The U.S. House members passed a resolution publicly disapproving of Congressman Joe Wilson’s behavior during the joint session of Congress on September 9th. Wilson, who called President Obama a liar last week during the President’s speech, was admonished on a mostly party line 240 -179 vote.
South Carolina congressmen voting in favor of admonishing Wilson were Rep. James Clyburn, Democrat from Columbia; Rep. Bob Inglis, Republican from Travelers Rest; and Representative John Spratt, Democrat from York. Those congressmen voting against admonishing Wilson were Rep. Henry Brown, a Republican from Hanahan; and Representative Joe Wilson, himself. Rep. Gresham Barrett, a Republican from Westminster did not vote.
The office of the House Historian said the resolution marked the first time in the 220-year history of the House that a member had been admonished for speaking out while the president was giving an address.
Compared to a censure or expulsion, a resolution of disapproval was the lighter punishment available to the House leadership.
According to the resolution, the outburst was a breach of decorum and brought discredit to the House of Representatives. The House general code of conduct requires that “a lawmaker shall conduct himself at all times in a manner which shall reflect credibly on the House.”