The now infamous “you lie” outburst from South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson during an Obama speech on health care reform last week has sparked a frenzied debate on House decorum.
The House Democrats met Monday evening and agreed to continue on with a resolution if disapproval, according to CNN reports.
Kristie Greco, spokeswoman for House Majority James Clybourne said the resolution “goes directly with the issue of his conduct on the House floor.”
Monday’s discussion highlighted “how this speaks to the breach of decorum alone, and not addressing the issue sets a precedence for bad behavior,” Greco said.
She added, “we’re not the British Parliament for a reason.”
House rules state that each party is alloted 30 minutes to debate their arguments for the resolution. Democrats have not yet released the name of who will speck on their behalf.
House Republican John Boehner of Ohio said plans to vote against any motion to punish WIlson for his outburst.
“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.”
In reference to his outburst, Wilson said his one time apology is more the sufficient to express his remorse calling his outburst a “town hall moment.”
“I called immediately, I did apologize, but I believe one apology is sufficient,” he said.
“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 House member Steve King of Iowa has sent a letter urging the Congressman not to make another apology.
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.”
As for the conference Tuesday, one republican leader foreshadowed, “if there’s a debate, you’re going to see Republicans talk about policy and not Joe Wilson.