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Jewish World Review
Jan. 5, 2007
/ 15 Teves, 5767
Partisanship in the House
I find it a little surprising, but not so dismaying as the Washington Post does, that the incoming House Democratic leadership has decided to try to pass its "100 hours" legislation without holding committee hearings or allowing Republican alternatives to be taken to the floor.
Back in January 1995, as House Republicans have pointed out, the new Republican majority at least went through the motions of holding committee hearings on its agenda. And it's a fair point that at least one of the Democrats' proposals, government negotiation of Medicare prescription drug prices, addresses a complex issue on which the process of going through committee deliberations would be a good idea. I take it that the Democrats expect this to be vetoed by George W. Bush or, perhaps, bottled up in the Senate; they don't expect that their bill will become law.
House Democratic leaders have promised that they will treat the minority more fairly than House Republicans treated them; House Republicans promised the same thing 12 years ago.
But House Republicans didn't do so: The three-hour roll call they prolonged to pass the Medicare prescription drug bill in December 2003 was arguably greater abuse than anything the Democrats did in their 40 years in the majority in the House.
Now, though Democrats say they'll be fairer after the "100 hours" vote, it looks like the Democrats are going to renege on their promise, too. So are the House Democrats and the House Republicans before them to be condemned as hypocrites? Not by me. I think both sides were sincere when they made their promises. But once in the majority, the Democrats are finding, as the Republicans did before them, it's difficult if not impossible to run a legislature with 435 members without tightly controlling procedure. That means limiting debate to a considerable extent.
Still, I'm puzzled that the Democrats aren't at least going through the motions of committee hearings.
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The New Americans
Now, more than ever, the melting pot must be used to keep America great. Barone attacks multiculturalism and anti-American apologists--but he also rejects proposals for building a wall to keep immigrants out, or rounding up millions of illegals to send back home. Rather, the melting pot must be allowed to work (as it has for centuries) to teach new Americans the values, history, and unique spirit of America so they, too, can enjoy the American dream.. Sales help fund JWR.
JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.
Michael Barone Archives
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