Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free

Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free
© Greg Nash

Rep. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchHigh stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Bipartisan House group heads to Camp David retreat Dems unveil bill for Medicare to negotiate drug prices MORE (D-Vt.) apologized Tuesday for claiming in a tweet that it has never been legal in the U.S. "to make people work for free" before the current government shutdown.

After some pointed out that Welch was overlooking the country's history of slavery, Welch offered his "sincere apologies" in a follow-up tweet and said there has been "nothing worse in the history of our country" than slavery.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Sincere apologies. Nothing worse in the history of our country than the brutal inhumanity of the horrible, relentless, and savage infliction of involuntary servitude-slavery- on millions of people whose freedom was denied. Nothing," he tweeted. 

In his original tweet, Welch was promoting a bill he has proposed that would make it illegal to require federal employees to work without pay during a government shutdown.

The current shutdown has been ongoing since Dec. 22, with President Trump and congressional Democrats at odds over Trump's demand for more than $5 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats have repeatedly vowed not to approve any funding for a border wall.

The Senate plans to vote Thursday on two proposals to reopen the government.