mr. CUMMINGS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Resolution.
  Congressman Wilson's outburst was a clear violation of the House
  How will we serve as a model of democracy--around the globe, and to
our children here at home--if we cannot be the change we seek?
  That said-- we must focus on the most important issue at hand.
  That issue is not the insulting, disrespectful and inappropriate
remarks of a single Congressman.
  It is the lack of hope for 18,000 people in this nation who die each
year for one reason: They lack health insurance.
  It is the future faced by my neighbor who chooses between paying for
his chemotherapy or paying for his groceries.
  The debate over Congressman Wilson's disgraceful remarks does not
help one child in Baltimore get treatment for diabetes.
  It does not help one senior citizen in Columbia, Maryland, pay for
the prescription drugs that Medicare Part D left behind.
  This episode has not stopped working, insured Americans from lying
awake at night, frightened beyond belief because in the blink of an
eye, both their job and insurance could disappear.
  Our children are too precious.
  Our families are too important.
  Our nation is at too critical a crossroads for us to fall prey and be
distracted from our goal.
  So, I rise in support of this Resolution, not because what
Representative Wilson did was reprehensible--though it was--but because
all 435 Members have to live by the rules of the House.
  I ask that my colleagues join me in support of this resolution and
uphold the dignity of this great institution by voting yes.
  More importantly, I ask that as soon as we finish this matter, and we
join together again, that we finally pass meaningful healthcare reform.
  Because nothing could be worse than one more American suffering or
dying because they cannot afford the care they need to live.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, Representative Joe Wilson's outburst at
the joint session of Congress last week was inappropriate. However,
Representative Wilson has already apologized for his actions. He was
right to apologize, and President Obama graciously accepted his
apology. Now it's time to move on to the substance of the health care
reform bill.
  Even President Obama has called for an end to the partisan bickering
over the health care bill. However, with the introduction and
consideration of this resolution, it is clear that the Democrat
leadership has rejected this call.
  A majority of Americans oppose the Government-run healthcare plan
that the House Democrat leadership is pushing. However, instead

[Page H9534]

of debating the substance of the bill and addressing the concerns of
the American people, it is clear that the majority would rather reopen
old wounds with this resolution and divert attention back to an
incident that is over.
  What is it that the Democrats are trying to divert attention away
from? Is it the fact that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office
has declared that their current health care reform proposal, H.R. 3200,
"Does not contain any restrictions on noncitizens--whether legally or
illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently--
participating in the [taxpayer-subsidized health insurance] exchange?"
Is it the fact that Republican amendments to make clear that no
benefits would be given to illegal aliens were defeated by the
Democrats on party-line votes?
  Regardless, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat majority's insistence on
demanding an apology from a man who has already apologized is a waste
of time at best and a purposeful diversion at worst. The American
people deserve better.
  We do not have time for these partisan tactics when we should be
addressing the grave concerns of the American people about the merits
of the current health care reform proposal.
  Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this
Resolution of Disapproval. As members of the House of Representatives,
it is our responsibiltiy to set an example of civility in our
deliberations. We have a diversity of views and we do not always agree.
But it is incumbent upon us to respect people and their office, even
when we disagree with their views.
  Representive Wilson's outburst demonstrated a lack of civility and
decorum. It set a poor example for those who have entrusted us with
this office. It is worth pointing out that this type of behavior has
been increasing in recent months throughout the country. We've seen it
on display all summer in town halls and in the disrespectful tone
reflected by some radio and television commentators. As members of
Congress, we must set an example. We must set the standard for
respectful dialogue and disagreement.
  Today's resolution is an opportunity for us to come together and
reject incivility. Let's turn the page.
  Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I
move the previous question on the resolution.
  The previous question was ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the resolution.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, this 15-
minute vote on adopting House Resolution 744 will be followed by 5-
minute votes on motions to suspend the rules with regard to House
Resolution 317, if ordered, H.R. 22, and H.R. 3137.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 240,
nays 179, answered "present" 5, not voting 10, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 699]


     Adler (NJ)
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Brown, Corrine
     Carson (IN)
     Castor (FL)
     Connolly (VA)
     Davis (AL)
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (IL)
     Davis (TN)
     Donnelly (IN)
     Edwards (MD)
     Edwards (TX)
     Gordon (TN)
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Hall (NY)
     Hastings (FL)
     Herseth Sandlin
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kilpatrick (MI)
     Kirkpatrick (AZ)
     Klein (FL)
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lee (CA)
     Lewis (GA)
     Lofgren, Zoe
     Markey (CO)
     Markey (MA)
     McCarthy (NY)
     Meek (FL)
     Meeks (NY)
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Moore (KS)
     Moran (VA)
     Murphy (CT)
     Murphy (NY)
     Murphy, Patrick
     Nadler (NY)
     Neal (MA)
     Pastor (AZ)
     Pingree (ME)
     Polis (CO)
     Price (NC)
     Rothman (NJ)
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Scott (GA)
     Scott (VA)
     Smith (WA)
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Van Hollen
     Wasserman Schultz
     Wilson (OH)


     Barton (TX)
     Bishop (UT)
     Bono Mack
     Brady (TX)
     Broun (GA)
     Brown (SC)
     Brown-Waite, Ginny
     Burton (IN)
     Coffman (CO)
     Davis (KY)
     Deal (GA)
     Diaz-Balart, L.
     Diaz-Balart, M.
     Franks (AZ)
     Garrett (NJ)
     Gingrey (GA)
     Hall (TX)
     Hastings (WA)
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jordan (OH)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kline (MN)
     Lee (NY)
     Lewis (CA)
     Lungren, Daniel E.
     McCarthy (CA)
     McMorris Rodgers
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Moore (WI)
     Moran (KS)
     Murphy, Tim
     Poe (TX)
     Price (GA)
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Ryan (WI)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Thompson (PA)
     Wilson (SC)
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)

                        ANSWERED "PRESENT"--5

     Frank (MA)

                             NOT VOTING--10

     Barrett (SC)

                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (during the vote). There are 2 minutes
remaining in this vote.

                              {time} 1732

  Mr. BRADY of Texas and Ms. MOORE of Wisconsin changed their vote from
"yea" to "nay."
  Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts and Ms. KOSMAS changed their vote from
"nay" to "yea."
  So the resolution was agreed to.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).

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