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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Dem Called By Any Other Name Is Still A Dem....

What happened to the new era of change in Washington? What happened to the open government that was supposed to happen? What happend to all the "bipartisan' cries from the last 6 years?

Nancy Pelosi has decided that the GOP will be locked out of any governance in the first 100 business hours of the new congress. All of the new social legislation that is coming will NOT be processed through committees, and the GOP will not be able to see the legislation until it is proposed on the floor for debate. So, the new demo cogress has decided that republicans can't see new laws, can't effectively debate new laws, and are expected to vote on new laws without the opportunity to read them.

Of course, it is political gamesmanship, and the result is predictable. Dems offer something that NO ONE has ever seen, republicans obstruct it because they haven't read it (Not like any of them actually read what they vote for, but still....) and the demos can complain that the GOP is still the party of obstruction and they don't want change, yadda, yadda, yadda....

You really think that this is what the country voted for in November?

8 Posts From Readers:

Nicho said...

Robert said...
You really think that this is what the country voted for in November?


No. But it is quite funny to see the roles reversed. The GOP is using the words of then-House Minority Leader Pelosi from 2004 to ask for Minority rights they dismissed out of hand from Pelosi two years ago.

Robert, the Dems have been locked out for the past 12 years and you're complaining about the first 100 hours? I'm normally shy to say "what's good for the goose..." because I like authority figures who govern by good example and not bad precedent. But don't you think it's a bit hypocritical to be crying foul now that the GOP is in the Dem's old spot?

I would very much like Pelosi to reform the House to a collegial body again, because heaven knows it hasn't been for the past six years...but I think the GOP has earned this time to squirm in spades. DeLay ran that House with complete disregard to any opposing views - including the views of fellow moderate Republicans who didn't pass Tom's litmus test.

These are GOP rules, not Dem rules. Perhaps you now know what all the "bipartisan cries from the last 6 years" is all about now?

That said, I wholeheartedly agree that there needs to be a new vein of civility in congress. The shame is that it's up to Dems to make that first move - Republicans blew their chance over the past 12 years.

Robert said...

And now the dems are blowing theirs. You know that I have the same heartaches over the behavior of our governement as you. This isn't a partisan thing, it is an American thing. We deserve more and deserve better from our government. I am so tired of hearing about one party, either party, taking their football and going home. I know, the future of our country is dependent on everything that happens in congress. But you can have a complete difference in philosophy, stand by your principles, and still act as a statesman and not a fraternity president debating the theme of next year's rush party.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think that the GOP refused to share the legislation with dems before it was introduced to the floor. I don't think amendments were refused en masse, and I don't think that the GOP circumvented the traditional committee hearings on anything that was important.

Nicho said...

Robert said...
Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think that the GOP refused to share the legislation with dems before it was introduced to the floor. I don't think amendments were refused en masse, and I don't think that the GOP circumvented the traditional committee hearings on anything that was important.


Actually, that's straight out of the DeLay playbook, my friend. They don't talk about these things on right-wing sites or media, but believe me this is nothing new and that's why the GOP is making such a fuss now about it - they now are forced to deal with the rules they set up. Any new rules have to be voted on before the session can begin.

Nicho said...

To follow up, I didn't want to leave my assertion of the GOP way of doing things without citation.

From the Boston Globe: Back-room dealing a Capital trend - Oct 3, 2004

*The House Rules Committee, which is meant to tweak the language in bills that come out of committee, sometimes rewrites key passages of legislation approved by other committees, then forbids members from changing the bills on the floor. Only five times this year were House members allowed to amend policy bills on the floor, and only 15 percent of bills this year were open to amendment. For the entire 108th Congress, just 28 percent of total bills have been open to amendment -- barely more than half of what Democrats allowed in their last session in power in 1993-94. Further, the Rules Committee has blocked floor votes on legislation opposed by the Bush administration but supported by a majority of the House. For example, a bill to extend benefits to the long-term unemployed has been kept off the House floor despite what backers say is the support of a bipartisan majority.

*The Rules Committee commonly holds sessions late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, earning the nickname "the Dracula Congress" by critical Democrats and keeping some lawmakers quite literally in the dark about the legislation put before them. On the Patient's Bill of Rights legislation in 2001, for example, the Rules Committee made a one-word change in the middle of the night that drastically limited the liability of HMOs that deny coverage to their patients. The measure was hustled through the House hours later, with few lawmakers aware of the change.

*Congressional conference committees, charged with reconciling differences between House- and Senate-passed versions of the same legislation, have become dramatically more powerful in shaping bills. The panels, made up of a small group of lawmakers appointed by leaders in both parties, added a record 3,407 "pork barrel" projects to appropriations bills for this year's federal budget, items that were never debated or voted on beforehand by the House and Senate and whose congressional patrons are kept secret. This compares to just 47 projects added in conference committee in 1994, the last year of Democratic control.

*Bills are increasingly crafted behind closed doors, and on two major pieces of legislation -- the Medicare and energy bills -- few Democrats were allowed into the critical conference committee meetings, sessions that historically have been bipartisan. The energy bill -- a sweeping package meant to lay out a national energy policy -- started in closed-door meetings held by Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force and was written in private sessions on Capitol Hill that excluded all Democrats. On the Medicare negotiations, only two Democrats -- both already supportive of the bill -- were included.

*The amount of time spent openly debating bills has dropped dramatically, and lawmakers are further hamstrung by an abbreviated schedule that gives them little time to fully examine a bill before voting on it. The House typically holds no votes until Tuesday evenings -- and then usually on noncontroversial items such as the renaming of post offices -- then adjourns for the week by Thursday afternoon. The Iraq war resolution was debated just two days in 2002; the defense authorization bill, which customarily undergoes weeks of floor discussion, was debated and voted on this year in two days.

Laurie said...

What to get the conservative who has everything: mirrors.

"What happend to all the "bipartisan' cries from the last 6 years?"

Hmmmm...could they have been stifled by one of the most partisan congresses in history? How dare the Republicans demand fair play now that the Dems are in control when they shamelessly, constantly ignored (and ridiculed) any opposition to conservative agenda.

Robert said...

Hmmmm...just for the sake of argument: it is wrong for republicans but justified by dems?

Nicho said...

Robert said...
Hmmmm...just for the sake of argument: it is wrong for republicans but justified by dems?


No, it really isn't, hence my call for leadership by good example and not bad precedent.

What I think you're missing Robert is that you just now realized the highly unfair treatment of the minority party. Since you're concerned with fairness, which I honestly think you are, why weren't you concerned when Dems were forced to put up with it?

And if you believe in fairness, you can't go back to the 40-year rule of Democrats either, regardless of what they pulled. In 1994 Republicans made a Contract With America to much fanfare. In 12 years they managed to break that contract; most pertinently to this discussion, with regards to how congress was run. You know what their first move was? Remove the rule of tenure for committee chairmanship and instead allow the chairs to be picked by the majority leadership.

Over the past six years there have been numerous events of why this is a horrible idea - depicted best by Sensenbrenner's adjournment of a committee meeting in complete disregard to points of order from Dems, or the refusal to swear in oil company executives during a congressional hearing despite strenuous objections by Democrats. To quote John Dean, if Democrats ran congress with an iron will, Republicans ran congress with an iron fist.

I can't speak for all my Democrat friends, Robert, but I wouldn't expect smooth sailing for the ultra-right GOP if I were you. As with any workplace environment, you can’t walk all over people and expect them to play by all the rules when they become the boss – retribution is a foregone conclusion, sad as it may be from a moral standpoint.

Robert said...

I think that in every organization, those in control get to select how some things are run, which items are considered for action, etc. That is the whole point of being in control, right? I have no problem with the majority party, whichever it is, controlling the direction of the agenda. I disagree with most of those agendas, but nonetheless, they won and they get to direct it.

We are in agreement. As I have always maintained, we need statesmen and not politicians. We need leaders, not people in leadership positions.

And I am really not just catching on to the inherent trodding on the minority party. BOTH parties need to set aside the partisan crap. i mean, there will be partisanship over philosophy and ideas, but it should be civil and all the sniping should disappear.

I really can't tell the difference most says between the U.S. Congress and the middle school SGA that my daughter is a representative to this year.

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