The Corner

‘Chicken Crap’ Or, One More Bit of Procedural Chicanery for Old Time’s Sake

Dear Corner readers, I know you thought your days of worrying about “deem-and-pass” rules, “ping-ponging,”  and other congressional arcana were over when the president signed the Affordable Care Act. But it looks like House Democrats had one bit of wild procedural abuse left in them for the lame duck.

See, we thought the House vote on the middle-class-only extension of current tax rates would be purely symbolic. The short version is that Democratic leadership was worried Republicans would be able to pull in enough moderate Democrats to “recommit” — sending the half-measure tax bill into legislative oblivion. So, they were looking at voting under a suspension of the rules that would take away the recommit. But since that vote would have required a two-thirds majority to pass, it would have been pure political theater, an attempt by Democrats to get Republicans on-record “blocking a tax cut for the middle class” (or, without the scare quotes, on record blocking a tax hike in a recession). 

Instead, the Democrats have come up with a procedural trick that allows them to pass the tax hike with a simple majority and denies the minority party their long-enshrined right to offer an alternative. Basically, the Democrats are taking an innocuous air transportation bill — already passed by the House and amended in the Senate — scooping out its insides with a legislative melon-baller, and replacing them with brand new taxes. Since the bill (or at least its exoskeleton) already “passed” the House and that body is merely taking it up again to consider Senate amendments, the Democrats can set the rules of debate very, very narrowly. And indeed, they wrote the rules in such a way that their tax hike amendment, and only their tax hike amendment, can be considered.

I heartily endorse Speaker-designate Boehner’s new nickname for this maneuver: “Chicken crap.”

If there is a bright spot in this, it’s that the procedural vote to allow this bit of chicanery was very close (213-203), with at least 28 Democrats voting against. And Pelosi has scheduled a number of insignificant but time-wasting votes before the tax hike is actually taken up later this afternoon, suggesting that Democratic leadership need that time to whip, whip, whip.

Daniel FosterDaniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

Most Popular

Elections

Biden, Never

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found  here, here, here, here, here and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the ... Read More
Elections

Biden, Never

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found  here, here, here, here, here and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the ... Read More
Elections

Late Campaign Stops Don’t Seem to Do Much

Growing up in New Jersey, we called nights like tonight – where there were expectations for hooliganism -- vandalism, breaking windows, and perhaps even arson, “Mischief Night.” In Detroit, they called it “Devil’s Night.” In 2020, Americans just call it “Friday.” On the menu today: wondering ... Read More
Elections

Late Campaign Stops Don’t Seem to Do Much

Growing up in New Jersey, we called nights like tonight – where there were expectations for hooliganism -- vandalism, breaking windows, and perhaps even arson, “Mischief Night.” In Detroit, they called it “Devil’s Night.” In 2020, Americans just call it “Friday.” On the menu today: wondering ... Read More
Media

About That ‘Uncoverable’ Biden Story

Journalists claim they can’t cover the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop because the underlying evidence has yet to been verified. Also, they won’t look for any verifying evidence because there isn’t enough evidence. It’s quite the conundrum. Because other than the now-corroborated emails, ... Read More
Media

About That ‘Uncoverable’ Biden Story

Journalists claim they can’t cover the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop because the underlying evidence has yet to been verified. Also, they won’t look for any verifying evidence because there isn’t enough evidence. It’s quite the conundrum. Because other than the now-corroborated emails, ... Read More
White House

Hell, Yes

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National ... Read More
White House

Hell, Yes

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National ... Read More

Searching for a Sign

I’ve been waiting for almost six months to see a Biden-Harris yard sign in my neighborhood. Finally one -- just one -- appeared about two weeks ago. It is large and proud. The homeowners even equipped it with a spotlight, so that it is visible at night. I’m surprised, because liberal political yard signs ... Read More

Searching for a Sign

I’ve been waiting for almost six months to see a Biden-Harris yard sign in my neighborhood. Finally one -- just one -- appeared about two weeks ago. It is large and proud. The homeowners even equipped it with a spotlight, so that it is visible at night. I’m surprised, because liberal political yard signs ... Read More