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

Boehner: I'll vote against any resolution criticizing Wilson

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="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. Gerry

    John Boehner and Joe Wilson can take their fascist attitudes and take a leap into the lake of fire. They are racists who can’t use the words they want to use; so they hid behind words that will not get them shunned by all civilized people. Shame on you John and Joe, bigotry will never win and you will be judged losers whose closed minds made it impossible for you to accept a black man as president.

    September 14, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  2. Andy

    Republican should know that the president need to be respected, i think some people need parental control. if this crap should behave this way how will his children behave...people are watching every deed..anyway by looking into their eyes i can see hatred...nothing more.

    September 14, 2009 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
1 2 3 4