Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina has become the first Congressman in history to be formally “rebuked” in the hisotry of the Congress.
And then there’s Rep. Murtha of Pennsylvania; a “one-man scandal machine” (as one pundit put it) who started out with AbScam bribes in the 1980’s and is currently pulling down Rep Vsclosky of Indiana with him for taking kickbacks from government contracts.
All came before Rep. Wilson. All are Democrats.
But let one Republican “speak truth to power,” and By God, that insubordination will not be tolerated!
WASHINGTON – Bitterly divided along party lines, the House formally rebuked Republican Rep. Joe Wilson Tuesday for shouting “You lie” at President Barack Obama during last week’s nationally televised speech to Congress.
The final tally late Tuesday was 240-179, generally but not entirely along party lines. It was 233 Democrats and seven Republicans voting to chastise Wilson, 167 Republicans and 12 Democrats opposing the measure and five Democrats merely voting “present.”
One of the Democrats voting “present,” Barney Frank of Massachusetts, said, “I think it’s bad precedent to put us in charge of deciding whether people act like jerks. I don’t have time to monitor everyone’s civility.”
The Office of the House Historian said the resolution marked the first time in the 220-year history of the House that a member had been admonished for speaking out while the president was giving an address.
Rep John Carter of Texas, Republican Cponference Secretary, had a very strong objection to the censure:
“We are witnessing perhaps the most blatant display of moral and legal hypocrisy in the history of this body,” says House Republican Conference Secretary John R. Carter of Texas. “Speaker Pelosi and President Obama have allowed Democrats at the highest levels of the federal government to violate the tax laws of the United States with impunity, blocked all attempts by this body to hold them accountable, and have made a mockery of our system of justice and the Rule of Law. Yet they find it important to hold a vote against a Republican for two words blurted out during a speech by the President, for which he has already apologized. We are witnessing truly malignant partisanship of historic proportion.”
Carter introduced a privileged resolution earlier this year calling for removal of Rangel as Chairman of House Ways and Means, the House committee that oversees the IRS, while Rangel remained under investigation for tax violations, among other ethics charges. The resolution was blocked from consideration or debate on a party line vote by Democrats, in spite of the removal being supported by the editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, and numerous other major daily newspapers historically favorable to Democrats.
Carter also introduced the Rangel Rule legislation that would provide the same waiver of penalties and interest on back taxes for all Americans as that enjoyed by Rangel. That measure has also been blocked by House Democrats.
“It is becoming increasingly apparent that the only way this House will restore the Rule of Law is for the American people to overthrow it,” says Carter. “It is time for a revolution at the polls in November 2010.”
Here’s a Congressman who “gets it.” I’m sending this guy a contribution today.