Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dems Reneg on Election Promises

So reports the Politico:

Pelosi vowed that five-day workweeks would be a hallmark of a harder-working Democratic majority. So far, the House has logged only one. Lawmakers plan to clock three days this week.

The speaker has denied Republicans a vote on their proposals during congressional debates -- a tactic she previously declared oppressive and promised to end. Pelosi has opened the floor to a Republican alternative just once...

"She has done exactly what she said she would do," said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

For example, he noted, while the House is not always in session five days a weeks, many committees are working throughout the week. Pelosi promised an ambitious start to the new Congress, he said, and she had determined the best way to proceed was by limiting debate.

"In the future," Daly said, "we will do business in the regular order."

Pelosi seems to be following a familiar pattern. Twelve years ago, Speaker Newt Gingrich promised to reform the House and govern by principles of fairness and transparency. But, for leaders of both parties, the reality of ruling with a narrow majority translates into tight controls over floor debate, cozy relations with lobbyists and accommodating the needs of lawmakers (who hate working long weeks).

Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a congressional watchdog organization, said Jefferson's reelection put the new speaker in a bind.

"Pelosi had to put him somewhere," said Sloan, who has also worked as minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee for then-ranking member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). "But I am troubled by the fact ... that (Jefferson) is the kind of guy who could not pass a security clearance test and yet now he has access to top-secret government info."

Sloan also took issue with Democrats' use of committee chairs for fundraising efforts, a tactic Republicans often abused in the last Congress.

"Given the scandals of last Congress, particularly involving (disgraced former lobbyist Jack) Abramoff, it doesn't look good," Sloan said. "It is very hard for people to understand the difference between what's legal and what's illegal."

So far, the GOP has been shut out of virtually every big debate. The most recent example was the House fight over the war in Iraq, in which Democrats broke their promise to allow the GOP a vote on its nonbinding resolution supporting the troops...

If anything, this criticism is too generous. Pelosi's spokesman defends her leadership by saying that committees have been working even while the House was out of session. That has always been the case; it was true last year. Apparently those workdays only count when Democrats are in charge.

He further says that Democrats will return to 'regular order' once the promised 'ambitious start' is finished.

Well, that 'ambitious start' had already ended when Republicans were shut out of the Iraq debate, refused the opportunity to offer amendments to major appropriatons legislation, as well as to a measure to grant a vote to previously non-voting delegates.

Democrats have not shut Republicans out of the debate when necessary to complete an ambitious start. They have shut Republicans out of the debate when their participation threatened to derail a Democratic priority.

Ms. Pelosi promised that once in charge, Democrats would open the debate up - and even lose votes. That is precisely what they have refused to do so far; to allow debate on Republican ideas that have majority support.


Anonymous said...

Waaaaa, Waaaaaa!
would you like some cheese with that wine?

The Editor at IP said...

Is that you, Clay?

I'll remember that the next time a Democrat complains about (a) process, or (b) Republicans going back on their word.