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Process Foul

Dems’ Summer of Inaction, Disarray Draws to a Messy Close 

July 30, 2010 

Dems’ Summer of Inaction, Disarray Draws to a Messy Close 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi - “[W]e promised the American people that we would have the most honest and open government and we will.” (Press conference, December 6, 2006). 

After failing to pass a budget and barely getting started on their appropriations work three months late, House Democrats left for the August break today in typically sloppy fashion.  In their rush to look like they’re “doing something” to help small businesses suffering from their job-killing agenda or deal with the aftermath of the BP oil spill that occurred more than 100 days ago, the Majority further exposed their inability to “do anything” well.  Running roughshod over their own promises of openness, transparency, and effectiveness, the Majority abused the use of the suspension process and ran afoul of their own earmark rules by filing an inaccurate bill report. 

Today’s shenanigans actually began last night when the Majority exercised their “parachute” authority, made a part of the standing Rules of the House only this Congress, to yank legislation at any point during its consideration.  When the Majority learned of a potential Motion to Recommit (MTR) on H.R. 5893 that would have repealed a particular provision from the healthcare law that burdens small businesses they immediately pulled the bill rather than take the vote.  Then, this morning and with less than five minutes notice, they introduced a new version of the bill with portions of the MTR incorporated and brought it up for debate.  But they refused to read it.  (They were only able to do so because of the special suspension authority they granted themselves every week but one since Memorial Day.)  Perhaps the Majority simply hopes no one will notice they took the first steps toward repealing the healthcare law, which remains highly unpopular

Later in the day, the Majority’s rushed consideration of the CLEAR Act, a job-killing haphazard response to the BP oil spill was temporarily derailed when the committee report accompanying the legislation was found to include a typo, which meant the bill was not in compliance with the Majority’s own earmark rules.  The bill got back on track, but the larger point was CLEAR – this Majority is a sloppy, free spending mess. 

Rules Committee Ranking Republican David Dreier (R-CA) said the inauspicious exit today is yet more evidence that the Majority is in disarray and incapable of delivering on the promises they made to the American people.  “With unemployment at record levels and huge tax increases looming over small businesses everywhere, the Majority stumbled through their last day of work for six weeks with typos and slapdash legislating.  The American people are tired of the games, they need and want results.  We should be spending our time getting our fiscal house in order rather than scrambling to score points on the House floor.”


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