Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mitchell Can't Explain Stolen House Vote

The Majority Accountability Project calls attention to an interview done by Congressman Harry Mitchell (D-AZ), in which he tries to explain why he switched his vote on an amendment that would have denied food stamps and other benefits to illegal immigrants. Mitchell's answer is that such benefits are already illegal, and to make it 'doubly illegal' was just an attempt to derail the bill.

But that's just untrue. The agriculture appropriations bill is just about the least controversial funding bill Congress considers. Further, the House had adopted a similar amendment (Congressman Garrett's) to the agriculture bill in 2006, and the measure passed by a vote of 378-46. The bill passed by a vote of 408-18 in 2005, 389-31 in 2004... you get the picture. There was no way the adoption of this amendment would have hurt the chance for passage. It was headed toward a comfortable victory until the disputed vote. Furthermore, a provision that changes nothing -- Mitchell's claim -- would not have hurt chances for passage.

And if this was just an effort to derail the bill, or if it was superfluous (Mitchell makes both of these contradictory claims), then why did he wait until pressed by Democratic leaders to change the vote? And even if all of the above is true, it still doesn't excuse his waiting until after the gavel came down and the amendment had passed to make the change.

No, this explanation just doesn't pass the smell test.

Listen to the interview with Mitchell here, and judge for yourself whether he's answering the question, or just trying to distract listeners.

Republican leader Boenher has done a lot of traveling during the August recess, and he's been asked about the stolen vote on a number of radio shows. Listen here, here, here and here. When Congress returns after Labor Day, Boehner is expected to name the three Republicans who will sit on the select committee created by Congress to investigate this embarrassment.

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