September 14th, 2009
06:51 PM ET
9 years ago

Boehner: I'll vote against any resolution criticizing Wilson

Wilson on Sunday described his loud retort to President Barack Obama's statement that illegal immigrants would not be covered under the Democrats' health-care bill as 'a town hall moment'.

Wilson on Sunday described his loud retort to President Barack Obama's statement that illegal immigrants would not be covered under the Democrats' health-care bill as 'a town hall moment'.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Monday he would vote against any resolution admonishing Rep. Joe Wilson for his outburst during the president's address to Congress on health care last Wednesday.

"Rep. Wilson has apologized to the president, and the president accepted his apology. Last Thursday, Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi said that she believed it was time to move on and discuss health care. I couldn't agree more, and that's why I plan to vote 'no' on this resolution," Boehner said in a written statement.

"Instead of pursuing this type of petty partisanship, we should be working together to lower costs and expand access to affordable, high-quality health coverage on behalf of the American people."

House Democratic leaders pledged to move a resolution of disapproval if Wilson failed to apologize on the House floor for breaking rules governing appropriate conduct on the House floor.

Pelosi and other Democratic leaders plan to discuss the resolution at their regular leadership meeting Monday night, but two leadership aides said it's likely to be debated on the floor on Tuesday.

Though most Republicans have agreed it was inappropriate for Wilson to shout "You lie" at the president, several GOP aides told CNN they expect Republicans to oppose the resolution.

One House Republican leadership aide predicted the vote would break down largely on party lines. "The majority of Republicans are expected to vote against the resolution, because at this point it's nothing more than political gamesmanship," said the aide, who spoke anonymously because the vote on the resolution has not been scheduled yet.

Wilson on Sunday described his loud retort to President Barack Obama's statement that illegal immigrants would not be covered under the Democrats' health-care bill as "a town hall moment." But he made it clear he would not apologize on the House floor. "I called immediately, I did apologize, but I believe one apology is sufficient," he said.

Wilson returned to the floor Monday during the time allotted to members to give one-minute give speeches on the topic of their choice. But Wilson spoke about his town hall meetings on health care over the congressional recess and made no mention of his comments last Wednesday night or any apology.

Last week Pelosi called the episode "unfortunate" and told reporters at her weekly news conference, "It's time for us to talk about health care and not Mr. Wilson." But when Pelosi met with Democratic leaders later that day her colleagues argued that unless Wilson apologized on his own they would want a formal vote on a resolution of disapproval, according to several Democratic sources.

"The issue at hand is one of conduct, not speech," one Democratic leadership aide said.

"Congressman Wilson's outburst during the joint session was a breach of decorum and brought discredit to the House. It is common for members to address such breaches themselves rather than force action by the full House. Failure to respond would mean consent for that kind of conduct. In the absence of an apology, the House must act to admonish his behavior. These are the standards members are held to when they take the oath of office," the aide said.

Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa this weekend began circulating a letter among House Republicans urging Wilson not to apologize on the House floor.

The letter states, "We urge that you hold your ground against those who seek partisan advantage and reject all demands for additional redress. When the president of the United States accepts an apology, no observer has an additional claim."

Republican aides said the reaction over Wilson's outburst has given them an opportunity to elevate their concerns about the issue of illegal immigration in the health-care debate.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, one Republican leadership aide predicted, "If there is a debate, you're going to see Republicans talk about policy and not Joe Wilson."

Filed under: Joe Wilson • John Boehner • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. unshrub

    Of course, and I bet he congratulated Wilson in private.

    September 14, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |

    I am a democrate an i had always thought of mr boehner as a fair mined indivsual an a some what left leaning repubulican buit i guess that i was wrong in my estamation he should not only be in favor of a resoulation but mr wilson should be censured on the floor on congress for showing such disrespect for the office of the presicidency even if he doesnt have any respect for the president if this same same thing had happen while georgie prodgey was president the entire republican adminstration would have blwon up until they had had thwe person responsibly for it impeached an thrown out of the congress for good . i recently lost a job for just speaking my mind within the workplace an mangament didnt like it because i was telling the truth. they can't stand the light of the sunshine when it is shone onto them thank you

    September 14, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. Ciera

    Of course you addition to always marching in lock-step, you're just another Republican dumb ...well, you fill in the blanks.

    September 14, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  4. Tom B

    Ah the party of No. No civility. No respect. No ability to follow the rules. No responsiblity for one's own actions.

    September 14, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  5. FL

    Oboma is not telling the truth. The democrats are wasting time. If oboma wants respect he sould act like a president and lead. He claims to have an open door but his door is closed and he is off on the campaign trail. Hey, president the campaign is over and get back in your office. Open your door and listen to your opponents. Remember not to call them stupid ,ignorant, or racist. While your at it make sure Acorn doesn't get a cent of taxpayers money. rememer the time we "must act now" "we can not afford to wait" ? That did not work too well, waist of money. The president sould never run around like chicken little.Makes you look stupid and no one believes you anymore.

    September 14, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  6. Angi's Mom

    For once, Pelosi is right. Let's move on. Use that energy to fight for a major health reform bill.

    September 14, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  7. Fed up

    Where can I mail a contribution to Wilson?

    September 14, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  8. sara

    His apology wasn't
    REAL. I want Joe to stop "indoctrinating" my children on how to DISRESPECT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE CHAMBER IN WHICH HE SAT.

    September 14, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  9. ib

    This is stupid. When are these hyprocrites going to stop covering for Rangel; Frank and Dodd. They are the ones that should be punished.

    September 14, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  10. toohip

    Would you vote against a resolution criticizing a democrat for similar behavior? I think not, "Mr. pretend to be non-partisan guy." The behavior we've seen in this country recently-behavior often promoted by irresponsible Republican leadership-needs to stop.

    It's all part of the Republican agenda to bring down Obama. Please stop.

    September 14, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. Steve (the real one)

    Many of you liberals will complain that the GOP is circling the wagons and protecting Wilson. I have but one question to ask. Pelosi ever remove Rangel from his chairmanship yet? Why not? OK two questions!

    September 14, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  12. President George Hussien Washington

    Republican trash: No respect for the institution at all, just plain Sick.

    September 14, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. Mike from Vicksburg

    SOOOOO now he wants to do away with petty partisanship. This man is an arrogant ......

    September 14, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. Casey | Ruth, CA

    peas in a pod... birds of a feather and all.

    What else would you expect from the "good ole boy" Party of No?

    September 14, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  15. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    This guy should be given a medal, not a reprimand. My check is in the mail.

    September 14, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. Gregory B

    Yes, congressman Wilson should apologize on the house floor. If we are going to have civil debate about anything we can not have outbursts like that from anyone. The rules of the house indicate that he should be reprimand. This would be a great time to enforce the rules, so that this does not happen again.

    September 14, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. Jane

    That's right – show more ignorance – typical right wingnuts.

    September 14, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  18. Avram

    Imagine what the response would have been from the Republican leadership if a Democrat had yelled "you lie" when President Bush made his false claim that Iraq was trying to aquire yellow-cake uranium. They wouldn't have made the person apology on the house floor. They would have tried to have the person arrested for treason.

    September 14, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  19. JumpUp

    Thing is, Bohner, no one gives a crap what you do.

    And Wilson should have apologized like a man and then shut the heck up. Never go on and on bragging about inapropriate behavior. Now we think you're a total moron and a censure isn't enough.

    September 14, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  20. Terri

    If it was the other way around, he would vote yes. Republicans are a big bunch of hyprocrites.

    September 14, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  21. Joyce in South Carolina

    You can bet that if a Democrat had been this rude, Boehner would be in favor of more than admonishment. It is not partisan to ask for an apology for his rudeness. There should be respect for the President, regardless of his party. I think Wilson should apologize to all the people of South Carolina and all Americans.

    September 14, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  22. Oh my!

    Now that one Republican has shown that he has a spine, why don't the rest of you follow suit?

    September 14, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  23. catmom

    Republicans continue to show their disrespect for the President and for our country. There should be no doubt espicially after listening to Rep. Demint at their hate rally on Sat. that Republicans have no intentions on helping to clean up the mess they made. How in the world could anyone take them serious. I can only imagine the fake outrage they would have had if anything like this would have happened when Bush/ Cheney were lying us into an unnecessary war.

    September 14, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  24. Melvin

    What Wilson has done is disgraceful and the GOP just wants to sweep it under the carpet and pretend nothing happened. MR Boehner and his colleagues will burn in Hell.

    September 14, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  25. Winkzilla

    The Republican party is the party of adolescence. Freedom is only for the loud and rude.

    September 14, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
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