It's hard to distinguish the Republican Party from some of the more offensive "Tea Party" protestors who swarmed the Capitol this weekend, a top Democrat said Monday.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking black House member, condemned protesters opposed to the health bill, who had spat at and used racial and homophobic epithets toward lawmakers.

"It cannot be separated from the Republican Party when you've got Republican members standing on the floor applauding those who are trying to disrupt the proceedings from the balcony," Clyburn said

Clyburn was referring to members who, during the early Sunday afternoon debate, applauded members of the viewers' gallery who interrupted proceedings to cheer, "Kill the bill!"

Republican lawmakers also addressed some of the Tea Partiers on Saturday, and went to the balcony off the House floor on Sunday to encourage protestors who had gathered on the east front of the Capitol.

"This is the kind of stuff that has to stop in this country," Clyburn said. "I do believe that everyone should be disavowing it."