In a rare action, the House rebuked one of its members Tuesday for shouting "you lie" at President Barack Obama last Wednesday, ending a weeklong standoff during which Democrats demanded a public apology that the lawmaker refused to give.
On a largely party-line vote, the House voted 240 to 179 to ratify a "resolution of disapproval" against Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., for interrupting Obama's speech last week before a joint session of Congress. Florida's representatives voted along party lines.
During the hourlong debate, Wilson refused to apologize, saying his private phone call to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was sufficient because Obama himself said the matter was closed the day after his speech.
"It is clear to the American people that there are far more important issues than what we are dealing with now. ... (Obama) graciously accepted my apology, and this issue is over," Wilson said.
"Joe is a good and honest man," Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, said in floor speech. "Just as it was wrong for my Democrat colleagues to boo former President Bush in this chamber, it was wrong for Joe Wilson to speak out of turn. The difference is that Joe Wilson apologized and the president very graciously accepted his apology.
''Every member in this chamber has uttered words they wish they could have said differently. I know Joe made this comment out of frustration because there seems to be a large gap between health care rhetoric and reality. What the president said did not match up with the bill that came before the House."