House will vote on "disapproval" for Joe Wilson

The South Carolina Republican who shouted at President Obama last week will face a resolution of disapproval

Published September 15, 2009 1:15AM (EDT)

The House will vote Tuesday on a "resolution of disapproval" for Rep. Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican who yelled "You lie!" at President Obama during a speech to Congress last week.

A House Democratic source tells Salon the vote will likely come to the floor in the afternoon. The resolution isn't as serious as a censure. It's still not clear who will offer the resolution, but the source says it will be "simple and non-partisan." (Expect Republicans to take issue, rather aggressively, with the "non-partisan" notion.)

"The issue at hand is one of conduct, not speech," the source says. "Congressman Wilson's outburst during the joint session was a breach of decorum and brought discredit to the House. It is common for members to address such breaches themselves rather than force action by the full House. Failure to respond would mean consent for that kind of conduct. In the absence of an apology, the House must act to admonish his behavior."

Wilson did apologize to Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, in a phone call last Wednesday night, a few hours after his outburst; having to talk to Emanuel right after the incident may actually have been a far worse punishment than anything the House could dream up. He also issued an apologetic press release. But especially once his Democratic opponent, Rob Miller, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars after the shout, Wilson started to seem a little less contrite. He went on Sean Hannity's radio show, where he bashed Obama for expanding government and trying to give healthcare benefits to undocumented immigrants -- the exact issue that prompted his screaming -- even though he's got the facts of the issue wrong.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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