GOP Loves Democracy So Much They Change House Rules So Only GOP Can Participate
You remember reading Calvin & Hobbes, the greatest comic ever written in the history of ever? Rambunctious little Calvin and his imaginary friend Hobbes would sometimes play Calvinball, a game where you make up the rules as you go along. Apparently, the GOP thought this was the greatest government blueprint since Green Eggs & Ham, and juuuussst before the government shutdown started, decided to bring a little Calvinball to Congress, per The Hill:
Under long-standing House rules, any member of the chamber can bring a measure to the floor. But Republicans altered the rule governing legislation to fund the government so that only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) holds the power to make such a motion.
Well, librul hero and fan of following rules Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)* decided to make sure that the American people knew what kind of faux-democracy the GOP was rigging. After the jump, prepare for some wonktastic House floor debate on rules and procedure! No seriously, its awesome.
In a rare case when House floor parliamentary procedure goes mainstream, the following video of Van Hollen arguing about the underhanded tactics used by the GOP to restrict the ability of legislators to… legislate has gone viral, racking up more than 1.6 million views:
Seriously, watch the video. If you don't, here’s the deal. Under the standing House rules, any member can bring up a bill if there is a disagreement between the House and Senate. If this rule is invoked the motion would be considered “privileged,” meaning it grew up in a nice neighborhood and attended good schools. Maybe not, but whatever. Van Hollen was trying to bring up the clean Senate funding bill to reopen the government, including those memorials and national parks that the GOP all of a sudden love so much.
Van Hollen calls out the GOP for the rule change in this awesome back-and-forth with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who has the job of defending a rule change that turns American democracy into one-party totalitarian rule. Just before the government shut down, the GOP changed that rule specifically so that Democrats couldn’t bring up the Senate continuing resolution. In a series of ‘parliamentary inquiries’ (powdered wigs sold separately), Van Hollen walks us through the late-night rule change crafted to thwart the ability of just about anyone in the House to try to re-open the government.
Yep -- the GOP figured that enough folks would probably vote to reopen the government, so they just straight up changed the rules, like a petulant older sibling who knows they are about to lose.
Under the rule change, only the Majority Leader, weasel-faced assclown Eric Cantor, or his designee can bring up a funding bill. Democracy at work, people! DC is listening! Unfortunately, the House is only listening to the echo chamber of Fox News and Andrew Breitbart’s Lair for Braindead Mongooses, who apparently love the Constitution soooooo much that they will work extra hard to subvert the democratic process in order to cling to the ideals of their One True Leader of the House, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Moosepoop).
Van Hollen makes it abundantly clear at the end of the video when he says, “Democracy has been suspended, Mr. Speaker.”
We’re proud of Van Hollen for doing what little he can to bring the farcical tactics of the House GOP to light, and hereby nominate him for the coveted Wonkette Legislative Badass Award.
* Yr DDM is a proud constituent of Rep. Van Hollen, and would happily buy him a beer in thanks for being awesome… if that is cool with ethics folks and whatnot.