Did GOP Break ‘Pledge to America’ During Debt Vote?
Penny Starr at CNSNews.com pointed out this morning that House Republicans may have broken one of their most vocal promises from their 2010 campaign Pledge to America pitch when voting for Budget Control Act yesterday. The debt-limit bill, which is expected to save the U.S. from default for the first time in it’s history, was passed in the House yesterday with GOP support despite not being posted with the text online “for at least three days” before the vote.
“Explaining the Republicans’ vision in a response to President Obama’s radio address on Oct. 30, 2010—just before the election—Rep. John Boehner explained that ‘Americans should have three days to read all bills before Congress votes on them.
‘The American people are in charge of this country, and they deserve a Congress that acts like it,’ said Boehner. ‘Americans should have three days to read all bills before Congress votes on them–something they didn’t get when the ‘stimulus’ was rushed into law. We should put an end to so-called ‘comprehensive’ bills that make it easy to hide wasteful spending projects and job-killing policies. Bills should be written by legislators in committee in plain public view–not written in the Speaker’s office, behind closed doors.’”
Starr finds that the summary of how the Republican Congress has fulfilled the Pledge on the House Republican Conference’s Web site, reads on the section regarding the three-day rule: “A Three Day Waiting Period on all Non-Emergency Legislation.” The words “non-emergency” or “emergency” do not appear anywhere in the text of the original Pledge for America as published by the House Republicans.
Also considering the House has been aiming to pass debt-limit legislation by an Aug. 2 deadline ever since May 16 when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the Treasury had bumped up against the statutory debt limit, is this really a sudden emergency? Or a last-minute result of behind-closed-doors political pandering?
While the House Republican Conference has not responded to questions over the language change, Rep. Darell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says that voting on the debt-ceiling legislation the same day the bill was posted online does not violate the “spirit” of the Pledge.
“’If this (bill) has a super-majority, if it has the president’s buy-in, if we’ve all known and been involved in seeing it worked out over the 72 hours, then the spirit of the 72 hours was kept,’ Issa told CNSNews.com.
Issa also mentioned the Aug. 2 ‘default’ deadline proclaimed by President Obama, noting the deadline could not be met if the bill were to be posted for 72 hours before a vote. ‘You can’t have 72 hours and not bust the Aug. 2 deadline. So I don’t think anyone in America thinks we are failing to keep the spirit and the reality of the situation.’”
In March 2009 then Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi said “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy,” in regards to the health care reform bill.
Are the circumstances different with the debt-limit negations? Is Rep. Issa right in regards to maintain the “spirit” of the Pledge? Or have Republicans reengaged
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