Texas Rep. breaks House silence to admit ‘baby killer’ heckle
Neugebauer a birther, won seat after gerrymandering: report
Texas Republican congressman Randy Neugebauer has admitted to being the lawmaker who shouted “baby killer” during a speech by Rep. Bart Stupak in Sunday’s health care debate, despite efforts by some of his fellow congresspeople — Democrats included — to keep his identity a secret.
But Neugebauer suggested it was the health reform bill — and not Stupak himself — that was a “baby killer.”
Neugebauer, who represents the 19th district of Texas, which includes Abilene and Lubbock, said in a statement Monday that he was sorry the remark had been taken as a slur on Rep. Stupak. Despite this, the congressman apologized to both Stupak and to Congress members as a whole.
“Last night was the climax of weeks and months of debate on a health care bill that my constituents fear and do not support,” Neugebauer said. “In the heat and emotion of the debate, I exclaimed the phrase ‘it’s a baby killer’ in reference to the agreement reached by the Democratic leadership. While I remain heartbroken over the passage of this bill and the tragic consequences it will have for the unborn, I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself.”
“I have apologized to Mr. Stupak and also apologize to my colleagues for the manner in which I expressed my disappointment about the bill,” he added.
The mystery over who was responsible for the comment began to seep throughout the media Monday. The New York Daily News reported that “even Democrats don’t want to out the verbal abuser.”
“I think members have a right to make an idiot of themselves once without being exposed,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI), as quoted at Politico.com.
Eric Kleefeld at TalkingPointsMemo reports that Neugebauer is a co-sponsor of the so-called “birther bill,” which would create a higher standard for presidential candidates to prove their US citizenship if they want to be certified to run in the election.
Neugebauer won his seat in 2004 “after the controversial mid-decade redistricting engineered by Tom DeLay,” Kleefeld reports.
Roll Call notes that Neugebauer is one of the most reliably pro-life members of Congress, receiving a 100-percent mark from National Right to Life.
Stupak had been behind the Stupak amendment, which had been included in the original House health reform bill and would have prevented any public funds from going to health plans that offered abortion. The Stupak amendment was left out of the final House bill, with President Barack Obama agreeing to pass an executive decree banning government funding of abortion in exchange.