Lone vote cast for keeping term 'lunatic' in federal law
December 5th, 2012
07:18 PM ET
5 years ago

Lone vote cast for keeping term 'lunatic' in federal law

(CNN) - The U.S. House passed a bill Wednesday to do away with the word "lunatic" in federal law with a sole congressman voting against the measure, insisting in Washington the word still has an application.

Three hundred ninety-eight congressmen voted in favor of passing the bill. Thirty two did not vote and one, Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, voted against the measure, which passed the Senate in May with no opposition.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

The House voted on the bill, aimed at modernizing language referring to the mentally ill, Wednesday morning, just as Congress was leaving for a long weekend and ahead of the looming "fiscal cliff."

"I don't have a problem with lunatic being used in the federal law and apparently I was the only one on the floor here that didn't have a problem using the term lunatic," Gohmert said, in a speech on the House floor criticizing the Obama administration’s budget proposal.

"In fact, in occurred to me, that not only should we not use the term lunatic at a time when we are facing national bankruptcy if we don't get serious about our issues but we should also use the term to identify those who want to continue doing business as usual around this town."

Lawmakers and the public's frustration boils as Washington's continues to show its inability to reach common ground to avoid the fiscal cliff - a series of tax hikes and spending cuts set to go into effect at the beginning of the year if a deal is not struck between the opposing demands of the White House and congressional Republicans.

Gohmert chided President Barack Obama's administration for their opposition to extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2% of earners. Democrats paint the Republicans as holding middle-class incomes hostage for maintaining the Bush-era rates be extended for income of all levels. For their part, Republicans argue for closing loopholes and tax deductions to generate revenue to tame the nation's growing debt as well as reform for the tax code and entitlement programs.

Gohmert reiterated the GOP sentiment, saying wealthy people like Warren Buffett can still use the loopholes and deductions while the middle-income earners cannot.

"That's why we shouldn't eliminate the word lunatic. It really has application around this town," he said.

Filed under: Louie Gohmert
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. John

    Louie wanted to be in the news. Not for doing anything for the people who pay his salary. Just to be in the news.

    December 5, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  2. Name

    It had application in Texas

    December 5, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  3. MilitaryAF

    Louie is a prime example of a lunatic in action, thinking the Republicans are going to be able to prevent the top 2% from having their former tax-rates RETURN to pre-Bushwack levels 😉

    December 5, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  4. Deb in MT

    Well, if one is looking for a Congressman who epitomizes the word "lunatic', one need look no further than Louie Gohmert......

    December 5, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  5. J.V.Hodgson

    Two comments re Gohmert, takes one to know one.
    Second seems to me 498 congresspersons in both houses seem to want to avoid thier behaviour as being that of lunatics.... frankly who else would can spend weeks posturing while the fiscal cliff awaits, and these lunatics work effectively 3 days a week are just (House Republicans) taking another week off & get a six figure $ salary + perks and a staff and golden or cadillac pension and health care. They have no time to create bi partisan relationships only to be ideologue and say no and care more about being re-elected than the country, and apparently the first thing Republicans do on arrival after Monday lunch is ajoint staff meeting to re-read the grover pledge ( lest us lunatics forget) and then when legisaltion comes up ask staff to review against RNC policy positions and whether its ok to vote yes or no and when the bill is on the floor, disry that remind me to go and X come with me and wake me up when its time to vote, if its dem bill I know its no all the time.

    December 5, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  6. Sam

    Rep. Louie Gohmert would be the only one to want to band that term, he's probably been called that more than anyone in Congress.

    December 5, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  7. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Well, Louie should know what lunatic means ... he is one!

    December 5, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  8. Bob

    This is too easy. He likes the word because he is the word.

    December 5, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  9. Pander Bear

    That's because Gohmert is a lunatic himself and wants to represent the diversity of Terror babies and lunatic brood..

    December 5, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  10. Martha in CF

    He doesn't want to do away with the word describing himself I guess.

    December 5, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  11. A

    "That's why we shouldn't eliminate the word lunatic. It really has application around this town..."

    It sure does, Louie. And you're Exhibit A. Look out for the Ottoman Empire and their terror babies!

    December 5, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  12. Bill in Florida

    Guess he was talking about his on lunatic desire to keep taxes on the uber-wealthy low so that we can screw the 98%

    December 5, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  13. wiseup

    wiseup: Gohmertis the perfect example of a lunatic among other not so favorable adjectives.

    December 5, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  14. Mforward2012

    That's what we pay the teaparty big bucks for, constructing legislation that has little effect on ANYTHING while the Country falls apart? 2 solid years of Abortion issues, Planned Parenthood issues, Keystone Pipeline issues and this.(but blocking EVERY jobs Bill). PATHETIC

    December 5, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  15. fernace

    No1 I know of uses the word lunatic in reference to mentally ill people! We use it to refer to people who are perfectly sane, who act like they have lost their minds! I also can't believe this is something the federal government spends their time voting on! If anything that's a perfect example of lunacy! It's a 19th century terminology of people who go mad at the sight of the full moon & has ties in the lycanthropy myth! Should we ban the use of the word "mad" too, perhaps!? It also was used as a term for the mentally ill! Finally, I wish the government could vote this quickly on the financial cliff! Then, maybe, we wont need to use the term "lunatic" when we describe politicians in Washington!!

    December 5, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  16. Nah

    "Democrats paint the Republicans as holding middle-class incomes hostage for maintaining the Bush-era rates be extended for income of all levels. For their part, Republicans argue for closing loopholes and tax deductions to generate revenue to tame the nation's growing debt as well as reform for the tax code and entitlement programs."

    CNN said something neutral that described what Republicans believe and want to do?

    It's a miracle.

    December 6, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  17. bobden

    Sounds like a Texas republican.

    December 6, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  18. wiseup

    wiseup:instead of raising rates on thetop 2 % is rejectedby GOP and T-Party. Why? By By closing loop holes and cutting deductions GOP claim will do same thing.My question isthe GOP has not Provided any math and how far reaching with those loopholes and deductions . MY guess they will get into the middle class. If I am wrong, Give some detail.. This is very complicated.with a lot of unknown. Romney tried thisin his campaign. We all know how that worked out. The plan is very simple.Just raise rates on top 2%.then negotiation can begin on spending cuts.

    December 6, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  19. Thomas

    Only in Texas !

    December 6, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  20. Capone

    It sure does Louis.

    After all, you are still in Congress.

    December 6, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  21. Reince Your Priebus Daily

    Ironically, the term lunatic describes most Republican lawmakers very well.

    December 6, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  22. craig

    Ah, the lunatic ravings of yet another old white guy representing the GOP from the South. The word is just fine, and we probably do need it...to describe displays like his. As a legal term enshrined in laws? Nope. It has no clearly defined meaning and serves no purpose. Of course, this man probably doesn't know the difference.

    December 6, 2012 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  23. jmiller

    Memo to NE Texas: You might elect someone who understands that the word lunatic cannot carry any legal significance. In legal cases involving mental illness we have to use scientific terms, not whatever word we dream up. Don't worry, you'll still get the wackos jailed even if you use sciency words.

    December 6, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  24. crowtrob

    gohmert = lunatic fringe

    December 6, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  25. matt

    That is because Gohmert IS A LUNATIC

    December 6, 2012 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8