Video: Health care heats up the House

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    >> tonight with democratic congressman alan grayson . i think you are a martin luther . i remember being there when the berlin wall came down. i was there with my colleague and he said, how did lootszer know he could stand up against the church? how did you know you could stand up to the republican? the real clowns out there. we can start with lixbaugh and the rest of them and you know the whole crowd. what is his name, beck? the whole number of them. how come you knew the way to beat these guys was to put them on defense?

    >> because they're bullies. and a bully always backs down. don't we know that? that's what happened here.

    >> tell me about it. what has happened to you? did pelosi come along and tell to you cool it? did you get any mean looks from the republican on the floor like boehner? boehner does look like a golf here has just blown a putt all the time.

    >> you would know better than me, i guess. i can't really say.

    >> he looks like, he throws it down. he is ticked off. he throws it down. he plays like. that what have you learned in the couple of days of being the hot shot?

    >> what i've learned is people want a congressman who has guts, who says it like it is. for months we've been on the defensive. why? we have a plan. the other side doesn't. they have nothing. it has been 72 hours since i've said this. where have we heard about the republican plan? who has stepped forward to explain, no, grayson was wrong. it's not true. all they do is their personal attacks. and it mean nothing because the american people deserve better than that and they know it.

    >> how come we've spent now 50 some years going back to harry truman with nightclub comics, all the way back to alan king talking about doctors, people talking about hmos and the problem of getting any kind of payment when you have a problem and all these problems with health insurance . the status quo has never looked so sweet as when the republican start to attack the democrats. why didn't the democrats spend the last year attacking the way thing are as a way of getting them fifl. isn't that the way you get a tire fixed? you say it is blown out. you say how great it will be when it is gets fixed. you say it is blown out and you have to fix it. why don't the democrats go after the problem and say they'll fix it than saying, gee, whiz, i have this new idea. the new idea hasn't worked. it is the problem you have to focus on.

    >> they bought into this story, the story line that there was a need for bipartisanship. the republicans never attempted anything like bipartisanship. now we understand since i spoke out the. the cost of delay is death. we have 44,789 americans who die every year because they don't have health insurance . this is a harvard study. you don't have to take my word for it. 122 americans die every single day. so now the story line shouldn't be any longer, which republicans are going to join the bill. the story line should be, how can we save these american lives? and how quickly can we do it?

    >> you're a rarity. let talk. i don't think you're worried about losing your seat so lets talk about a congressman, you.

    >> i don't think that will happen ufl wouldn't believe the response we've gotten so far. we have other over 5,000 people come to grayson .com and make a contribution. our e-mail are running 4-1.

    >> what is your district like? i've looked up the numbers. it looks close to me. what kind of district do you have in atlantic?

    >> i'm the first democrat to represent downtown orlando in 34 years. that's okay. if i have to choose between my job and saving lives, i know how to make that choice. the republicans said the national republican congressional congressional committee executive director said grayson is our number one target for 2010 . maybe i'll be drawing other people's fire. i don't know. i do know that i'll make the right choice and i do know that democrats, republicans, independents, they want somebody with guts.

    >> are the republicans on the floor circling for you? i remember back in '93 when margie voted, it wasn't a tax increase for regular people . it was for the rich. are they circling around you because you've shown some today hone on this thing? athleti athletics they have you?

    >> we'll see. they sure will. i'll continue to speak out.

    >> i'm looking for some insight here. i'm a reporter. i'm trying to find out what you know and what you don't know. when you walk around the floor. you walk past the republican cloak room. you get on the subway in the capital building. do they come up to you and say your number is up?

    >> i hear that all the time. i get dirty looks from the republicans all the time. i can't decide on my vote. i can't decide on health care , energy independence , on jobs, on the economy. base pond dirty looks from people who throw hissy fits all the time and decide we're supposed to decide american policy on that basis and that's what they do time after time . this feigned indignation time after time .

    >> you know why they don't believe in that themselves believe it is about 3,000 or 4,000. they don't buy this thing of lucy and way back four or five million years. they don't buy all that. so calling them neanderthals doesn't hurt them.

    >> i said knuckle dragging 93 earned athals. and one came up to me on the floor. he said i don't like you talking about me that way. and i said i wasn't talking about you. and he said i think you were talking about me. he was trying to prove to me that he was a knuckle dragging neanderthal. i wasn't talking but. look at your knuckles. no callouss.

    >> let's talk about real people . my thinking is you want to make health insurance accessible, affordable. everybody has to chip in the way they can. nobody is getting a free ride here. talk about why it matters to you.

    >> why it matters to america i was so sick when i was growing up. i had to go to the child four times a week for treatment. when i was growing up, my parents had union benefits. both belonged to a union themselves both got union benefits. and twice when i was 7 and 17, they went out on strike and i had, i wondered whether i would survive. whether our health benefits would remain in place and whether i would be able to continue my treatment. and it is a hard thing. it is a hard thing when you're a child to think about whether you're going to live or whether you're going to die. and i don't want to see anyone in america go through that. i was so happy to vote in favor of health insurance for children in my first week in congress. 4 million children all across the country didn't have to worry about that anymore. why should the sins of the parents descend on the children? why should children ever have to worry about that? 10,000 right here in orlando alone.

    >> you sound like a liberal.

    >> progressive.

    >> pop list. don't hide from that word. liberal is a good word. you have to make it sound good. you have to make it -- a liberal. i believe in opportunity for everybody. i believe in freedom for everybody. i believe in liberty for everybody. i'm an american. of course i'm a liberal. it will be more fun. this progressive sounds like you're hiding from being from who you are. the conservatives call themselves right wingers and love it. you're on the right track. thanks for getting around to doing our show. you've done every other show in the world, by the way. yeah, yeah. right. you're really scared of me. if you're not scared

updated 10/6/2009 2:38:30 PM ET 2009-10-06T18:38:30

House Republicans are backing off an effort to reprimand a Florida congressman for saying the GOP's health care plans amount to wanting sick people to "die quickly."

Republicans led by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia drafted a resolution last week scolding Democrat Alan Grayson for his remarks. The measure mirrored a resolution that Democrats pushed through last month against Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., for shouting "You lie!" at President Barack Obama.

Price spokesman Brendan Buck said Tuesday the GOP still isn't ruling out pursuing the measure.

"But at this point the people of his district are probably in the best position to register their approval or disapproval of Mr. Grayson's consistently embarrassing behavior," Buck said.

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Buck also acknowledged that passing the measure could be difficult. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week declined to call for Grayson to apologize, saying Republicans have made similar criticisms of Democratic health care proposals and that there was no reason to single out Grayson. She also asked all lawmakers to tone down their rhetoric.

Grayson, a first-term congressman from Orlando known for being pugnacious, delivered his health care remarks on the House floor last week.

"If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly," he said. "That's right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick."

He has refused to apologize, citing research showing that thousands of people die each year for lack of health insurance and that Republican health care plans wouldn't help them.

As Republicans threatened to try to reprimand him last week, Grayson continued insulting them, calling them "knuckle-dragging Neanderthals" and "hypocrites." Saying he wanted "to usher in a new era of bipartisanship," he also mockingly invited Price to be his campaign finance director, saying the controversy has boosted his fundraising.

Grayson, who is Jewish, did apologize to the Anti-Defamation League, however, for calling the health care crisis a holocaust, saying he regretted using the word.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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