In the moments before the U.S. House of Representatives' voted to approve a health-care bill late Saturday, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, was called on to argue against a last-ditch Republican effort to block a vote.
His remarks, part of a highly charged debate, were interrupted by loud Republican chants of "trial lawyer" and came just before the full House voted, 220-215, to approve the bill.
The Republican parliamentary effort, called a motion to recommit, would have sent the bill back for redrafting, and it came just before 10 p.m. Saturday.
U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., argued "any physician in America will tell you that the simplest way to reduce health-care costs is to enact real medical liability reform."
Republicans have pushed for caps on lawsuit awards as part of a reform package but have been spurned by Democrats.
Braley, responding for the majority, said Republicans who were complaining about the cost of medical malpractice insurance were ignoring patient safety.
"If you want to talk about real meaningful health-care reform, it's important to talk about ... standing up for patient safety," he said.
At that point, Republicans began to jeer the Waterloo Democrat and chanted "trial lawyer" repeatedly.
Braley, a former president of the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association, has often been targeted for criticism on that front. And at one point, he had to stop speaking while the House was brought to order.
Raising his voice over the din, Braley went on to cite an Institute of Medicine report saying the most significant way to reduce medical malpractice costs was to reduce medical errors.
The motion was defeated 247-187.