(Host) Congressman Peter Welch has voted to reprimand one of his Republican colleagues who shouted "you lie" at President Obama during a joint session of Congress last week.
After the incident, Congressman Joe Wilson did apologize to the White House. But Welch says it was also important for Wilson to apologize on the House floor. Wilson refused to do that and Welch says the reprimand is a way to send a message that intolerant behavior isn’t permitted in the House.
(Welch) "It’s about maintaining a certain decorum in the institution where I think all of us know that we can get hot under the collar – and all of us have the capacity to do that. But I think all of us likewise have the capacity when we make a mistake to apologize to the body, so that we maintain our common commitment, Republicans and Democrats, to civil debate, even if it’s fierce debate."
(Host) Welch says he met with Congressman Wilson last week and urged him to apologize on the House floor so the House could move on to more pressing matters.
(Welch)"What I said to Congressman Wilson is that I said it was regrettable what he said. … And I suggested to him that he apologize to the House. … I just wanted him to know my view on it and it was just a straightforward comment by me as to what I thought was the appropriate thing to do in these circumstances."
(Host) The reprimand vote fell mostly on party lines but a handful of Republicans joined the vast majority of Democrats to pass the resolution.