In their first hours as House majority, the Democrats plan to vote on a series of measures without input from the Republican minority, bypassing the committee process. Yes, Republicans sometimes disdained minority rights when they held power, but some of us with long memories recall that Democrats did the same for 40 years before 1994. You won’t get that perspective from the news. Every story about the Democrats’ high-handed tactics points out that Republicans have no grounds for complaint since they did the same thing.
Surely the Republicans themselves have a better rejoinder? No. And it gets worse. In a press conference yesterday, the minority leadership not only failed to make a case against the Democrats, they actually supported the notion that the Democrats are the party of ethics reform. Here’s the NPR account:
When the new Congress is sworn in Thursday, for the first time in 12 years, the Democrats will be in control. In addition to a historic first — Nancy Pelosi will become the first woman speaker of the House — the new Democratic majority plans to bar Republicans from offering amendments to bills the House will take up in its first 100 hours.
Republicans employed a similar tactic in their 12 years as the House majority, barring Democrats’ amendments, not letting them see bills until they were to be voted on and giving them little input in committees.
But Florida Republican Adam Putnam says the situations are not similar.
“The difference is the important point here is that the American people were promised a new way of doing business in the 110th Congress,” Putnam says. “There was clearly a high level of frustration in the heartland about the way people viewed the workings and procedures in this building, and they were promised a fresh approach, a fresh start.”
Oh dear. Can anybody here play this game?