by Paul Jacob
Democrats in Congress campaigned effectively against Republican corruption, including the dictatorial way the GOP ran the House, shutting down debate and shutting out Democratic alternatives.
Last year, before the election, then Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi argued for "open, full and fair debate consisting of a full amendment process that grants the minority the right to offer its alternatives, including a substitute." After the election, now Speaker Pelosi reiterated her commitment, saying, "The principle of civility and respect for minority participation in the House is something we promised the American people."
But the Washington Post reports that Republicans have been permitted to propose amendments on only one of the first nine major pieces of legislation that Democrats have brought to the floor thus far.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer admits, "It sounds like we're not doing what we said we would do -- I understand that," but he argues that the importance of the legislation in question justifies their actions. Others suggest there is danger Republican alternatives might gain acceptance. Heaven forbid.
But don't get defensive, Mr. Hoyer. Your leadership team has kept its word more than 10 percent of the time. I guess that's par . . . for Congress.
Pelosi and Hoyer say that in the future they'll be allowing more minority input. "This," according to Rutgers University Professor Ross Baker, "is the legislative equivalent of 'the check is in the mail.'"
Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by the Sam Adams Alliance. Their website can be visited at www.samadamsalliance.org.