Democratic Lawmaker Accuses Republicans of Being Too Close to Health Insurers

A testy moment on the House floor Wednesday afternoon forced a Democratic lawmaker to retract his comments about reforming health care.

The House was debating legislation to eliminate an antitrust exemption for health insurance companies when Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) accused Republicans of sidling up to the health insurance industry.

“You’ve got to love the Republicans chutzpah,” thundered Weiner. “When we provide competition, they’re against it. They are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the insurance industry.”

Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) took exception to Weiner and demanded that the words of the New York Democrat “be taken down.”

“Taking down words” in the House is the assertion by one lawmaker that a fellow member may have violated the rules of decorum. If a lawmaker is ruled to have breached those rules, he or she may be banned from speaking on the House floor for the rest of the day.

Lawmakers are not allowed to incriminate the motives of others on the House floor.

Weiner withdrew the words in question and debate continued.