Friday, October 07, 2005

Governed by Children Watch: Chaos in the House

Once again, our legislators' inner five-year olds showed up to work today. As the House voted on a bill to encourage oil companies to build new refineries, the Republican leadership was in danger of losing. So they did what they do best: held open the vote until they could strong-arm caucus members into changing their votes. A five-minute vote stretched into 44 minutes, as Democrats cried foul and Republican leaders - including ousted majority leader Tom DeLay, according to some reports - "circled the floor" urging other Republicans to support the bill.

As Democrats shouted parliamentary inquiries at the member serving as speaker, Mike Simpson of Idaho, he repeatedly stated that he would keep the vote open until he felt that "all members were finished voting." Read: when the leadership gets their way.

The bill, which I oppose, "would streamline government permits for refineries, open federal lands including closed military bases for future refinery construction and limit the number of gasoline blends refiners have to produce, eliminating many blends now designed to reduce air pollution," according to the AP. It is nothing but a fat lot of handouts to the oil companies disguised as a measure to help bring down gas prices.

The video of today's histrionics is here. It's pretty sick, but if you can stomach it, I would watch.

After the arm-twisting, the bill passed 212-210. No Democrats voted for it; thirteen Republicans voted no, many of them good centrists. They are: Boehlert, Bradley (NH), Castle, Fitzpatrick (PA), Johnson (IL), Jones (NC), LaHood, Leach, LoBiondo, Saxton, Shays, Smith (NJ), Weldon (PA).

I agree with the nay-sayers on this. Shame on the Republican leadership. Shame on this abuse of power, and shame on Tom DeLay for being anywhere near center stage. Enough is enough.


At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Charles Amico said...

You are seeing the beginning of Naziism tactics in this Republican party and any self respecting Republican should be speaking out with the same intensity that Sen. McCain has on his Bill which passed the Senate 90-9 regarding banning the use of torture by our Military. At least the Senate has stood up and is being counted. A House cleaning is in order.


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