Perhaps fittingly, given the acrimony and dysfunction that led to the government shutdown, the House vote tonight that finally restored federal funding and lifted the debt ceiling was marked by an unsettling personal outburst.
As the roll-call tally neared its end and members milled about the floor, a House stenographer suddenly strided toward the chamber’s dais and, stopping at the microphone right below it, began a rant.
Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who was the House’s presiding officer, banged her gavel, but the woman would not be deterred. After a few seconds, other House employees gently took hold of her and began steering her out of the chamber.
“He will not be mocked,” she could be heard shouting, relates Bloomberg reporter Michael C. Bender, as she departed and virtually all the lawmakers stood watching. “If this is not one nation under God it doesn’t work. Had it been, it would not be. It would not have been. The Constitution would not have been written by Free Masons. … You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, lord Jesus Christ.”
According to a Washington Post account, Democratic Representative Gerald Connolly of Virginia described the stenographer as a well-known and liked figure in the House.