By Mike Soraghan - 09/11/09 04:32 PM EDT
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed the House should vote next week on scolding Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for his outburst during President Barack Obama's speech unless he apologies on the floor of the House.
"There was a violation of the rules of the House," said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly. "It needs to be resolved by an apology or a resolution."
A Democrat will introduce a "resolution of disapproval" Monday or Tuesday unless Wilson formally apologizes on the House floor. The House returns Monday.
Wilson shouted "You lie!" Wednesday night during Obama's speech to a joint
session of Congress, after Obama said his health care plan would not cover
Wilson apologized Wednesday evening and, on Thursday, Obama said he accepted Wilson’s apology.
Wilson spokesman Ryan Murphy indicated the congressman will not apologize on the House floor.
Murphy told the Associated Press Wilson "apologized to the president and the president accepted and said let's move on and have a civil discourse, and the congressman agrees."
Several House leaders and many rank-and-file Democrats pushed Thursday for some sanction against Wilson. Pelosi (D-Calif.) knocked down the idea, saying it would distract Congress from its work on healthcare.
“It’s time for us to talk about healthcare, not Joe Wilson," Pelosi said Thursday, adding, "I think his action spoke for itself. He has apologized. He will figure out what is appropriate for him to do."
Pelosi relented after her fellow Democratic leaders made their case in private during a meeting in her office Thursday afternoon, according to sources.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn – a fellow South Carolinian – was particularly angry that Wilson called the White House to apologize Wednesday night only after being pressed by Republican leaders.
"He has no remorse whatsoever, so his words have very little meaning," Clyburn said.
The line at Wilson's Capitol office was consistently busy Friday. But other Republicans say Pelosi should have stuck to her original position.
"Rep. Wilson apologized to the President, and the President accepted his apology. As the Speaker said yesterday, now it's time to talk about health care," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).
It is against House rules to impugn the integrity of the president when speaking on the floor or in committee meetings.
Clyburn reportedly approached Wilson three times during a vote Thursday asking Wilson to formally apologize.
House leadership, including GOP leader John Boehner (Ohio), also talked to Wilson during Thursday's vote, which was kept open for a longer than normal period of time so that Wilson would have a chance to say "I'm sorry."
Despite Clyburn's efforts, Wilson refused to make an apology on the floor.
When asked about the conversation on the floor, Boehner told reporters "he did have a conversation with Mr. Wilson. I'm not going to relay the contents of my private conversation with him."
As for whether Wilson should apologize in the chamber, Boehner responded "I think that Mr. Wilson made it clear that he said his behavior was inappropriate, and he apologized [to the President] for it. And I'm glad he did."
After his outburst, photos of the congressman, mouth agape and finger pointing, dominated television screens and news sites.
His House website crashed and he was the No. 1 search on Yahoo on Thursday.
His Democratic opponent raised more than half a million dollars off his comment and his Democratic colleagues discussed censuring him.
On conservative Fox News commentator Sean Hannity’s show, Wilson reiterated that he shouldn’t have yelled at the president. But he added Obama’s claim that illegal immigrants not being covered in the Democrats’ heath bill was “just wrong.”
-- This article was updated at 1:37 p.m. and 4:12 p.m.