DEBACLE ON TAXPAYER PROVISION EPITOMIZES REPUBLICANS’ ABUSE OF PROCESS

Hoyer Says House Republicans Refuse to Let House Work Its Will on Omnibus and Other Bills

For Immediate Release:

December 6, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the House considered legislation directing the Clerk of the House to delete a provision from the Omnibus Appropriations Bill that could have given staff members of the Appropriations Committee broad access to Americans’ tax returns:

“This entire episode is the tip of the iceberg of a much more serious problem that ought to concern the American people: the abuse of power that has now become routine under this Republican House Majority.

“This Republican leadership has adopted a deliberate strategy of rolling most of the annual appropriations bills into one omnibus act, and giving the members just a few hours to review thousands of pages of technical legislative language before being forced to vote on it.

“This year, we rolled nine of the 13 annual spending bills into an omnibus – a 3,300 page behemoth that appropriated some $388 billion.  Even the Chairman of the Transportation-Treasury Appropriations Subcommittee – which has jurisdiction over this particular issue – apparently had no idea that this measure was inserted in the bill.

“If that’s not a subversion of the will of the House, then I do not know what is.

“It’s not unreasonable for the American people to expect and demand that the Members of this House know what they are voting on before actually voting.  Nor is it is unreasonable for the American people to expect that when an overwhelming bipartisan majority of this body supports or opposes a measure that legislation will reflect that support or opposition.

“This episode epitomizes the abuse of power that has become routine under this Republican leadership.”

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