WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee may have trouble keeping the promise she made at Michael Jackson's public memorial for a House resolution that "forever" honors the late pop star.
Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, took the stage Tuesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and hoisted a framed copy of the resolution, embossed with a gold seal. The measure will be debated on the House floor, she said.
For that framed, embossed resolution to be completely legit, it must first get past some opposition.
Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who called Jackson a "pervert, child molester, pedophile" in a video he posted on YouTube this week, vowed Tuesday to do "whatever I have to do" to oppose honoring Jackson.
Without mentioning King by name, Jackson Lee noted at the memorial that Michael Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges. She blasted critics who "don't understand the hearts of entertainers" and "don't know how they heal the world on behalf of America."
"We understand the Constitution. We understand laws and we know people are innocent until proven otherwise. That is what the Constitution stands for," Jackson Lee said, clutching the framed resolution in front of her shiny white suit.
Her legislation, House Resolution 600, lists several charitable acts by Michael Jackson over his long career and proclaims him as an American legend, musical icon and world humanitarian. He is, Jackson Lee said, "someone who will be honored forever and forever and forever and forever and forever."
In the House, non-controversial resolutions honoring a person who has died or carried out a noteworthy accomplishment normally move quickly from committee to the House floor and then pass on a voice vote. The Michael Jackson resolution, introduced June 26, is awaiting action in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of which Jackson Lee is a member and King is not.
An opponent could ask for a recorded vote, which then requires a two-thirds majority for passage. So far, Jackson Lee's resolution has just one co-sponsor, Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif.
Jackson Lee hosted a 2004 meeting in her Capitol Hill office that brought Michael Jackson together with ambassadors to the U.S. from African countries. At the time, Jackson was considering a tour to raise money to fight AIDS. However, he was also facing child molestation charges and was unable to leave the country without court permission.
Even so, Jackson was greeted by screams, applause and flashing cameras.
Jackson also visited Iraq veterans at Walter Reed Hospital while in Washington.