There is a two page piece in the Washington Post today with a headline that reads House GOP Uses Procedural Tactic To Frustrate Democratic Majority. Here’s how most of the article goes:
House Republicans, fighting to remain relevant in a chamber ruled by Democrats, have increasingly seized on a parliamentary technique to alter or delay nearly a dozen pieces of legislation pushed by the majority this year.
And an election-year promise by Democrats to pay for any new programs they created has made it easier for Republicans to trip them up.
Tensions over the maneuvers reached a boil this week. Republicans used procedural tactics to stall floor debate for four hours Wednesday, and they are threatening to tie up future legislative action.
That “boiling point” the WaPo mentions included a nakedly blatent attempt by Pelosi and co. to rewrite the germaneness rule, which has been in effect since 1822. But where is this in the WaPo piece? Oh, it’s glossed over, on the third to last paragraph of the article (emphasis added):
This week, Democratic staffers privately discussed a rule change to limit the Republicans’ ability to make motions to recommit. GOP leaders were incensed and threatened to use all available procedural techniques to block every bill except war spending legislation. But Democrats are hampered by their promise to run the chamber in a more open fashion than Republicans did when in the majority.
“Dem staffers”? Merely “limit” the Republicans’ ability to make motions to recommit? Let’s take a look at what actually happened (emphasis added):
Earlier today, House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), today sought to rewrite the rules of the House to prevent PAYGO offsets from expanding the scope of germaneness to further what Republicans may offer in their motions to recommit the bills to Committee. Such a change would allow House Democrats to more easily raise taxes and increase government spending without being held to account. The move would have marked the first change in the germaneness rule since 1822 and is a direct infringement on the rights of the Minority in the House and the Americans that they represent.
And the number of articles covering the incident? Well, count ’em here.
Betsy Newmark slams home the relevant point:
Apparently, the wonky talk went over the head of the Washington Post reporter so all that she could write about was what the Republicans were doing and she totally missed what the Democrats tried to do in response. Once again, I’d offer a comparison to how the media covered the efforts by the Republican majority in the Senate to change rules so that the minority couldn’t filibuster a judicial nominee. There the emphasis wasn’t on how the Democrats were thwarting the desires of the majority, usually a bipartisan majority, but how the Republicans were thinking of tinkering with sacred rules of the Senate. What a difference when the parties are switched.