WASHINGTON – House Democratic leaders plan to vote early next week on whether to formally admonish Rep. Joe Wilson unless the South Carolina Republican apologizes on the House floor for interrupting President Obama’s address to Congress by yelling “You lie!”
Wilson apologized to the White House shortly after Obama’s speech on health care reform Wednesday night, and the president accepted his apology Thursday. But the lawmaker ignored a request from his party’s leaders to say he was sorry directly to House colleagues.
Absent such an apology, Democratic leaders will move forward with a resolution of disapproval or reprimand against Wilson, senior Democratic aides said Friday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., initially said she was not inclined to pursue formal punishment for the outburst, telling reporters Thursday morning, “It’s time for us to talk about health care and not Mr. Wilson.”
But Pelosi and other Democratic leaders decided later Thursday to pursue a resolution, aides said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters that he “would like to see Mr. Wilson come to the floor and apologize to the House.”
“He’s put the House in a very bad position,” Hoyer continued. “We invite the president of the United States to come and address a joint session of the Congress, and a member of the House – it’s one thing for public outcries – but a member of the House does something that in the 29 years that I’ve been here I haven’t seen. I think that’s something that needs to be done.”