Thursday, September 27, 2007

Barney Frank: Democrats Closing Debate in the House

Things have to get pretty bad for the pot to call itself black:

More here:

The rule — from the House Rules Committee — barred virtually all Republican amendments to the flood-insurance measure, even in cases where Frank had told the Rules Committee he wanted to work with the sponsors.

"She called me and said I’ve shut down all the Republican amendments,” Frank said, describing a phone call he received later from Rep. Louise Slaughter (D., N.Y.), who chairs the Rules panel. And when Republicans protested, Frank twice voted “present” on successive leadership-backed motions related to the matter.

Frank’s criticism is striking, coming from a strong liberal with ties to Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, who controls the makeup of the Rules committee and so the panel’s conduct ultimately reflects on her.

“I just move paper,” said a committee aide, when asked to explain the crackdown on Republican amendments. But other Democrats on the Rules Committee were described as upset with the decision, and Republicans accused Slaughter of retaliating for their having issued a report this week critical of her management of the panel during this first year of the new Democratic Congress.

Here is a link to the Republican report that made the Democratic Committee Chair so angry. Highlights:

  • The new Majority's Rules Committee has rewritten bills to include massive tax increases and Medicare cuts with no debate.
  • The new Majority's Rules Committee has rejected more Minority-sponsored amendments than the previous Congress.
  • The new Majority's Rules Committee has issued more than double the number of closed rules allowing for no amendments than the previous Congress.
  • The new Majority's Rules Committee has adopted a policy of turning some Members of Congress away at the door of the Committee when they attempt to submit amendments.
  • The new Majority's Rules Committee has reduced by an entire day the amount of time Members have to review legislation and submit amendments for consideration.
  • The new Majority's Rules Committee has abandoned its pledges for regular order in the House, instead jamming through huge bills with less than 24 hours for review.

So the Democrats fail to live up to their promises by stifling debate and shutting out Republicans. Then when Republicans point it out, Democrats respond in such a draconian fashion that even Barney Frank complains. Nice.

Did the American people vote for pettiness and vindictiveness last November? Democrats are delivering.

Update: More at the Hill.

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