Tempers flared on the House floor early Thursday during speeches for and against an objection to recognizing President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral win in Pennsylvania — the final hurdle in the counting of Electoral College votes, delayed by the occupation of the Capitol on Wednesday by a mob supporting President Trump. Rep. Conor Lamb, a moderate Democrat from Pennsylvania, lit into his Republican colleagues, telling them that their objections have no merit and “don’t deserve an ounce of respect. A woman died out there tonight, and you’re making these objections.”
There was a commotion from the GOP side after Lamb said the people storming the Capitol would have been arrested if they weren’t white, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-N.Y.) to call for order. “Enough has been done today already to try to strip this Congress of its dignity, and we don’t need to do any more,” Lamb said, adding that some of his colleagues had fueled the mob by repeating lies about the election. A few moments later, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) objected, saying Lamb was calling him a liar. Pelosi shot down the objection, and then things nearly came to blows.
“There will be order in the House.”
Watch tensions rise on House floor during debate on Pennsylvania #ElectoralCollege Vote Objection.
Note: C-SPAN does not control cameras in the House. pic.twitter.com/sQ1vAIxc0t
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 7, 2021
The benches cleared, and the deputy sergeant at arms got involved. PBS’s Lisa Desjardins explains what happened off-camera:
6. Democrats got on feet, from other side of the chamber many (a dozen?) started moving quickly, almost running thru rows to where Harris was.
7. Republicans started doing same.
8. A staffer – it may have been the Sgt. at Arms moved even more quickly to separate them.
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) January 7, 2021
“We want this government to work more than they want it to fail,” Lamb said after the fight was defused, then ceded the floor.