Video: Stenographer dragged off House floor after protest - New York News

Video: Stenographer dragged off House floor after protest

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WASHINGTON -

A House of Representatives stenographer was dragged off the floor during the vote to end the partial government shutdown and raise the U.S. debt ceiling after a bizarre protest in which she began ranting at members. 

Fox News identified the stenographer as Dianne Reidy, who went to the Speaker's Chair while the vote was in progress and said, "Praise be to God Jesus Christ." She also appeared to make references to America not being one nation under God because “Freemasons” wrote the Constitution. She also seemed to say something about a “house divided.”

A woman tried to calm Reidy as others summoned police.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the presiding officer, banged the gavel to restore order several times, but did not deter Reidy, who screamed "You cannot serve two masters" as she was removed from the floor.

LISTEN: House stenographer makes bizarre protest (Courtesy Todd Zwillich)

According to Ros-Lehtinen, Reidy "came up to the podium area beneath where I was standing and asked me if the microphones were on. I said that I didn't know. I assumed that perhaps I was chatting too much to the helpful parliamentarians around me. Then she suddenly faced the front and said words like 'Thus spoke the Lord.' And, 'This is not the Lord's work.' 

"I hammered to get control and hush her up. She said something about the devil. It was sudden, confusing and heartbreaking. She is normally a gentle soul."

Reidy was questioned by U.S. Capitol Police after her removal from the floor and was later taken to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. It was not immediately clear whether criminal charges would be filed. 

The disruption stunned members of Congress already jumpy after two weeks of partisan invective over the partial government shutdown and Thursday's debt ceiling deadline. 

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, told Fox News, "You have a lot of members who are concerned about who is allowed on the floor when something like that happens."

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Nicholas Kalman contributed to this report.

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