WASHINGTON – Think the passions from the 2000 presidential election (search) have cooled? Certainly not in the House, which voted Thursday to strike a Florida representative's words from the record after she said Republicans "stole" that closely fought contest.
The verbal battle broke out after Rep. Steve Buyer (search), R-Ind., proposed a measure barring any federal official from requesting that the United Nations formally observe the U.S. elections on Nov. 2. His proposal was approved 243-161 as an amendment to a $19.4 billion foreign aid bill, with 33 Democrats joining all 210 voting Republicans in voting "yes."
Rep. Corrine Brown (search), D-Fla., and several other House Democrats have made that suggestion. They argue that some black voters were disenfranchised in 2000 and problems could occur again this fall.
"We welcome America to observe the integrity of our electoral process and we do not ask, though, for the United Nations to come as monitors at our polling stations," Buyer said.
"I come from Florida, where you and others participated in what I call the United States coup d'etat. We need to make sure it doesn't happen again," Brown said. "Over and over again after the election when you stole the election, you came back here and said, 'Get over it.' No, we're not going to get over it. And we want verification from the world."
At that point, Buyer demanded that Brown's words be "taken down," or removed the debate's permanent record.
The House's presiding officer, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, ruled that Brown's words violated a House rule.
"Members should not accuse other members of committing a crime such as, quote, stealing, end quote, an election," Thornberry said.
When Brown objected to his ruling, the Republican-run House voted 219-187 along party lines to strike her words.