COMPARING HIS PARTY TO A 5 YEAR OLD…. Before lawmakers broke for their August recess, a couple of key pieces of legislation were defeated because of Republican procedural concerns. A bill to offer more health care resources for 9/11 rescue workers was defeated in the House, for example, because Republicans said they wanted to offer poison-pill amendments and Democrats wouldn’t let them. Likewise, a bill to offer tax breaks to small businesses was defeated by Senate Republicans for the same reason.
What’s with this GOP preoccupation with procedure? Why should important legislation die over amendments that won’t pass anyway? Before senators headed home last week, Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) tried to explain his party’s thinking.
“Saying to a senator, ‘You can’t bring up your amendment,’ is like saying to your 5-year-old son, ‘OK, Johnny, whatever you do, don’t touch the stove.’ Johnny’s going to spend the whole week trying to figure out a way to touch the stove.”
Hmm. If I didn’t know better, I might think Lamar Alexander believes Republican lawmakers act like 5 year olds.
A few months ago, the American Enterprise Institute’s Norm Ornstein noted that GOP leaders “are becoming the Bart Simpsons of Congress, gleeful at smarmy and adolescent tactics and unable and unwilling to get serious.”
Apparently, Ornstein isn’t the only one who’s noticed.