Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pelosi's Plan to Silence GOP Minority

Courtesy of News Max:

Republican Rep. Roy Blunt tells Newsmax that rule changes pushed through the House on Tuesday by the Democratic majority leave “the deck stacked to shove a Speaker Pelosi agenda through the House.”

The former Minority Whip from Missouri also declared that the changes are an “absolute contradiction to everything Barack Obama said” about nonpartisan politics during the campaign.

One change puts new restrictions on motions to “recommit” a bill to the committee that approved it in order to add new amendments.

The new rule allows the full House to reconsider a bill without delay, depriving the minority party of an opportunity to add its input on the proposed legislation.

“These changes that the majority’s made are truly going to have negative effects on moving a positive agenda forward,” Rep. Blunt told Newsmax’s Ashley Martella.

[Editor's Note: Watch the Roy Blunt Interview - Go Here Now]

“They silenced the minority’s ability, in this case the Republicans’ ability, to bring other ideas to the floor.

“We used rules that had been in the rules package for at least a hundred years to maximum advantage in a way that brought other alternatives to the floor, that were used to take bills off the floor when they couldn’t defeat our efforts to send a bill back to committee…

“These tools of the motion to recommit, particularly the motion to recommit where the committee actually did have to look at the legislation again, were incredibly helpful to us and have now been taken away.

“These rules were put in place so that the minority would always have a chance to bring their ideas to the floor and even send a bill back to committee. Over and over again we were able to do that in the last Congress and apparently that was enough for Speaker Pelosi, and so this hundred-year-old precedent has been broken…

“This is a use of their power that appears to be in absolute contradiction to everything the next president said he wanted to do in Washington, and we’ll see if he’s the Barack Obama who ran for president and tries to make his party do the same, or the Barack Obama who was very comfortable being part of the Illinois political machine and never defied the party in any way.”

Martella cited another rules change enacted Tuesday, which eliminates the six-year term limit for committee chairmen.

Blunt called the move “a major reversal of the last dozen years of Republican majority,” which “further consolidates power in the hands of a few people and frankly makes more people have to go along with a very few leaders.”

Martella pointed out that when Republicans took over Congress in 1994 in the Newt Gingrich revolution, they offered conciliatory gestures to the Democrats regarding input and participation. “Now with what Pelosi has done, does it make the GOP upset with itself for playing Mr. Nice Guy back then?” he asked.

Said Blunt: “Well, it’s just the opposite certainly of what we did. I think the difference was that Republicans were confident in the 1995 Congress, and frankly for a dozen years, in our ideas and we were willing to let those ideas be challenged in the debate, to be challenged in the marketplace of ideas.

“One thing we saw in the Pelosi leadership in the last Congress was that if you’re not willing to let your ideas be challenged on the House floor, they probably didn’t have much of a chance of becoming law.

“Now in this Congress, with a Senate that’s much more inclined to agree with Nancy Pelosi and a president who’s more inclined to agree with the Speaker, they may be able to get their bills passed into law anyway.”

Asked if there are steps the GOP can take to counter these moves, Blunt said: “At the end of the day there’s not a lot Republicans can do.

“Clearly the deck is pretty well stacked to shove a Speaker Pelosi agenda through the House, and we’ll see if that’s also a Barack Obama agenda as it goes to the Senate.”

John Fund also blasted Pelosi in his Wall Street Journal column Pelosi Turns Back the Clock on House Reform. Fund states that not only are the new House rules damaging, but also inconsistent with Pelosi's previous rhetoric.

Mrs. Pelosi used to see things differently. Back in 2004, she unveiled a proposed "Bill of Rights" to protect House minority interests. It called on Republicans to allow more meaningful substitutes to bills, give members enough time to read bills before final votes, and stop holding roll-call votes past the normal 15 minutes. She had a point. In late 2003, Republican leaders held open a roll-call vote on the Medicare drug entitlement for three hours until they bullied enough wavering members into voting aye.

Mrs. Pelosi warned in 2004 that "When we [Democrats] are shut out, they are shutting out the great diversity of America." We want a higher standard." In 2006, just before becoming speaker, Mrs. Pelosi reiterated her plans to promote "bipartisanship" and "to ensure the rights of the minority."

That was then. This month, she even suggested passing a huge new stimulus package before Barack Obama is sworn in on Jan. 20.

Fund then mentioned that some "blue dog" Democrats will have their opinions squashed and they were used by Rahmbo.

All those nice pro-life, gun-owning young Democrats recruited to run by Rahm Emanuel will never have any real influence now," says Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform. "They were useful in getting Democrats a majority but now they'll be in the back of the bus."

Barack Obama ran for president pledging to end needless partisanship and to create "a new politics." He is at least making a stab at that by appointing a couple of cabinet members with Republican ties and consulting with GOP Congressional leaders. It's unsettling that his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill seem intent on marching in a completely opposite direction.

America can no longer afford to be silent. Our voices are not being heard. We are being subject to censorship.

Hold you representatives accountable!

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