Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
About this Blog   |   On Twitter   |   Follow us on Facebook   |   RSS Feeds RSS Feed

Your take: Howell, McDonnell and use of Va. House for Republican rebuttal

Anita Kumar

We reported today that House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) may have broken his chamber's own rules when he allowed Gov. Bob McDonnell to deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address from the House of Delegates' floor last week.

Rule 82 reads: "The Hall of the House of Delegates shall be used for no other purpose than the sessions of the House and for meetings of the committees and members of the legislature on public affairs except by vote of the House or the Rules Committee or with the approval of the Speaker when the House is not in session."

Howell said he had the authority to allow McDonnell to use the chamber because the speech took place after 10 p.m. when the House had already adjourned for the day.

"We have the worst financial crisis in the state,'' he also told us. This is not something that we need to be focused on."

As you can imagine, some Virginia Democrats take issue with the use of the chamber, but no one wants to challenge the Speaker. National Democrats, meanwhile, are gleefully spreading the news about the possible rule violation.

McDonnell gave a 12-minute speech to about 250 family members, friends and donors in the state's historic Capitol as he attempted a difference from venues in past years in which rebuttal speakers appeared alone.

Let us know what you think about Howell's actions by commenting below. Do you think he violated the rules? Do you think McDonnell should have picked a different venue? Do you think we should all move on with lives and talk about something else?

By Anita Kumar  |  February 2, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Did Cuccinelli break a rule in his Fairfax appearance after all?
Next: Fairfax: Lawsuit over school funding is 'last resort'

Comments

He broke the rules and we should move on. Not a huge deal and we have bigger issues to address. We live in an era where nobody admits when they are wrong, Democrat or Republican, so expect a silly string of comments with folks attacking each other. And, the media encourages this with posts like this and a cable tv news environment that pits politics as us vs. them, good vs. bad. Really stinks for those of us that want Ds and Rs to actually work together, seeing how the country is evenly split between the two.

Posted by: ChrisD4 | February 2, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Get real - that was days ago.
Virginians are PROUD of their State Government. Wish we could say the same about what you have in D.C.

Posted by: rballison1 | February 2, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

The rule says the room can be used by the House "or with the approval of the Speaker when the House is not in session." As the Governor had "the approval of the Speaker when the House" was not in session, how can the rule have been broken?

Clearly, the Speaker gave him the required permission. So they both met the rules requirement: the Governor sought and the Speaker granted approval to use the House when the House was not in session.

End of story.

Why is this an issue?

Posted by: fatherofthree | February 2, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The rule says the room can be used by the House "or with the approval of the Speaker when the House is not in session." As the Governor had "the approval of the Speaker when the House" was not in session, how can the rule have been broken?

Clearly, the Speaker gave him the required permission. So they both met the rules requirement: the Governor sought and the Speaker granted approval to use the House when the House was not in session.

End of story.

Why is this an issue?

===============

I don't much care about this issue other than perhaps as a technicality. I don't think the House was not in Session because it was after 10 pm. House isn't in session as a 9-5 job. Sessions of Congress are periods of time. I'll use the US Congress as an example. The POTUS can make recess appointments when the Congress is not in session. But he could never get away with "It's after 10 pm so I'll make a recess appointment because Congress is not in session.

Having said that. I commend the Gov for making the decision to do the GOP response to the SOU. It's the only freaking decision he's made since he was sworn in. It might have been nice if it had something to do with what he was elected for [which was not giving the GOP response to the SOU] but at least he made a decision.

After that it was back to the grind of trying to decide whether to sign the anti-discrimination EO or not. I wonder how many more weeks he's going to take to decide whether to sign that EO or not to sign that EO. In my way of thinking that seems to be an easier decision than what to cut out of the budget.

Posted by: James10 | February 3, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

My brother who lives in Orlando, Florida but grew up in Richmond, called to say, He did not know our Capitol was so beautiful(after listening to the Governor) after the renovations. He enjoyed seeing it and I feel it gave a lot of people an opportunity to see the beauty of the capitol and not worry so much about Politics!!!!!!

Posted by: marydragon66 | February 4, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I say too that "in session" means the 2010 General Assembly, not 9-5. And even then,
the facility is not Speaker Howell's private possession, but belongs to all of us citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, who helped pay for its renovation, and he should treat his role as a public trust. Gov. MacDonald essentially appropriated the chamber as a politicized theatrical backdrop to convey legitimacy in his partisan rail against the Obama administration, with fellow Republican Howell's help. But he wasn't speaking for me, nor for scores of other Virginians.

Posted by: dugielaw | February 4, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company