March 23rd, 2010
06:21 PM ET
4 years ago

Hoyer criticizes House Republicans' behavior during debate

Democrat Steny Hoyer criticized Republicans Tuesday for their behavior during the health care debate.
Democrat Steny Hoyer criticized Republicans Tuesday for their behavior during the health care debate.

(CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer denounced House Republicans Tuesday for their behavior on the House floor and for inciting protestors outside the U.S. Capitol during the health care debate this weekend.

"Members of Congress ought not to act like some people acted in town meetings," Hoyer told reporters.

While Hoyer criticized Texas Republican Congressman Randy Neugebauer's outburst - Neugebauer yelled "baby killer" while Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak spoke on the House floor Sunday - the majority leader reiterated that he didn't believe any action to reprimand Neugebauer was necessary. He said that the Republican's statement released Monday was sufficient and an apology on the House floor wasn't needed.

Neugebauer said in his statement he shouted, "It's a baby killer," and that he was referring to an agreement Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats had struck with the White House - not to Stupak himself.

Hoyer read Neugebauer's statement aloud to reporters, noting, "He said he said 'it's' - I take him at his word." But Hoyer maintained that Democrats on the floor Sunday night only heard the "baby killer" part of Neugebauer's comment.

The Maryland Democrat, who has served in the House for 30 years, criticized the GOP's tactics during the health care debate. "It is not good for the civility in our democracy," Hoyer said. "And it is not a good lesson for those who are watching us, who may not have the restraint that hopefully adults in the Congress of United States have."

Hoyer said it was not fitting with regular order in the Capitol for members to cheer on protesters inside the House chamber or to hang signs from windows in the Capitol, or for Republican members to stand on the balcony just outside the House floor waving signs to protesters below.

"It doesn't mean people can't carry signs on the grounds, or talk to and exhort people who come here. That's certainly appropriate. We all do that. The essence of democracy is discussion and debate, not confrontation for confrontation's sake."

Hoyer said both Republican and Democratic leaders need to set an example.

"We ought to all be careful as leaders in this country to conduct ourselves in a way that demonstrates to the public how we ought to act," he
said.


Filed under: Health care • Steny Hoyer
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. cspurgeon

    I don't think their apologies should be accepted. They are just shooting off their angry mouths to use in fundraisers. Let the fools part with their money for these dispicable non ethics types....

    March 23, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. phoenix86

    I remember the democrats comparing Bush to Hitler. Where was Hoyer then?

    March 23, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. Steve

    I think it's time for real change. Throw out all these uncivilized goons and elect people who can act like adults, even when they loose... What a bunch of cry babies! Elections have consequences.

    March 23, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  4. Violet

    I think the way the republicans acted at the Capitol was a disgrace prior to the vote. You would think they were at a republican convention pep rally not at a government building.. They were hanging off of balconies with signs, letters and screaming down into the crowd. It was disgusting and showed no class at all.

    March 23, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Donna

    You know, I just don't understand how come the Republicans are so hostile towards healthcare (and behaving badly). If people would shut their mouths and open their minds, perhaps even use their brains, I believe they'd see that there is a lot of good stuff for regular people. Shame on those who are so forcefully opposed to this bill. It's time for Republicans to turn the page or maybe the tidal wave of backlash will turn upon them.

    March 23, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. RON

    What do you expect from a bunch of idiots. This is why the country was in such bad shape when Bush and the compassionate conservatives were in power.

    March 23, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. haren

    it took him few hours to change the wording from 'he is baby killer' to
    'it is baby killer'

    March 23, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  8. harold

    Republicans are mad cause they know the new Law will be as popular as the Medicare Law is now.. And they will lose in the next elections.. Hey repubicans In Congress we are gonna strip you all of your own Health Insurance and we are gonna start all over on it for you.. So be patient.. will ya?

    March 23, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  9. vette gal

    I agree. First of all, you are elected to a dignified position and should act as such. Secondly, by doing this type of thing, he is telling his constituents that this type of behavior is acceptable. No wonder we have all these protests where people are yelling, screaming, spitting and name calling. They see their representative do it while in session and feel they can do the same. The thing that really got me though was the republican standing on the balcony with Pelosi's picture goading on the crowd during the health care debate. What kind of people elect this type of person? Certainly, not any with brains that are capable of debating their positions without resorting to a very low level.

    March 23, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  10. Libertarian

    Funny how these Republicans continue to say that the Dems aren't listening to Americans. I've heard plenty that want Health Care reform. oooohhh...wait.....Repubs mean that Dems are listening to JUST THE PEOPLE that AGREE WITH REPUBS. Dudes...you lost the election because you soooooo screwed up America. Let someone else right the ship and then maybe you can have another turn.

    March 23, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  11. XM218

    The Republicans behavior??????????
    My God look how the Democrats behaved during this debacle.
    Look out in November Dems, your gone.

    March 23, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. Tom from TX

    An apology on the House floor is absolutely needed....are you kidding?

    March 23, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. Tony Bui, used to be Rep.

    It's painful to watch, listen to those "republicans' expressing their view in such manner, including some lected ones.

    ....the same with watching Foxnews on Sunday night.

    "Fair & Balance", "We present the facts & you decide" is that Foxnews slogan???

    Oopp! How did I get into Foxnews? May be they are both ... liccans.

    March 23, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. Jack

    The health care issue has been negleted for many years by both the republicans and democrats and it is politics as usual, neither the republicans or democrats care about how the outcome of this bill will effect the american people. As I watched President Obama the last couple of weeks meeting behind closed doors making deals to get votes to pass the health care reform bill I am reminded of one of the greatest leaders of my generation Martin Luther King when he said " A genuine leader is not a searcher for consenus but a molder of consensus"

    March 23, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  15. Joyce

    Whether health reform is right or wrong, I expect our elected officials to act with decorum and with some dignity. This is the US House of Representatives – not a football field! Shame on all those who acted so inappropriately.

    March 23, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. Larry Caplinger

    Stumpy, you need to cleanup your own back yard!!!!!!!!!! Get a grip

    March 23, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  17. lovable liberal

    Republicans will screech that Hoyer is being uncivil to notice and speak about Republican incivility.

    March 23, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  18. GuyInVA

    I loved Nancy Pelosi's comment to Steny Hoyer about the health care vote when she was unaware she could be heard by the microphone. "We've got to get to 217 Steny. No one wants to be the deciding vote on this." Why not? If this is so wonderful, every democrat should have wanted, requested, or demanded to be vote 216. The winner should have gotten a trophy and a t-shirt that said "I was 216." Give every other socialistist who voted for it a t-shirt that says "I'm with 216."

    That was a nice signing ceremony today. Broad daylight with cameras rolling. Very different from closed door planning sessions and midnight Christmas Eve votes. Using White House numbers, the president ignored the deaths of 246 people who went without health care coverage for those 2 days. Sad.

    March 23, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  19. Pragmatic

    The republicans on the balcony looked like teenagers on spring break – whipping up the crowd – only thing missing was dropping trousers and "show me your tits" ...

    Free speech & rational discussion are one thing: chaos is quite another.

    March 23, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  20. Buddy Gilmour

    Steny, don't worry, nobody considers politicans role models anymore.

    March 23, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  21. frank

    get this guy out of office NOW!
    30 years...never had a real job
    enough is enough....what a fake and a fraud
    he doen't represent..he does whatever he wants

    March 23, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  22. Larry Caplinger

    Mr Hoyer, Interesting you are fast to reprimand others (Republicans) but what about Mr Franks, Dodds (financial mess), Mr Rangle (tax avoider), and other Democrats (some sexual deviants) who failed to hold up their responsibility? Seems to me your own back yard requires cleaning up before you are justified in pointing fingers! No sense trying to justify your behavior, it is clear you are biased in your no-so-professional demeanor. So long to you and other Democrats in November!

    March 23, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. HypocriCNNation!

    Fantastic Job Congressman Steny Hoyer D-Maryland. For The Past Year, The Republicans In Congress Have Been Behaving Like Grade School Thugs!

    March 23, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. Ray E.

    It's freedom of speech, Hoyer. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! It is way past time for you to go. Perhaps in November.

    March 23, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  25. Desmond in Canada

    Observing impartially from Canada, the behaviour of the Repubs in the House is consistent with their general disposition that validates chronic obnoxious behaviours by their rank and file. These include the so called Christians(and I speak as one). Tragically, it seems to be in their social DNA. Witness so called leaders like the Coulter, Palin, Limbaugh, the Robertson and scores of others. These are people who perpetuate the image of the "Ugly and Stupid American".

    March 23, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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