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Monday, May 02, 2005

Edwardpig is on the Warpath

Sometimes I am slower than others to post on subjects of import because, quite honestly, I can be a bit thick and it takes me a while to get my head around things. I am a perilously slow reader who has to read each sentence two or three times until I feel I understand it. Since I like to read it's never been a problem for me, and I can write almost as fast as I can talk so I make up a bit of time there. But when I read the story being disseminated by Raw Story about Republican rewrites to Democratic amendments being protested by Rep. Louise Slaughter last week I really just didn't comprehend what was going on, no matter how many times I read about it.

According to Raw Story, the Democrats offered up an amendment to H.R. 748-The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), which said "the Nadler amendment allows an adult who could be prosecuted under the bill to go to a Federal district court and seek a waiver to the state’s parental notice laws if this remedy is not available in the state court. (no 11-16)."

The GOP re-wrote it, however, saying that "Mr. Nadler offered an amendment that would have created an additional layer of Federal court review that could be used by sexual predators to escape conviction under the bill. By a roll call vote of 11 yeas to 16 nays, the amendment was defeated."

Several other amendments were re-written by Republicans to say that they were attempts by Democrats to exempt sexual predators from prosecution. I just didn't understand. At what point do the ReThugs insert language like this? Do they do it so they can vote down a bill because of the child molester language, or do they simply want to say that Democrats promote legislation to protect child molesters?

Fortunately, there is helped for the handicapped in the blogosphere from our fellow bloggers. Edwardpig took the trouble to explain it to me in an email, and since I hadn't seen it spelled out nearly as clearly anywhere else, I thought I would share it:
My understanding is that it goes something like this.

Some Republicans wrote this bill.  The bill was then referred to the Judiciary Committee (and possibly others) for consideration.  When the Judiciary Committee met to consider it, a number of Democrats offered amendments to the bill. The Democrats wrote these amendments, and Republicans never had anything to do with them.

The thing is, the Judiciary Committee is expected to issue a report about actions proposed and taken for the bill.  When Republican staffers wrote up the committee report, they summarized the content of the Democrat amendments in a way to make it look like Democrats are defending sexual predators.

So, the distortions about sexual predators have nothing to do with the consideration or passage of the legislation.  It's just that Republican staffers (not even elected members of Congress, but their staff) have decided to make Democrats look like idiots by writing foul and inaccurate summaries of Democrat amendments into the Congressional Record.  So in the future, people who don't know better will read the summary and believe that these Democrats REALLY WANTED to defend sexual predators.

As far as I'm concerned, this shouldn't be a big deal.  What should have happened --- and, I imagine, what Louise Slaughter EXPECTED would happen --- is that Democrats would notify the Republicans in charge of the staffers, like Judiciary Committee Chair James Sensenbrenner, and as soon as the Republicans found out what their staffers were up to, they would apologize, fire the staffers, and denounce their actions.

Only that's not what happened.  What Rep. Slaughter is upset about, and what I'm upset about, is that instead of behaving like a responsible person and punishing those responsible for engaging in such sixth-grade behavior, Sensenbrenner actually DEFENDED that behavior, proving that he, too, has the maturity of a sixth-grader.
This is who they are. This is the Republican leadership. They are a pack of nasty, arrogant little fuckers getting off on their own corruption.

Edwardpig has also written a letter to Sensenbrenner asking him to respond to Rep. Slaughter's allegations. Thanks to him for taking the time to spell it out for me, and bully for him for holding the bastards to account.