Pelosi Chases Republican Tom Marino Across House Chamber

Aug 1, 2014 8:48pm

In an unusual breach of decorum, even for the divided Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chased Rep. Tom Marino across the House floor, taking offense at comments by the Pennsylvania Republican during debate on the border funding bill Friday night.

“We don’t have law and order,” Marino began as he wrapped up his comments on the border supplemental. “My colleagues on the other side don’t want to do anything about it.”

“You know something that I find quite interesting about the other side? Under the leadership of the former Speaker [Pelosi], and under the leadership of their former leader [Rep. Steny Hoyer], when in 2009 and 2010, they had the House, the Senate and the White House, and they knew this problem existed,” he continued. “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.”

Off-mic, Pelosi then approached Marino, crossing the aisle in view of cameras, and apparently challenged Marino’s assertion that Democrats did not do anything about the issue when they had majority control.

“Yes it is true,” Marino replied directly to Pelosi, who was House speaker in those years. “I did the research on it. 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 that you don’t do.”

Marino then urged lawmakers to support the border supplemental “because apparently I hit the right nerve.”

After Marino concluded his remarks and as many Republicans applauded their colleague, Pelosi crossed the chamber again in view of cameras, enraged, pointing and sticking her finger at Marino.

She then followed Marino up a Republican aisle, gesturing and arguing with him. Lawmakers on the GOP side gathered in dismay as one spoke out to tell the chair that the House was not in order, in an effort to halt the bickering.

Pelosi finally relented after Republicans tried to get between Pelosi and Marino, and she returned to the Democratic side of the chamber. The House then promptly voted to approve the $694 million border supplemental, 223-189.

*UPDATE: According to Pelosi spokeswoman Evangeline George, “Leader 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.”

George added that “Pelosi accepted the Congressman’s apology.”

But Marino’s chief of staff, Bill Tighe, stressed that Marino did not apologize to Pelosi, and will not apologize.

“[Rep. Marino] did not apologize to Leader Pelosi and does not intend to do so as he has nothing to apologize for.  She was entirely out of line in approaching him while he was recognized and delivering remarks on the Floor,” Tighe wrote in an email. “Her staff’s comment in your story about her accepting his apology in simply not true.”

Later, Marino took to Twitter to explain his side of the story.

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