Tensions flared on the House floor Friday after Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) dismissed and criticized a colleague's claim that he traded his healthcare vote for the White House's eventual nod to lead NASA.
"If it was offered to me, I would not accept," Gordon told the chamber, praising current NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and stressing his decision to support Democrats' healthcare bill, which he announced Thursday, was his own.
He repeatedly pressed Chaffetz to explain "why he said what he did
and where he got that information."
Chaffetz, however, dodged the question. "I think it's important that we pay attention to those types of things," the congressman said. "This is no doubt an emotional, deep debate."
Gordon then asked again for Chaffetz's source, but the Utah Republican merely replied: "As I said, it's something we should be aware of, its something we'll pay attention to, and that's fair."
"I appreciate your service in this Congress... but I think it's fair to pay attention to what might or might not be happening," Chaffetz later added.
However, when Gordon asked whether Chaffetz accepted his public promise he had not traded his vote for a NASA job, Chaffetz concluded, "I have no reason to doubt your word."
All told, it seems Chaffetz's claim originated from a few posts in the conservative
blogosphere. In particular, the right-leaning site Human Events described Gordon's reported NASA spoils as a "rumor," but offered no source.