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GOP Rep. Steve Buyer Loses Temper, Calls Session "Waste of Time"

Updated 3:15 p.m. Eastern Nov. 30

Outgoing Republican Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana became angry on the House floor today after being denied a request to speak, complaining that the session was a "waste of time" and stating that he is "so glad to be retiring" after 18 years in Congress.

Buyer made the remarks off camera while walking angrily around the House chamber. You can see what angered Buyer, the top Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, in the video at left.

Here's what happened: Buyer this afternoon asked Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson of California, who is acting as speaker, to yield time for him to speak on a veterans bill. Richardson refused, prompting Buyer to ask sarcastically, "as a sitting member of the House, the speaker chooses not to recognize another sitting member, is that correct?"

Richardson responds that the decision on recognizing Buyer is up to the speaker - that is, her. An increasingly frustrated Buyer replies that she is choosing not to recognize a ranking Republican member dispite the fact that isn't anyone on the floor to object to his request.

"This is why the American people have thrown you out of power," he says to Richardson. He then begins walking around the chamber angrily, throwing down a folder and muttering that Democrats are wasting time despite the fact that there are many things to be done, including repeal of the health care reform bill.

Rep. Steve Buyer loses his temper on the House floor, November 29, 2010. CBS

When Buyer returns to the microphone, Richardson changes course, yielding Buyer one minute to speak. He responds sarcastically, "wow."

"Was treating another member with dignity so hard, madam speaker? I don't believe it was," he says.

Buyer then complains that the chairman of the committee, Rep. Bob Filner, is trying to bring a bill to the floor in a way that reflects an "abuse of the process," calling it "political treachery" and demanding the bill be withdrawn. He then throws his hands in the air and yields back his time, at which time Richardson ends the session.

Buyer, who was first elected in 1992, announced early this year he is stepping down at the end of his term. The announcement came amid a health crisis faced by his wife, who has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and an ethics probe into how he has run a nonprofit foundation called Frontier Foundation.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington alleged that Buyer used the charity for private purposes. The Office of Congressional Ethics closed its review of the matter in March.

Brian Montopoli is senior political reporter for You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.
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