03/11/2005: Our Un-Democratic Democracy
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y. and Ranking Member on the Rules Committee) held a news conference to release a report on the Republican rules abuses in the House of Representatives.
"This report provides devastating details of the profound abuse of power that characterizes House Republicans after 10 years in the majority. It demonstrates how House Republicans have completely abandoned not only the standards they set for themselves 10 years ago, but how they have also abandoned any other principle of fairness and accountability. In fact, many non-partisan analysts said that the 108th Congress not only matched the worst abuses of earlier Congresses, it has set a new standard.
...While this Republican Administration has spoken strongly about promoting democracy around the world, the House Republican Leadership is working feverishly to undermine democracy here at home...
Under the current House leadership, floor debate is muzzled, few amendments are permitted, votes are often cast with fear of retribution, and conference committees too often do not meet. Instead, a handful of Republican leaders dictate the party line. They ram bills through committees without full discussion, permit few if any floor amendments, and if need be, hold open floor votes until enough arms have been twisted to ensure passage.
This is the dismal state of our representative democracy under Republican leadership. This is the sad example we are setting for the world. We must never forget the power of our example. It seems the Republicans have.
And coupled with radical, partisan changes in the ethics rules designed to lower the ethical standards of the House of Representatives, this is why democracy is threatened in the people's House.
Last year, I proposed a Minority Bill of Rights that included guidelines for a bipartisan administration of the House and for the regular democratic order for legislation. The principles are fair and provide for the full and open debate that the American people expect and deserve. I had said that if the Democrats won the House of Representatives we would implement those principles of fairness and hoped that the Republican would join us. They did not..."
The Rules Committee report, authored by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (Ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee) provided some recommendations to curtail some of the most egregious abuses and restore some accountability and fairness to the legislative process.
US News Wire
Karen on 03.11.05 @ 04:32 AM CST