Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) found himself on Tuesday being added to the list of things that had been shut down because of Republicans in Congress.
During a speech on the House floor to call for a vote on a resolution that said Congress’ “dignity” had been impugned by the government shutdown, Grayson frustrated Speaker pro tempore Steve Womack (R-AR) by obstructing all other business and asserting privilege under Rule IX.
Grayson observed that media outlets all over the world and polling data within in the United States showed that “the dignity of the House has been called into question.”
The Florida Democrat pointed to a Public Policy Polling survey that found that Congress had an 8 percent approval rating. And to infuriate Republicans further, he read out of the each items that the American people found more likable than Congress.
“What do you have a higher opinion of, Congress or witches? Congress, 32 percent; witches, 46 percent,” he said. “What do you have a higher opinion of, Congress or hemorrhoids? Congress, 31 percent; hemorrhoids, 53 percent. What do you have a higher opinion of, Congress or dog poop? Congress 40 percent; dog poop 47 percent.”
At that point, Womack cautioned Grayson to confine his remarks to an explanation of why his resolution was privileged under Rule IX. But the congressman continued citing the poll, comparing Congress to toenail fungus, cockroaches and zombies.
“Surely our dignity has been diminished and is actively being called into question,” Grayson said. “If we are to be called obstructionists, practicers of partisan petulance, if we are to be called an establishment that is rotten to the core, if we are leaving Americans wondering why there is so much poison in the system then surely our dignity has been diminished. If we’re being accused of willingly provoking crises that suspend public services and decrease economic growth then surely our dignity as a body has been diminished.”
With that, Womack could stand no more and gaveled for Grayson to suspend his remarks. Grayson argued that he should have been allow to finish his speech as a point of parliamentary order.
But Womack ruled in the end that Grayson’s resolution was not privileged and scuttled the vote.
Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast Oct. 8, 2013.