There’s a fight going on in Washington over a move by Republicans that has Democrats up in arms.
It’s a measure passed Oct. 1 by the House Rules Committee — a body, like the House of Representatives itself, with a Republican majority — that essentially prevents House members from calling for a vote to end the partial government shutdown, now reserving that right for the House majority leader.
And that fight played out like a heavyweight bout on the House floor late last week.
Ladies and gentlemen, in this corner is Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.):
In this corner is Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the House Speaker Pro Tempore:
Van Hollen, looking for a ray of light to break through the congressional impasse on the government shutdown, calls attention to House Rule XXII Clause 4 — and brings along a visual aide so his point isn’t missed:
But Chaffetz tells Van Hollen that rule XXII was altered by House Rule 368. Not surprisingly Van Hollen already knows about the measure — and again so his point isn’t missed he holds aloft another visual aide reflecting the resolution’s language: “…any motion pursuant to Clause 4 of Rule XXII relating to the House Joint Resolution may be offered only by the majority leader or his designee”:
Van Hollen attempts to steer the exchange to his assertion that resolution 368 only lets Republicans have their way regarding reopening the government (which the resolution doesn’t say), and Chaffetz doesn’t take the bait.
Finally Van Hollen asks what’s really been on his mind: “Why were the rules rigged to keep the government shut down?”
Chaffetz suspends Van Hollen’s discussion, who offers a closing salvo: “Democracy has been suspended!”
Or, as the present Senate Democrats might say, majority rules.
Here’s the clip of frequently funny exchange via Van Hollens’ YouTube page, which has been making the rounds on many a left-leaning blog of late. He titles it, “The GOP’s little rule change they hoped you wouldn’t notice”: