Tea Party Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, was the lone dissenter on a House bill to ban the use of the word “lunatic” in federal laws, which Congress passed as a way to update how legislation refers to mental health conditions.
The bill, which passed 398-1, would amend a section of the U.S. Code that defines the meanings of certain words used in acts of Congress. Making the change would eliminate “references that contribute to the stigmatization of mental health conditions,” according to an April 25 statement by the bill’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota.
“The term ‘lunatic’ holds a place in antiquity and should no longer have a prominent place in our U.S. code,” Representative Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, said today on the floor.
Gohmert, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, told Bloomberg in an email: “Not only should we not eliminate the word ‘lunatic’ from federal law when the most pressing issue of the day is saving our country from bankruptcy, we should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington.”