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Staffer dragged from House floor, yells 'Praise be to God'

A House stenographer was hospitalized for evaluation after being dragged off the chamber floor late Wednesday night as the House voted to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.

Identified as Dianne Reidy, the stenographer somehow made it all the way to the clerk’s podium at the top of the chamber's dais, where the president delivers the State of the Union address.

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Once there, Reidy rambled, yelling, “praise be to God” and speaking of the Free Masons and not being able to serve two masters.

"He will not be mocked. He will not be mocked. Don't touch me. He will not be mocked," she said, according to audio of the incident.

"The greatest deception here is, this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been, it would not have been. No. It would not have been. The Constitution would not have been written by Free Masons. They go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise Forever." 

Others can be heard on the audio encouraging her to stop.

The woman was tall, had blond hair and appeared to be wearing a grey suit. C-SPAN posted video of the incident. 

It was not clear what motivated the woman, or whether she was trying to protest the government shutdown or another issue.

Some members quickly expressed sympathy for the woman.

“I think there’s a lot of sympathy because something clearly happened there,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).

“I've seen her around when I've been on the floor. Other members who have been here longer said she always seemed nice,” Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) said. “She was yelling about not being able to serve two masters.”

Some made light of the incident, while others said it raised questions about security in the chamber. 

"We're lucky it wasn't a member," Boehner chief of staff Mike Sommers joked to colleagues after the long day in the House.

Castro said lawmakers, who often have safety concerns, at first thought that a member of the public might have made their way to the floor.

"Strange night," Castro said.

"You've got to wonder about security. What if she had a letter opener or something," Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said.

— This report was updated Thursday at 6:56 a.m.