Joe Wilson

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Joe Wilson is a controversial Republican, a fiscal and social conservative, who represents the 2nd district of South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district starts on the coast at Hilton Head, and includes the state capital of Columbia. He is an attorney with experience in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps, retiring as a colonel in the National Guard, and a former Congressional staff member.

Outspoken positions

He is a member of the Tea Party caucus.

Outburst in Congress

During President Barack Obama's address to Congress about health care reform, on 9 September 2009, Wilson shouted "you lie!" when the President said that health care legislation would not provide free coverage for illegal immigrants. Showing disrespect to the President, who, in principle, is a co-equal leader of another branch of government, is a violation of the House Rules. Wilson said "It was spontaneous. It was when he stated, as he did, about not covering illegal aliens, when I knew we had those two amendments, and I say that respectfully."[1]

Political reaction was mixed, with contributions flowing both to him and to his 2008 challenger, Rob Miller, who plans to run against him again in 2010. He apologized to the President, who accepted, [2] but received the mild criticism of a "resolution of disapproval" by the House on a 240-179 vote.[3]

Although he was upset about providing healthcare to illegal immigrants, he voted for a measure that provided such care in 2003. The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, which contained Sec. 1011 authorizing $250,000 annually between 2003 and 2008 for government reimbursements to hospitals who provide treatment for uninsured illegal immigrants.[4] The measure attempted to partially defray hospital costs incurred over the continuing unfunded mandate of EMTALA emergency care law.

Health care

In 2003, he received a 11% rating from the American Public Health Association. He voted against treating tobacco as a drug, on expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, establishing equity between medical and mental health treatment, reimporting drugs, and requiring negotiation of prescription drug prices for Medicare Part D. He was in favor of denying non-emergency treatment to people unable to provide a Medicare co-play.

He was in favor of limiting anti-trust lawsuits against health plans capping medical malpractice damages, and allowing small business exchanges for buying insurance.

Principles and values

He was rated 0% by the Americans United for Separation of Church and State in December 2006, indicating opposition to church-state separation, and, in December 2007, asked that Christianity's importance to western civilization be recognized.

The Christian Coalition gave him a 92% rating in 2003, which is strongly pro-family by their criteria. He voted against a definition that would allow same-sex marriage and for a Constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage.

He voted for legislation and a constitutional amendment protecting the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. In 2002, he was rated 17% by the American Civil Liberties Union, 0% by the Human Rights Campaign, and 22% by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

International relations

He voted against democracy promotion in Pakistan, for nuclear cooperation with India, for arms trade restriction on China, and for withholding U.S. funds to reform the United Nations.

He has strong ties to South Asia, and is co-chair of the Congressional India Caucus.[5] Sanjay Puri, chairman of the US Indian Political Action Committee, denied that Wilson's charge to Obama was racist, because "When this broke, most people didn't really know about Congressman Wilson. But the Indian-American community knows him pretty well."

"Wilson co-sponsored a bill in 2007 that recognized the religious significance of the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali. Wilson also supported Bush's nuclear treaty. Puri also said that Wilson attended many South Asian events and that Wilson was very positive and outgoing." [6]

In the Afghanistan-Pakistan area of operations, he supports a strong counterinsurgency strategy based on GEN Stanley McChrystal's recommendations. [7]

Committees

Affiliations

References