WASHINGTON — Some intense moments on the House floor Thursday night during debate for a bill that would have provided health care to people sickened during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Democrats were seeking to change the voting procedure, claiming they were worried Republicans would add a host of partisan amendments to the bill. The change also meant it needed a two-thirds majority to pass – which failed.
During the debate, Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, who represents a part of New York where a lot of 9/11 survivors live, took to the podium and railed against his Republican colleagues.
His floor speech aired as follows:
“Great courage to wait until all members have already spoken then stand up and wrap your arms around procedure. We see it in the United States Senate every single day where members say ‘we want amendments, we want debate, but we’re still a no’.
And then we stand up and say ‘if only we had a different process we’d vote yes. You vote yes if you believe yes. You vote in favor of something if you believe its the right thing. If you believe its the wrong thing you vote no! We are following a procedure thing here.
I will not yield to the gentleman and the gentleman will observe regular order! The gentleman will observe order!
The gentleman thinks if he gets up and yells he is going to intimidate people into believing he is right. He is wrong! The gentleman is wrong! The gentleman is providing comfort for his colleagues rather than doing the right thing.
It’s Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes. It is a shame, a shame! If you believe this is a bad idea to provide health care than vote no! But, don’t give me the cowardly view that only if it were a different procedure–
The gentleman will observe regular order and sit down!
I will not!
The gentleman will sit! The gentleman is correct in sitting!
I will not stand here and listen to my colleagues say ‘if only I had a different procedure that allows us to stall, stall, stall then vote no. Instant os standing up and defending your colleagues and voting no on this humane bill you should urge them to vote yes, something the gentleman has not done!”
The bill ultimately failed in a vote of 255 to 159. This means the courts will have to settle compensation issues.