Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

March 20, 2005

House Democrats block compromise

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:34 pm

So, working all night Saturday night and Sunday, the Democratic leadership supposedly worked out a compromise between the Senate and the House versions of the bill that could save Terri Schiavo, at least for now — and agreed to pass the bill in bouth houses on a voice vote, which is faster and less cumbersome than a roll-call vote.

The Senate passed the compromise bill on a voice vote on Sunday.

Then some House Democrats used procedural rules to block the planned vote in the House.

The result now is that the House cannot vote until Monday, and must re-establish a quorum (218 out of 435 members) after going into recess for the Easter holidays (hey, is that unconstitutional?), then take a roll-call vote, and must pass the measure with a two-thirds vote! Speaker Hastert is planning to re-convene the House at 12:01 am Monday.

I really would like to know what is going through the minds of these House Democrats, that would cause them to go to all this trouble to use procedural maneuvers to make an innocent person die. I know not everybody is pro-life, but this is ridiculous. Are they actually pro-death?

I’m not sure who exactly all those House Democrats are, but one of them is Rep. Jim Davis, D-FL., said the congressional action was “a clear threat to our democracy.”

Earth to Jim Davis: Congressional action IS our democracy! Do you even know what your job is?

Even if the bill passes, the delay is damaging. As Tom DeLay (R-TX) said, “The few remaining objecting House Democrats have so far cost Mrs. Schiavo two meals already today.”

Imagine if Congress had to vote on whether you could legally eat!

And, of course, all this bill does is kick the matter into federal court, and if they draw a federal judge like the Pinellas County judge, the whole thing could fail.

Meanwhile, about getting a quorum: The House recessed on Thursday, and a lot of members have already left Washington and gone home.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said members scattered across the globe were being summoned back to Washington by aides to House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

The Democratic whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said his office was informing members of the vote and not discouraging them from returning to the capital. But he said the party was not counting votes and was telling members to vote their conscience on the issue.

This is kind of an iffy proposition. If lots of Democrats stay away, it will be easier to get the two-thirds vote required, since it’s two-thirds of those present. On the other hand, if enough Democrats stay away, and they can’t get every Republican, they might fail to get a quorum. They need 218 to get a qu0rum. There are 232 Republicans, 202 Democrats, and 1 Socialist (Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who usually votes with the Democrats). They need to get at least 218 to show up, then get two-thirds of those who show up to vote yes. Which means, basically for every Democrat (and Republican, if any) who are strongly enough pro-death to come back to Washington and vote No, they need two people who are strongly enough anti-death to come back to Washington and vote Yes — plus enough extras two get to 218, if there aren’t enough the other way.

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