- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2009

Republicans want a Democratic lawmaker to apologize or face a reprimand for saying the Republican Party wants Americans to “die quickly” if they get sick. They noted Democrats’ insistence on a similar scolding of a Republican who shouted “You lie!” at President Obama.

Rep. Alan Grayson, Florida Democrat, has refused to apologize for his remarks on the House floor Tuesday night in which he criticized Republican health care proposals as a “blank piece of paper.”

“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.”

His remarks weren’t spontaneous: He reinforced his point with signs saying the same thing.

Republicans are likening the remarks to Rep. Joe Wilson’s widely criticized shout of “You lie!” during Mr. Obama’s address to Congress earlier this month.

They say Democrats should insist that Mr. Grayson apologize, just as they insisted Mr. Wilson, South Carolina Republican, should.

Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, who heads the conservative Republican Study Committee, drafted a “resolution of disapproval” that mirrors the one Democrats approved against Mr. Wilson, saying Mr. Grayson’s conduct was “a breach of decorum and degraded the integrity and proceedings of the House.”

Mr. Price said Wednesday afternoon that Republicans would withhold introducing it to give Mr. Grayson more time to apologize.

“The American people want open and honest discussion,” Mr. Price said. “They want respectful discussion.”

House Republican leader John A. Boehner of Ohio supports Mr. Price’s efforts, said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner.

Mr. Grayson’s spokesman has not responded to a request for comment, and Democratic leaders so far have been silent.

But behind the scenes, Democratic aides point to comments that Republicans have made in recent weeks alleging that Democratic health care legislation would kill people.

Some Republicans have accused Mr. Obama of pushing for “death panels” and held to that view even after the administration’s strenuous objections and after the claims were widely discredited. Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, told some constituents in his home state in August that they have good reason to fear the Democrats’ health care proposals.

“We should not have a government program that determines you’re going to pull the plug on grandma,” Mr. Grassley said.

Mr. Grayson, a first-term Democrat known for being provocative, represents a Republican-leaning district around Orlando and was already among the Repub-lican Party’s top targets for the 2010 elections.

Ken Spain, spokesman for the House Republican campaign arm, said Democrats should be “lining up to call on him to apologize.”

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now has an opportunity to condemn the very behavior and tone of this health care debate that she claims will ‘incite violence,’ “he said, referring to Democratic concerns that the bitter tone of the health care debate could lead to attacks.

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