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'At Least You're Not a Cat': Congressman Appears Upside Down During Meeting

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Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer briefly appeared upside down during a mostly virtual House meeting on February 10, drawing laughs from colleagues.

Emmer, the Republican representative for Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, was speaking during a markup session in the House Committee on Financial Services for COVID-19 relief legislation.

“I’m sorry, Mr Emmer… are you OK?” asked committee chairwoman Maxine Waters.

“At least you’re not a cat,” said someone else in the meeting, referring to a Texas lawyer who had gone viral a day before when he appeared on Zoom using a cat filter during a court hearing.

Rep Emmer eventually righted himself and delivered his remarks. Credit: House Committee on Financial Services via Storyful

Video Transcript

MAXINE WATERS: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.

TOM EMMER: Thank you, Madam Chair. I move to strike the last one, obviously. Today's gig economy sprung out from the last recession. It offers a job to anyone who wants one. During COVID-19, we must make sure that our nation's sole proprietors and the smallest of small businesses receive timely--

MAXINE WATERS: Will the gentleman suspend? I'm sorry, Mr. Emmer?

TOM EMMER: Yes?

MAXINE WATERS: Are you OK?

TOM EMMER: I am.

- You're upside down, Tom.

TOM EMMER: I don't know how to fix that.

- Can he turn right side up?

MAXINE WATERS: --and get it right side up?

- What's that?

- Madam Chair, is this a metaphor?

MAXINE WATERS: I don't know, but he's upside down.

TOM EMMER: I don't know how to fix it.

- You could stand on your head.

- At least he's not a cat.

- What's that?

- You're going viral, Tom.

- At least he's not a cat.

TOM EMMER: I don't know what happened. It just came out this way. I turned it off and turned it back on. And I'm still-- OK? Hey.

- There you go. Yay!

TOM EMMER: Yay! Madam Chair, how's that?

MAXINE WATERS: The gentleman from Minnesota will continue.

TOM EMMER: Thank you, Madam Chair. Again, during COVID-19 we must make sure that our nation's sole proprietors and the smallest of small businesses receive timely and targeted support. The hardest hit in our labor force are these businesses that have 10 employees or less and the independent contractors who rely solely on their own efforts to provide a life for their families.

Businesses have increased their reliance on subcontractors and gig labor during these uncertain times. These self-motivated individuals have served as a lifeline for the American economy. Their impact has only become magnified this past year, as workers find themselves searching for non-traditional forms of employment and work that can be done from home.

I'm proud to support representative Huizenga's amendment to protect America's small businesses, our independent contractors, and our sole proprietors. And I also hope that through this process, the Democrat majority will take the time to actually work with Republicans to craft an improved bill and seriously consider our thoughtful recommendations. We can work towards compromises, hopefully, that benefit all Americans if you're willing to come to the table. Thank you, Madam Chair. I yield back.

- Madam Chair, Green of Texas--

MAXINE WATERS: Is there further debate?

- Green of Texas.

MAXINE WATERS: Thank you.