Barney Frank And Louis Gohmert's House Floor Catfight Captures Budget Battle Flavor: All Bluster, No Substance
While we've turned our heads and put all eyes on Wisconsin and surrounding states, the House of Representatives has been having a budget debate unlike any budget debate I've seen. In one day, they managed to de-fund Planned Parenthood after one of the most offensive debates I've ever seen, strip funding for Elizabeth Warren's position and the CFPB, pay homage to Big Oil with the usual denunciation of climate change, and remove funding for White House "czars" (with the assistance of 13 Democrats).
In John Boehner's House of Representatives, sleep isn't really something anyone needs, evidently. They're only working 3 days a week, but for the last two nights the House has stayed in session until the wee hours, as it did today. As you might imagine, a 17-hour day full of debates about "Obamacare" and abortion can set tempers on edge.
At the very end of the session, as is required, the order of debate is set for the next day. Ordinarily it's pretty routine, but on this day, it was far more...um...spirited.
Barney Frank is a sight to behold when he gets angry, and he was very, very angry. Mostly he was angry about the Republicans' decision to debate the whole government in 3 days before voting on the budget bill, but really I think he was also expressing his anger at not just debating the government, but every damn wedge issue there is along with the kitchen sink and a few czars. It was late, and he let fly. His opener:
Mr. Speaker, I guess I am a dissenter in this orgy of self-congratulation, and I want to explain why.
That was probably the mildest thing he said in the ensuing three minutes. Here's more:
You'll get to debate the whole government tomorrow for 10 minutes. We are the bottom of democracy. The next thing you know they'll be rioting in parts of the world today so they can have ten minutes per issue, to debate fundamental issues. This is a travesty.
He goes on to say that this "awful, distorted process has produced a bill that will never see the light of day" and closes with this:
"Once the Senate gives this awful product an appropriate burial, I will not be a party to its resuscitation."
At that, you'd think we'd be back to process. But watch on, because Rep. Louis Gohmert has had enough, and he's going to stomp his hooves and blow some smoke. His upsetness comes from the last four years, where he has been abused at the hands of Democrats who, after debating details in committee and markup, then reported out a bill and sent it to the House floor for general debate, but with closed rules regarding amendments. Gohmert didn't like that, and he especially didn't like Barney Frank calling his procedure a travesty.
You know, while most of this is wonky process stuff, Barney Frank's objections are not unfounded. The
abortion Planned Parenthood debate was just odious, and it wasn't until the very end that the true motives came out.
The waste in Washington is in Mr. Boehner's House of Representatives. A waste of time, energy, and lives.
Abortion extortion. De-funding unions. Denying access to health care. And still, no initiatives for job creation. I wish on them what they have wrought on us.