By Mike Soraghan - 09/15/09 09:42 PM EDT
House members formally scolded a defiant Rep. Joe Wilson on Tuesday evening for his "You lie!" outburst after he refused Democratic demands that he apologize on the House floor.
The House passed a "resolution of disapproval," considered the mildest form of punishment for a member, by a 240-179 vote that fell largely along partisan lines. Seven Republicans voted to rebuke Wilson, while 12 Democrats voted against the measure.
"I think it is clear there are far more important issues than what we are doing right now," Wilson said. "It is time we move on."
Republicans didn’t defend Wilson's finger-pointing shout at Obama during the joint session. But they stressed that Wilson had already apologized privately to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the resolution a "partisan stunt."
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who did almost all the talking for the Democratic side, said it wasn't partisanship, but enforcing the rules and decorum of the House.
"Silence gives consent," Clyburn said. "We cannot be silent because we cannot consent to his conduct."