WASHINGTON - House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released the following statement today regarding the inclusion of a controversial provision which would have given certain Congressional staff access to taxpayers' tax returns in the massive 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Conference Report:
“This colossal blunder was anticipated.
“I, along with others, warned Republican leaders last week that assembling and considering a 3,300 page bill in a matter of hours would inevitably lead to harmful provisions being included without the knowledge of most Members of Congress and, more importantly, without the American people’s knowledge.
“This episode is of great concern because it epitomizes the abuses of power that have become routine under Republican leadership. Our Founding Fathers intentionally set up a process that was not as efficient as an authoritarian regime’s because they wanted an open process that would act in the interests of the American people. Democracy only works if everyone has a chance to participate.
“Under Republican leadership the process set out by our wise Founding Fathers is being ignored. The Senate never considered 75 percent of the legislation that was in this bill. And, as has become commonplace under Republican rule, members of the House and Senate who were appointed to craft a compromise bill never met and bipartisan provisions agreed to by both chambers were deleted from the bill.
“These abuses are undermining our democracy. Republican leaders have essentially declared that they do not have the time to include all the interested parties, including the American people, in making the decisions that determine our nation’s future.
“The good news is that this will give us another opportunity to do what we should have done months ago – pass the 9/11 intelligence reform legislation that will help protect the American people from another terrorist attack – when Members return the week of December 6th.”