The typical decorum was nowhere to be found on a feisty House floor Friday night, as Republican lawmakers moved to pass a border-security bill and legislation that would end President Barack Obama’s deportation relief program.
The testiness was on display all night, and it reached up to the highest levels of leadership when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi charged across the House floor to confront a Republican congressman.
During the debate over the bill to effectively end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Pelosi took exception to a floor speech from Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pennsylvania).
Marino spoke right after Pelosi on the floor. He addressed her directly, accusing Democrats of making the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border a political issue while not doing anything to address the problem when they controlled the House from 2007-10.
“You know something that I find quite interesting about the other side?” Marino said. “Under the leadership of the former Speaker [Pelosi], and under the leadership of their former leader [Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland)] — when in 2009 and 2010, they had the House, the Senate and the White House, and they knew this problem existed.
“They didn’t have the strength to go after it back then. But now are trying to make a political issue out of it now.”
Soon after he made those remarks, Pelosi challenged him off-mic. It wasn’t clear what she said, but Marino responded.
“Yes, it is true. I did the research on it,” Marino added. “You might want to try it. You might want to try it, Madam Leader. Do the research on it. Do the research. I did it. That’s one thing you don’t do.”
After Marino concluded his speech, Pelosi — in full view of House cameras — walked across the aisle to confront him again. Evangeline George, a spokeswoman for Pelosi, told Business Insider that Pelosi “just wanted to remind the Congressman that House Democrats had the courage to pass the DREAM Act — and have the courage to stand up for what the American people want: bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform.”
“What have Republicans done?” George said.
George said Pelosi accepted an apology from Marino — who subsequently said he did not offer an apology.
In a statement sent to Business Insider through a spokesman, Marino said Pelosi called him an “insignificant person.” He accused Pelosi of being “out of control.”
“Last night, while recognised to speak during debate, I was confronted and interrupted by Ms. Pelosi. We exchanged words and she continued to pursue me; wagging her finger in my face and calling me an ‘insignificant person,'” Marino said.
“Other members and I helped to calm nerves but I did not apologise and I have no intention to do so. She was out of line and out of control. If she considers another elected member of Congress insignificant, I can only imagine what she thinks of the millions of hard working Americans who send us to Washington with the simple expectation that we work to secure our borders.”
Here’s video of the exchange:
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