An unrepentant Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said Wednesday that he will not apologize for saying that the Republican Partys health care plan was for the sick to die quickly.
Im not taking any of it back, Grayson said in an interview with reporters. I stand by what I said.
After speaking extensively to the press, Grayson came to the floor with an apology, but not for the Republican Party.
I would like to apologize, he said. I would like to apologize to the dead.
Citing a statistic that 44,789 Americans die each year because they dont have health insurance, Grayson said, That is more than ten times the number of Americans who died in the war in Iraq, its more than ten times the number of Americans who died on 9/11. It happens every year.
Grayson added in another apparent dig at the GOP, We should care about people even after they are born.
Grayson apologized one last time.
I apologize to the dead and their families that we havent voted sooner, he said.
Moments earlier, Grayson defended his remarks, which he delivered Tuesday night on the floor.
When speaking to reporters earlier, Grayson was similarly steadfast: I didnt violate any House rules and I didnt do anything inappropriate, Grayson said, adding that his statements were protected by the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution. Weve exposed the fact that the Republicans dont want to do anything to improve health care, he said. The pressure should be on them.
Grayson said that no Democrat has asked him to apologize, and none will.
Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) had earlier Wednesday said he would encourage Grayson to apologize, but Grayson said that was a misstatement. Republicans have asked Grayson to offer an apology to the House, and have prepared a resolution of disapproval similar to the one Democrats offered against Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who shouted You lie! at President Barack Obama.
Of Larson, Grayson said: Ive spoken to him and he did not encourage me to apologize, and nobody else has either.
Grayson predicted that his comments, and his decision not to apologize for them, would help his re-election chances. People like elected officials with guts, who say what they mean, he said.
Grayson also passed out a list of Republicans who have said similar things about Democratic plans killing people.
There is a difference, he said. I was telling the truth and they werent.
Grayson said that people who get sick under the Republican health care plans are going to have huge medical bills, wont get help from insurance companies and will ultimately have to pull the plug.
I dont think the Democrats need to be on defense, he said. I think we should be on the offense and not the defense, and thats where I plan to stay.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.