WASHINGTON (Talon News) — House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) apologized on Wednesday for his role in last week’s Congressional melee over pension funding.
Thomas reportedly fought back tears as he addressed House members, apologizing for his actions and admitting to a temporary lapse in judgment.
“I learned a very painful lesson Friday. As members you deserve better judgment from me, and you’ll get it,” Thomas said.
Thomas came under intense criticism on Friday after he called the Capitol Police to remove Ways and Means Democrats from a House library after they had staged a walk-out in response to pension funding legislation.
“Moderation is required. For the remainder of my time, in this, the people’s House, I want to rededicate my efforts to strengthening this institution as the embodiment of what is best about us,” Thomas added in a House floor speech on Wednesday. “I need your help. And I invite it.”
House members gave Thomas a standing ovation at the conclusion of his remarks, and he was reportedly enthusiastically greeted by his colleagues.
“Let’s see if every committee and every member can say that in this House we are going to respect each other no matter how much we differ,” said Charles Rangel, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. “Whether we respect each other is what I think those that we leave this Congress to will respect us for.”
However, some House Democrats remained displeased with Thomas. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was one of the Democrats who did not rise in the standing ovation.
“While I’m sympathetic to the generosity of spirit that it took for him to make those statements, and I respect the fact that he did that, it didn’t mean that I had to stand up and cheer,” Pelosi said.