The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Saturday, August 04, 2007
UPDATED Crisis in the House - Day 3
Captain Ed summed up the events in the House thusly (emphasis mine):
The agreement to form a special committee was extraordinary. Such powerful investigative committees are usually reserved for issues such as the Watergate scandal and the funneling of profits from Iranian arms sales to the Nicaraguan contras in the 1980s.
"I don't know when something like this has happened before," said House deputy historian Fred W. Beuttler. He called the decision "incredible."
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) accepted GOP calls for an investigation. "I do not believe there was any wrongdoing by any member of the House. I do believe a mistake was made," he said. "And I regret it."
"We are not irrelevant here," said House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). "Just because we are in the minority doesn't mean we're irrelevant."
GOP lawmakers had marched out of the House chamber about 11 p.m. Thursday, shouting "shame, shame" and saying that Democrats had "stolen" a vote on a parliamentary motion to pull an agriculture spending bill off the floor until it incorporated an explicit denial of federal benefits to illegal immigrants. The bill already would deny such benefits to illegal immigrants, and Democrats stressed that they won the vote fair and square. But a campaign has been launched, and the House has not fully recovered.
"Last night sent a clear message to the American people that there are people in this town who are willing to break rules and utilize extraordinary maneuvers just so that illegal immigrants can receive taxpayer-funded benefits," said Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (R-Calif.).
It's going to get uglier before it gets better. In fact, with the Iraq battle coming up, it may not get better until we replace these tin-horn "dictators." Hopefully that will happen next year...
It started when Democrats gaveled a vote to a close on a bill that would have prevented federal aid going to illegal immigrants. The Democrats insisted that the vote had been a tie, 214-214, but C-SPAN showed the vote as 215-213 for the Republicans. The Democrats tried to keep the vote from the record, and then belatedly reported it as a 216-212 loss for the GOP.
Republicans erupted in outrage. Democrats had earlier in this session changed the previous rules allowing votes to remain open at the discretion of the president of the session, a practice they called unfair while in the minority. Instead, Republicans charged, they simply disregarded the result of a vote and replaced it with their own desires -- a highly dangerous precedent that creates dictatorial rule by the majority leadership. If allowed to stand, the incident would eliminate any requirement to actually vote at all in the House.
The panel will consist of three Republicans and three Democrats. They have a deadline for an interim report of September 30th of this year, with the final report due a year later -- just before the next elections. In the meantime, the GOP wants the vote to return to its gavelled result. If they do not get that, the Republicans will likely embark on a series of parliamentary manuevers that will keep House leadership from accomplishing any of their top agenda items. After all, the Republicans have nothing to lose as long as Nancy Pelosi disregards the results of legitimate votes and rules by decree instead.
UPDATE: What does seem to be increasingly clear is that the Republicans really did win the vote that the House leadership nullified (h/t Instapundit). If this is allowed to stand a precedent has been set--a Congressional Rubicon, if you will. The people need to rise up and boot these Stalinists out of office. 2008 will be a very big year in the history of the United States.