WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released the following statement today strongly criticizing the restrictive process in which the House Republican leadership is permitting floor debate on the FSC/ETI corporate sales tax bill:
“Once again today, we see that the Republicans’ high-minded talk about fairness and openness on this house floor was only so much hot air. Lest anyone be mistaken, the so-called “Republican Revolution” is long dead and long gone.
“Today, as this closed rule on the FSC/ETI bill demonstrates, the current majority is dedicated simply and solely to preserving its own power – at virtually any cost. In 1993, the current chairman of the Rules Committee, the gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier) remarked (and I quote): ‘Frankly, it seems to me that the process of representative government means that a person who represents 600,000 people here should have the right to stand up and put forth an amendment and then have it voted down if it is irresponsible. We are simply asking that we comply with the standard operating rules of this House.’
“Mr. Dreier was correct then. And he is no less correct today. In 1995, the Republican chairman of the Rules Committee, the late Gerald Solomon, assured the members of this body (and again I quote): ‘The guiding principles will be openness and fairness. The Rules Committee will no longer rig the procedure to contrive a predetermined outcome.’
“Today, democratic openness and fairness have been suffocated by raw political power. I know that even many of my friends on the Republican side of the aisle are embarrassed by this majority’s abandonment of any pretense of fairness and openness in this great house.
“Let’s be honest. The Republican leadership has demanded a closed rule on the Thomas bill – which is nothing less than an orgy in self-indulgence and a national embarrassment – because it is running scared. Had Mr. Rangel been allowed to offer his alternative, it would have prevailed. You know the Republican leadership is in trouble when the chairman of the Government Reform Committee (Mr. Davis) says (and I quote) ‘They really have porked this bill up,’ and when the chairman of the Small Business Committee (Mr. Manzullo) says (and I quote again) ‘This bill should be ditched; it’s a bad bill.’
“The most inexplicable thing about the tainted process and substance that infects this bill is that we could have truly passed a bipartisan measure that replaces the FSC/ETI tax regime months ago.
“But Mr. Thomas and the Republican leadership absolutely refused – even over the objections of many members on the Republican side of the aisle. This is not just a bad bill, it’s an abomination. And perhaps it is fitting that this rule is equally odious.”