Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Camp helps impose martial law on house...

Seriously...

They changed the rules to get the budget bill passed.

You can read the mcjoan Kos post here.

Here's how Ed Kilgore explained it:

Thanks to martial law, the incredibly convoluted series of decisions made totally behind close doors on the budget bill, turned into a simple loyalty test for partisans. There was a grand total of 40 minutes of debate, which was probably about right since nobody had the chance to read the bill in the first place.

What did your congressman have to with this?

Here's what Dave Camp had to say about the bill:

“The Deficit Reduction Act is good for taxpayers, good for those who rely on government programs to get by, and good for our economy. After expanding unchecked for eight consecutive years, this bill reforms mandatory government programs so they do not grow at an unsustainable rate and further push this country into debt. By ending practices such as double-dipping and the overcharging of government programs, this bill allows us to continue critical social services for those most in need. The alternative to this bill is bigger deficits and higher taxes; neither of which are acceptable. American workers and employers already pay too much in taxes; so, we must get smarter about providing quality services at lower costs. This bill is a step in that direction.”
Republican's had to make sweeping rule changes and give forty minutes to debate the draconian budget measures they wanted to take. Here's a synapsis of what happened from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

As predicted in this statement, the House Republican leadership did use the “martial law” gambit to rush the House to a vote on the spending cut reconciliation bill before Members (much less the press or the public) had a reasonable chance to examine the legislation and understand what it would do.

* Just before midnight on Sunday, December 18, the House adopted the “martial law rule” that allowed the leadership to bring up the conference report on the reconciliation bill shortly after the conference report was finalized, without waiting until the next legislative day as required by House rules.

* At 1:12 a.m. on Monday, December 19, the 774 page conference report on the reconciliation spending cut bill was filed in the House.

* At 5:43 a.m. Monday morning, after less than 40 minutes of debate on the measure, the House began the final vote on the reconciliation spending cut bill.

UPDATE 8:56am: Just spoke to Sara at Dave Camp's office. She took my message, asking for an explanation of why this happened, and gave her my phone number. I will follow up later this morning. PLEASE CALL (202) 225-3561.

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