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"Enough" Already, House Still in Political Quagmire

The House is digging even deeper into a political quagmire this weekend as -- are you ready? -- Republicans are considering how to officially protest the deletions of clearly audible comments Friday night by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) from the Congressional Record.

Yes, with Congress still facing a docket heavy with unfinished business -- from energy legislation to Pentagon spending and reauthorization to critical intelligence issues -- the House has been paralyzed by continued Republican protests about what they deem heavy-handed tactics by the Democratic majority.

The House blew up once more at 9 p.m. Friday when Republicans offered a privileged resolution protesting the way Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) handled his duties earlier that morning as the acting speaker. Hoyer, who had already been in the middle of a 24-hour feud over a disputed vote from the night before, started screaming at House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

"Madam Speaker, enough is enough, I move to table this resolution," Hoyer bellowed, bringing a throng of cheers from his side of the aisle as Democrats grew tired of what they call Republican obstructionist tactics. [Click here to watch the video.]

Shortly after that dustup over the Murtha resolution, which failed along party lines, the House adjourned for the night without passing any major legislation for the day.

Over the last two days the House has held four roll call votes on motions to adjourn the chamber - usually a protest vote by the minority, but one the majority employed shortly before 10 p.m. Friday to shut down the day's activities - and just one vote on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reauthorization. (Democrats lost that vote and must now consider the Senate resolution, which is more in line with what President Bush has sought.)

The chamber has yet to hold a vote on the Defense appropriations bill and has so far held only procedural votes on the energy legislation, which earlier Saturday Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) called the most important energy bill of the decade. By 4:15 p.m. today, the House finally proceeded to actual votes on amendments to the energy bill.

House Democrats are heading for a decision to either keep members in until early Sunday morning or allow them to depart this evening amid the mounting acrimony. But that would require calling members back into session next week, which would be anathema to most lawmakers who live and die for their August recess.

Throughout the spring newly empowered Democrats watched their approval ratings plummet, with a liberal base upset at their inability to stop the Iraq war and independents complaining that not enough meaningful legislation was being passed. Democrats hoped to address those latter concerns this week with a flurry of accomplishments before the August recess. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spent the past several days bragging about accomplishments such as a sweeping ethics reform plan and an expansion of the low-income children's health care program.

But the procedural fights have begun to step all over the Democratic message heading into the recess, and to some degree Democrats only have themselves to blame.

Hoyer's "enough is enough" doesn't appear in the Congressional Record for Friday. "Madam Speaker, I move to table the resolution," Hoyer says, according to the record, with no mention of "enough is enough."

Hoyer triggered the obscure rule that meant the resolution should have been given a full hour's debate, Boehner charged today. Instead, the Democrats immediately tabled the resolution chastizing Murtha, ending up with Hoyer's words scrubbed from the record.

"They abused the rules to prevent a debate on a privileged resolution about John Murtha. To cover it up, I think, is just outrageous," Boehner (R-Ohio) said after a tense 90-minute meeting today of the GOP conference.

On top of the Thursday night vote mishap, the impression is setting in that Democrats are not even close to honoring their pledge to treat the minority party much better than they were treated during their 12 years in the minority.

In a hint of the Republican theme for the next few months, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) today accused Democrats of "unprecedented institutional abuses".

"The House Republican Conference stands here united to say, enough is enough," Putnam said, tongue very much in cheek.

By Paul Kane  |  August 4, 2007; 4:55 PM ET
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Next: House close to ending "remarkable week"


Perhaps we should elect younger more athletic reps to set the stage for fist fights on the floor ala Taiwan. This may be entertainment and it may make people feel good for various reasons but it sure ain't responsible government.

Posted by: Pete Maden | August 4, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh Boo Hoo Hoo.

The Republican'ts are just getting the smallest taste of the medicine they dished out endlessly when they were in the majority.

The REAL problem for the Democrats is that they are inept at spin and are allowing crap like this to become the stated wisdom of the chattering class.

And of course the inability to keep together. Those darned Democrats are just free thinkers and can't be herded like the Republican'ts were by The Hammer (tm). Steny Hoyer needs to take a lesson from Tom Delay.

Posted by: TheRealCalGal | August 4, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Democrats refused to bring up increased automobile mileage standards even though it was likely to pass because Pelosi claimed it would "divide" Democrats. When are we going to see House Democrats work for the good of country instead of themselves?

Posted by: Chris Baker | August 4, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Murtha outright lied in the House yesterday -- he was supposed to allow a vote, but since the republicans all showed up for work they had the majority, so Murtha said there measure was voted down. No vote, just lies. Even republicans never did anything that ugly, that obscenely against the law. Things disappearing from the record is against the law. Of course, the Washington Post obscures the issue "the Murtha vote" without giving any clue that the guy is a maniac without an idea of reality.

Posted by: Karen | August 5, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

kids kids kids...the dems. will do what ever it takes to get there way...forget the rules...perhaps we need to remember this when election time rolls around....

Posted by: sladedawson | August 5, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

the dems will do what ever it takes to hold on to power the rules mean nothing...perhaps we should remember that on election time...

Posted by: denis the menace | August 5, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

what's wrong with Democratic inability to lead? this is a good thing.

ther is no Demoncratic party in the sense of a unified, conceptually clear, goal driven body. one only has to listen to Dem candidates and trace the $$$$ (yes...not only Republicans are corruptible) filling their coffers to understand that they too are beholden to a minority set of interests: far to the left. these people are no different from the far right: they are intransigent, they are extreme, they are act in terms of their self interests, and...maybe even less so than the right...they aren't participants in many of the institutions taht matter most today (e.g., national defense). they are just as abusive/power driven as the right wing nuts they malign.

they are my enemies.

Posted by: so what | August 5, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

All I can say is that all of these "adults" could stand to have a snack and a nap. They're clearly too wound up from recess.

Some adult supervision may be required.

Posted by: db | August 7, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

A lack of decorum is a sign of a lack of respect for the leader. A lack of respect for the leader leads to a lack of decorum. Who's the leader of the house?

Posted by: William Condon | August 7, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The Repukes have no room what-so-ever to talk about any type of behavior considering what they did during the last six years of their rule. While I commend the Dumbos on their trying to include the Repukes, the Repukes have shown that they plan on using their inclusion for obstruction purposes only. So in my opinion, they have blown their chances at inclusion and deserve any and all of this type of treatment they get.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

In light of the deletion of perfectly proper dissenting remarks from the Congressional Record, if the Republicans had any guts each of them would begin each remark made on the floor repeating the deleted phrase "enough is enough" until the record was corrected to include what was actually said, and continue doing so until the majority ceases falsifying the redorde. Falsifying the Congressional Record is an intolerable practice impairing its credibility in administrative and judicial proceedings where it might, if accurate and true, be relied on as an aid to interpreting legislation.

Posted by: WILLIAM GARLAND | August 8, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I am marching in Washington on September 15 and want a couple of T-shirts that say"ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Where can I purchase them.

Posted by: Carol | August 8, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I am marching in Washington on September 15 and want a couple of T-shirts that say"ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Where can I purchase them.

Posted by: Carol | August 8, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

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