Lone vote cast for keeping term 'lunatic' in federal law
December 5th, 2012
07:18 PM ET
2 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.

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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. Patrick

    so Congress votes to eliminate "lunatic" from the Federal Government and Jim DeMint announces he's stepping down? Coincidence? I don't think so.

    December 6, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. Pam from Iowa

    but there are plenty of lunatics out there!
    Palin, Limbaugh, Trump......gotta call em like they are!!!

    December 6, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. plain&simple

    Lunatic fringe is what needs removal from the federal government. The word itself is not the problem!

    December 6, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Hogan's Goat

    This is a clear violation of Wheaton's Law. Give him forty lashes with a bull's peter.

    December 6, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Jason

    They've finally got something done but it turns out to be a useless piece of legislation.

    December 6, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Michael Ross

    It's funny that the House passes this bill and one lone Congressman votes against it and the only reason I can see for him doing so is to get some face time with the press to bash the POTUS and do some grandstanding. Did his nay vote on this issue reflect the will of the people in his district? Was he voting his conscience? Signs point to no. He was doing nothing more than drawing attention to himself to get some free publicity. Of course he doesn't mention while he's up there that not long after they voted on this bill THEY ALL WENT HOME FOR A LONG WEEKEND!!! Seriously guys! You are going to gripe about the frivolity of wasting time on such a vote and say NOTHING about the HOUSE ditching out of work 2 days early? These guys have no sense of urgency. There's no leadership there, no real debate. We've got several hundred public workers waiting on 5 or 6 guys to make some kind of decision (POTUS, Boehner, Reid, Geitner, etc.), versus being part of the decision themselves. These guys should be chained to their desks right now answering the American public as to what they are going to do about the debt, jobs, automatic spending cuts. Instead they are heading off for home to wait it out. As if there's nothing else to do. Even if they are waiting on word from their "leadership" don't they think there are bills that can be debated, planning that can happen for next year, maybe actually read some letters from their constituency. Work?

    December 6, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Smart Guy

    Gohmert was the only one who was o.k. with the term "lunatic" as he is the biggest LUNATIC in Washington, D.C.

    December 6, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Really?!?

    With all of the issues we currently face in America and our lawmakers are spending time arguing a word?!? How about we keep focus on what's really hurting our great country and try to fix that.

    December 6, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Scott

    Really, with all the real problems facing our country, Congress is going to vote on the use of a word in federal law? That probably wasn't really used that much to begin with. No wonder we are barrelling toward the fiscal cliff without the hint of a deal...no one is actually debating the real issues that American's care about.

    December 6, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. realitybites

    Somewhere in Texas a villiage is missing it's Idiot. (Wow this can be used for more than just Bush. A gift that just keeps giving.

    December 6, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Hogan's Goat

    So this weasel wants to keep the word because he's not through calling names with it yet? And of course, he is a Republican. Why are they all so inhumanly cruel and mean?

    December 6, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Michail Ross observed on page 6:

    "... Of course he doesn't mention while he's up there that not long after they voted on this bill THEY ALL WENT HOME FOR A LONG WEEKEND!!! Seriously guys! You are going to gripe about the frivolity of wasting time on such a vote and say NOTHING about the HOUSE ditching out of work 2 days early? ..."
    -----------
    I believe that it was Eric Cantor who released the House schedule for 2013. They have scheduled 60 full time days, for the House to be "in session." That's it. It's not like they need the months of Aug, Sep and Oct to campaign for re-election, either. 60 days. Thats' all, Folks.

    December 6, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Hogan's Goat

    "People have become too fearful of words." How's that again? "Lunatic" literally means someone who has been driven mad by moonlight shining on them in their sleep. It's as unreal as unicorns, and shouldn't be used in a legal document any more than "changeling" or "Sasquatch."

    December 6, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. ToldUso

    Stupid is as Gohmert does.

    December 6, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. lolo

    And this is important why? The GOP has more pressing legislation to worry about. The clown club strikes again. Come on 2014.

    December 6, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    His picture IS the definition of lunatic.

    December 6, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Paganini

    Wow, Congress, that's really great. Thanks for tackling the really big issues of the day. I can't believe we have to pay these idiots. By the way, why in the hell do they have a 'long weekend'? Isn't their anuual Christmas break coming up. Tis' a shame – so much money being paid with so little production to show for it. We'd all have been fired long ago.

    December 6, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Greg in Arkansas

    Sounds like SOMBODY just didn't want to up-date his resume because he couldn't think of a suitable replacement for the word "lunatic" when listing his personal traits.

    December 6, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. roro

    That's because the word lunatic describes him!

    December 6, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. RF

    Would the fact that the congressman is from Texas have anything to do with it?

    December 6, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Mike in SA

    In reponse to Pam from Iowa (and many others) yes, we do need ot keep the word in use in Washington, specially since Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Geithner, and other lunitics are still crapping away our futures...

    December 6, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Mike in SA

    In reponse to Pam from Iowa (and many others) yes, we do need ot keep the word in use in Washington, specially since Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Geithner, and other lunitics of the same fiscal vein are in office...you know the ones, the ones who think you can spend your way out of debt and that you have to pass bill before you read them.

    December 6, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Facts don't Lie

    nice that Congress can get together to light our Christmas tree and get rid of the word lunatic but can't pass a jobs bill or agree on something to keep our taxes from exploding on January 1st. And you wonder why their approval rating is around 11%

    December 6, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. Greg

    Why would a lunatic want to remove the word lunatic? Gohmert rivals Michelle Bachman for the biggest moron in congress. When I use the word moron it's not being used as a insult, it's used as fact.

    December 6, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Mike in SA wrote:

    In reponse to Pam from Iowa (and many others) yes, we do need ot keep the word in use in Washington, specially since Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Geithner, and other lunitics of the same fiscal vein are in office...you know the ones, the ones who think you can spend your way out of debt and that you have to pass bill before you read them.
    ------------
    Spending your way out of a recession is a proven practice, most often practiced by Republican administrations. It's called Stimulus, and was practiced several times by the most recent Republican POTUS, GWB.

    Spending your way out of debt makes more sense than tax cutting your way to economic prosperity, which has never created jobs. The result has always been the same: an economic boom on Wall Street, followed by an economic bust on Main Street.

    The practice of cutting taxes for the "job creators" simply creates prosperity for investors, but it does not create middle class jobs. Just today, Citigroup announced a 16% increase in profits over a year ago, yet they also announced plans to cut another 10,000 jobs.

    December 6, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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