Saturday, August 04, 2007

A House of Cads

There is distrust, outrage and demands for an accounting.

In this, the tensions in Congress are reflecting the national mood.

At issue the last two days on the Hill, "House Forms Special Panel Over Alleged Stolen Vote, GOP Assails Decision on Food Aid for Immigrants."

It was quite extraordinary, really. Late Thursday, GOP lawmakers moved to send the 2008 agriculture spending bill back to the House Appropriations Committee for members to "add an explicit prohibition on illegal immigrants receiving food stamps."

The Democratic leadership balked, saying the bill already denied such benefits. There was a GOP parliamentary motion to pull the bill off of the floor until the explicit prohibition was included.

It seems the Democrats gaveled the vote over with the GOP winning 215 to 213 according to a public tally, or, tied at 214 to 214 according to the "official" tally.... but the Democrats just went ahead and declared that they had won.

Democrats say some of their party were scrambling to change their vote, which they were then allowed to do, making the final tally (after the gavel had fallen) 216 to 212 in the Democrats favor.

An outraged GOP loudly shouted "shame, shame" at these maneuvers and then marched out of the chamber en masse.

A complaining "House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-OH) said there were no Democrats seeking to change their votes at the time.

"Moreover, he charged, [House Majority Leader] Hoyer had told a protesting parliamentarian, 'We control, not the parliamentarians.' And, he said, electronic records on the vote disappeared from the House's voting system and on the House clerk's Web site."

What happened, even by Hoyer's (D-MD) estimation was "a mistake... and I regret it." Thus the formation of a select committee made up of three Democrats and three Republicans to sort things out.

Indeed, it seems the GOP was robbed. If illegal immigrants aren't going to receive food stamps, what's the harm in incorporating explicit language into the measure?

And it sadly shows, as Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) said, "Last night sent a clear message to the American people that there are people in this town who are willing to break rules and utilize extraordinary maneuvers just so that illegal immigrants can receive taxpayer-funded benefits."

It certainly seems he is right.

The high expectations of the American public for change with the Democratic-led Congress after the election of 2004 have been dashed. In a recent poll, approval of Congress stood at a never-before-seen 3 percent.

The Democrats have joined hands with and are employing the same bulldozing methods as President Bush.... cramming their agenda for benefits and citizenship for illegal alien lawbreakers down the throat of loudly resisting American citizens.

So, the select committee will set things right? Well, their interim report is due September 30... but the final report isn't due until September 15, 2008.

You can count on the GOP using this to their advantage in the final weeks before the November 2008 elections.... and why not. Their stand on illegal immigration is their most voter friendly issue while the Democrats are largely tone-deaf to the cries of foul.

If the Democrats think their pandering to illegal aliens and high-handed (perhaps illegal) tactics.... not the first to be employed by the Democratic-led Congress.... and unwillingness to work across the aisle will help them retain their power, they may be in for a big surprise.

An outraged American public is warning the Democrats..... "we don't want more of the same Bush administration bully-boy shenanigans..... shame, shame."

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