" Earlier this year, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would run the most open and ethical Congress in history, yet under her leadership this week the Pelosi Twins, Representatives Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter, voted to suspend House rules requiring transparency and openness during the consideration of federal appropriations. The resulting legislation contained over 141 pages of earmarked projects that were pushed through without public scrutiny and cost American taxpayers billions of dollars ."
- Fergus Cullen, Chairman, New Hampshire Republican State Committee
Boehner says House ‘out of control’ amid earmark debate
By Bob Cusack, The Hill
November 14, 2007
Read the Article Here
Pointing out that Democrats gave House members fewer than 24 hours to review a 534-page transportation spending bill that is filled with 141 pages of earmarks, Republicans unsuccessfully attempted to block the legislation on Wednesday.
GOP members, led by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), raised a point of order against the conference measure on the transportation and housing appropriations bill.
In a floor speech, House Minority Leader John Boehner(R-Ohio) decried Democratic leaders’ waiving of rules that allow members enough time to read bills before voting on them.
“This place is out of control,” Boehner said.
Democrats have repeatedly said Republicans bent House rules during their 12-year reign of the lower chamber, most notably on their three-hour vote on the 2003 Medicare drug bill.
The Flake point of order was overcome by a Democratic motion to consider the bill by a vote of 197-186. All voting Republicans opposed the motion, along with Indiana freshman Democrats Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth.
“The new majority doesn’t seem to get it. They came to power by criticizing Republican abuses, and were justified in doing so,” Flake said in a statement. “But now they are committing the same abuses.”
Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.), a freshman who sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said on the floor that the spending bill makes “critical investments in our transportation infrastructure.”
GOP lawmakers said Democrats waived House-passed rules that allow the review of a bill at least 24 hours before a roll call vote, stating that certain parts — but not all — of the measure were posted online Tuesday at 7 p.m.
In his release, Flake said the bill is “loaded with pork projects such as $150,000 for the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in Atlanta; $275,000 for the Berkshire Music Hall in Pittsfield, Mass.; $400,000 to the BelAlton High School Alumni Association in Bel Alton, Md. … $100,000 for Cooters Pond Park in Prattville, Ala.; $100,000 for the reuse of a Coca Cola Bottling plant in Romney, West Virginia … and $300,000 to the Houston Zoo in Houston,Texas.”
A Democratic spokesman on the House Appropriations Committee did not comment by the time this article was posted.