By Vickie Thomas

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – After a long day in the Michigan House reportedly ended in a near-brawl, two state lawmakers say that the whole thing is being blown out of proportion.

Rep. David Nathan and Rep. Harvey Santana, both Detroit Democrats, were involved in the scuffle late Thursday as the House neared the end of a 12-hour session.

Nathan was at his seat when Santana approached his desk. Other lawmakers and House sergeants moved in to keep them separated.

Nathan said Friday the swarm around his desk made the incident look bigger than it was. He said no punches were thrown and the incident “really wasn’t anything.”   Nathan downplayed the dispute, saying he never actually even got out of his seat during the verbal exchange.

Both men told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Vickie Thomas that what was really at the heart of the incident was a lot of frustration over Republicans having their way over the last year, shutting Democrats out.

Nathan said Republicans aren’t giving Democrats opportunities to participate in the legislative process, causing tensions.

In fact, Democratic lawmakers held a news conference in Lansing on Thursday to talk about the frustration of losing on just about every issue as Republicans rule with an iron fist.

Santana likened the dispute with Nathan to two football players from opposing teams mouthing off, helmet to helmet.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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