Published September 30, 2009
A Democratic congressman under fire for saying that Republicans want Americans to "die quickly" if they get sick fanned the flames further Wednesday by comparing the U.S. health care system to a "holocaust."
"I call upon all of us to do our jobs for the sake of America, for the sake of those dying people and their families," Florida Rep. Alan Grayson said on the House floor. "I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America."
Taking a page from Democrats who disciplined Rep. Joe Wilson earlier this month, Republicans now are seeking their revenge on Grayson who said Tuesday that the GOP wants Americans to "die quickly" if they get sick.
Grayson,a first-term Democrat known for being provocative, refuses to apologize for the comments he made on the House floor Tuesday night while criticizing Republican health care proposals.
Republicans are likening Grayson's remark to Wilson's widely criticized shout of "You lie!" during President Obama's address to Congress earlier this month. They say Democrats should insist that Grayson apologize just as they did Wilson.
"This is an individual who has established a pathological pattern of unstable behavior," said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
"Alan Grayson not only refuses to apologize, but he is doubling down on his despicable remarks and he is dragging his party down with him," he said.
Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, who heads the party's conservative Republican Study Committee, was planning to introduce a "resolution of disapproval" over Grayson's behavior that mirrors one Democrats approved against Wilson. Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Republican leader John Boehner, said Boehner supports the resolution.
Grayson said he won't apologize even in the face of a possible House resolution of disapproval that was passed against Wilson.
"Because I said the truth," Grayson told FOX News.
And Grayson was more than willing to keep challenging Republicans.
"I think that the Democrats are sick and tired of being kicked around with death panels," he said, referring to a term popularized by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. "We're sick of it. They have nothing to offer (on health care) themselves."
Wilson told FOX News Wednesday that Grayson's criticism of GOP health proposals is "wrong."
"The Republican proposals are positive," he said. "They're for senior citizens. They're for small businesses. They're for creating jobs in our country."
Wilson wouldn't comment further on the controversy until he said he could look at exactly what he did.
Earlier Wednesday, the fourth-highest ranking Democrat in the House, Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., said he would encourage Grayson to apologize.
"We should keep in mind the rules of the House and the way we speak to one another," he said.
But Larson didn't seem open to having the House discipline Grayson in the same manner as Wilson, saying many other lawmakers would then have to be punished.
Grayson represents a Republican-leaning central Florida district around Orlando and was already among the GOP's top targets for the 2010 elections. Late Tuesday night, he defiantly gave Republicans more ammunition.
"Now Democrats have a different plan," he said, highlighting his comments with a sign that that read: "The Republican Health Care Plan: Die Quickly."
"Democrats say if you have health insurance, we're going to make it better," he said. "If you don't have health insurance, we're going to provide it to you. If you can't afford health insurance, then we'll help you to afford it."
"So America gets to decide," he added. "Do you want the Democrats' plan or the Republican plan."
Republicans are pressing Democratic leaders to force Grayson to apologize.
"Will Pelosi hold vote to reprimand #Grayson?" Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., wrote on Twitter Wednesday, referencing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "Or was JWilson reprimand just partisan politics after all?"
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.
Pelosi's office didn't directly address the controversy Wednesday in a statement to FOXNews.com
"Members of Congress should focus on the issue at hand: ensuring quality, affordable and accessible health insurance for all Americans," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in e-mail.
FOX News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.