Sunday, July 12, 2009

Yarmuth walks out

When the Congressional Black Caucus decided to ask for a moment of silence on the U.S. House floor after the death of singer Michael Jackson, Rep. John Yarmuth walked out.

The 3rd District Democrat said his June 26 protest had nothing to do with Jackson per se, but rather with what he viewed as an inappropriate gesture in the middle of an important debate over energy.

"I just thought that was really ridiculous," Yarmuth said in an interview.[...]

But Yarmuth insisted that to interrupt a major debate over energy legislation, one of the most important bills the lawmakers will consider this year, to ask for silence for Michael Jackson was "over the top."

"We have many opportunities to pay tribute to people we want to pay tribute to," the Louisville congressman said.

Yarmuth said he does not recall a moment of silence after the deaths of other entertainers and athletes.

Former members of Congress are accorded the gesture, and every month the House has a moment of silence for the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. The House also has had moments of silence for the victims of Kentucky's ice storm and the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Yarmuth said.

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