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 Barack 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 is 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.
Wilson's outburst violated rules of decorum, according to House leaders.
Florida Republican Sen. George LeMieux, who was sworn in on Thursday as the successor to Mel Martinez, criticized Wilson's action.
"That was embarrassing and shameful," said LeMieux, who watched the address from the House visitors' gallery. "Everybody in the chamber just gasped. He should be censured."
Wilson has raised more than $700,000 in campaign contributions since his outburst, Republican officials said Friday. Democratic officials report that Wilson's likely opponent in next year's election, former Marine Rob Miller, has brought in more than $1 million since Wednesday's speech.