House GOP Sinks to New Low

Hard to believe, but insofar as one cares about truth, fair play, or honesty in government, the House GOP has now sunk to a new low: re-writing a House committee report to distort the intentions of Democrats offering amendments: amendments offered to protect family members and innocent bystanders were rewritten to and mis-characterized to make it look as if the Democrats had in fact proposed to give a free pass to various types of 'sexual predators'.

What's the right name for this sort of behavior? Dishonest seems too weak. Fascist seems too strong, but less so than it used to. In between there are so many words to choose from…

Will anyone rise in the House on a point of personal privilege and call them out? Move to censure or even expel the perpetrators (not that it has a chance of passing…)?

Meanwhile, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, issued a great statement about this new perversion of the House Rules.

Here's what Rep. Slaughter said:

“The Rules Committee discovered yesterday that the Judiciary Committee Report on this very bill, which was authored by the Majority Staff, contained amendment summaries which had been re-written by committee staff for the sole purpose of distorting the original intent of the authors.

“This Committee Report took liberty to mischaracterize and even falsify the intent of several amendments offered in Committee by Democratic Members of this body.

“At least five amendments to this bill, which were designed to protect the rights of family members and innocent bystanders from prosecution under this bill, were rewritten as amendments designed to protect sexual predators from prosecution and were then included in the committee report as if that was the original intent of the authors. The thing is, sexual predators were not mentioned anywhere in any of these amendments.

“These amendments were no more about sexual predators then they were about terrorists or arsonists or any other criminal class in our society. These amendments were about the rights of grandmothers and siblings and clergy and innocent bystanders. I asked the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee about this deception yesterday afternoon at the Rules Committee hearing.

“And instead of decrying what I certainly expected would be revealed as a mistake by an overzealous staffer…The Chairman stood by those altered amendment descriptions.

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18 Responses to House GOP Sinks to New Low

  1. C.B. says:

    Perhaps the word you are looking for is “devious” ?

  2. notherbob2 says:

    Don’t know your blog, but why did you omit a description of the bill the amendments were offerred for? Why did her statement? We are after truth, here, aren’t we? So far we have a half-truth.

  3. michael says:

    Why not mention the bill’s subject? I dunno. Laziness? Irrelevance? Anyway it was (reportedly) H.R. 748-The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA).

  4. Smith, Winston 4608 says:

    I don’t see what’s so odd about a little re-writing of history to support the party line.

  5. notherbob2 says:

    Curious, I checked it out at this link. “The purpose of the first section of CIANA is to prevent people – including abusive boyfriends and older men who may have committed rape — from pressuring young girls into circumventing their state’s parental involvement laws by receiving a secret out-of-state abortion. …This second section of CIANA is essentially a default federal parental notification rule that kicks in for abortions that involve interstate travel to states that do not already have a parental involvement law. …Nothing in CIANA prevents a minor from obtaining an abortion.” So, truth-seekers, the GOP descriptions of the amendments may not be civil, but they appear to be true. Which seems relevant.

  6. michael says:

    Here’s what Congressman Jerrold Nadler said:

    “This is truly outrageous, and a gross abuse of power. The authors of this report suggest that they described my amendment in accordance with its possible effect, but if that’s true, consider this:

    “Under CIANA, a father who rapes and impregnates his own daughter can go and sue the doctor or the grandparent or the clergyman who transported his child across state lines for the purpose of getting an abortion. Maybe that wasn’t exactly the intent of this legislation. But according to the descriptive guidelines now laid out by the majority, it would therefore be fair to call this entire bill the Rapists and Sexual Predators Right to Sue Act.

    “The Republicans are trying to determine which words the Democrats get to use to describe their own amendments. What next – they get to write our speeches?”

    I have not read the bill, but I’ve read quite a lot from Rep. Slaughter’s office recently — somehow I got on some mailing list — and so far it has been reliable stuff, of very high quality, so I tend to put some reliance in her office’s characterizations of things as I quoted it.

  7. John doe says:

    So an “older man,” say a 19 year old, who dates a 17 year old, is now a “sexual predator?”

    Incidentally, if you’d like to read the text of the bill instead of “gop.gov”‘s interpretation, its at

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.00748:

    Incidentally, how did a policital party get a .gov address?

  8. Mojo says:

    The intent or wording of the bill was completely irrelevant to the issue. Nobody attacked the bill, the Republicans attacked the amendments. Yet notherbob2 says he read the bill (not the amendments) and somehow from that he’s able to determine that the Republican statements about the amendments are true. Is he psychic or just an apologist?

  9. notherbob2 says:

    Mojo, who has not read the bill (which was linked) nevertheless is able to overlook the fact that the post gives the Democratic summary of the amendments (is that to be believed? – guess not according to Mojo) on which I relied for my comment. From the thread I can see that I am in the liberal cocoon and no one cares about truth, just therapy to be gained by bashing Republicans. By pointing out truth the only question is: what kind of terrible person am I? Stupid, a claimed psychic, or worst of all, an apologist. Clue: when someone says that they are telling the truth, either ignore them or point out where they are not (an “I doubt it because…” works too). Agreeing that the Republicans were not civil is not enough red meat, apparently. They must be demonized. Let me recommend another blog you would enjoy: Daily Kos

  10. janine says:

    notherbob,

    why not try this link http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/T?&report=hr051&dbname=cp109& where you can read the minutes in full. There you can see the amendements as proposed. Instead of being a summary from the GOP, it’s a service of the Library of Congress. Scroll about halfway down the report; it’s under the header, “vote of the committee.”

  11. paul says:

    So let me get this straight: according to the republican rewrite, if a female minor is raped by her stepfather and becomes pregnant, and a grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin helps her get a bus ticket to a state where parental notification is not required, then the non-rapist family member and the bus driver are both “sexual predators”?

    I guess this generation of republicans decided that the right answer to “Have you no sense of decency, sir at long last?” is just a long belly laugh.

  12. Notherbob2 says:

    Thank you, Janine, for the reference. When I went to the halfway point, per your suggestion, I found a description of the amendments that was only the objectionable Republican description. Since this reference apparently satisfied your pre-conceived bias, you stopped there and did not go further down to the actual transcript of the interchanges between the bill’s proponents and those proposing the amendments. It could be characterized in many ways, but the clearest is that the bill sponsors understood the legal effect of the bill and those proposing the amendments did not. The amenders also inserted much editorial comment (including a reference to Teri Schiavo!) into their comments. It is obvious that these folks do not much like each other. The exchanges get VERY testy. You see these discussions in government all the time; the attorney types trying to explain to non-attorney types how a law really works or will work. But back to your point – if you follow the link in the ORIGINAL Discourse.Net POST ABOVE to the Louise Slaughter site: [http://rawstory.com/exclusives/byrne/gop_rewrites_dem_amendments_427.htm ] you can read the original Democratic description of the amendments and ALSO the changed Republican description; side by side! Your implication that I used some evil GOP site as a source is thus not true. I used this very blog’s recommended source. Which is not the point. Have an attorney friend explain it to you – the Republican explanations of the amendments are TRUE. They may be any number of other horribly objectionable things, but they are TRUE. By the way, the caricature offered by Congressman Nadler is not TRUE (see “clean hands doctrine”) and is, in fact, the exact kind of mis-representation of the bill that the Republicans stand no noisily accused of. Expect this kerfuffle to go away quickly as attorney friends of those involved explain the facts to those protesting so loudly. Moral: don’t throw the baby (truth) out with the bathwater (I donl’t have time to question anything offered by politicians). Listen to people who are telling you that you are being hoodwinked and ask questions.

  13. Mojo says:

    notherbob2 should be a Republican staffer. First he wrote, “Mojo, who has not read the bill…” although I had read the bill (and also the misleading and inaccurate GOP summary at his link) and he had absolutely zero evidence for his outrageous assertion. Then he accuses me of being “able to overlook the fact that the post gives the Democratic summary of the amendments”, which it doesn’t. Here’s an example of the difference between what the Democrats submitted and what was posted on the GOP site notherbob2 linked to (after stating that’s where he read the bill, although the site doesn’t even claim to have the text of the bill, just a summary):
    Actual summary – “a Nadler amendment to exempt a grandparent or adult sibling from the criminal and civil provisions in the bill”
    Closest notherbob2’s link version – “The amendment adds to the exceptions to the offense of transporting minors for the purpose of obtaining an illegal abortion grandparents of the minor and members of the clergy”.
    Does he honestly believe that Democrats would characterize their own amendment as, for example, being to protect actions that were “for the purpose of obtaining an illegal abortion”. (And, of course, it wouldn’t be an illegal abortion anyway.)
    I’ll ignore the rest of his post since it consisted solely of claiming that we’re being mean to him.

  14. Brian says:

    notherbob:

    You make a fairly large error in your reasoning. If the purpose of the bill was ONLY to keep “abusive boyfriends and older men who may have committed rape” from crossing state lines w/their pregnant women for an abortion, then perhaps the rewrite of the Amendments could be justified under your claims. However, the first proposal clearly states this INCLUDES “abusive boyfriends and older men who may have committed rape” – not being limited to them only. B (abusive men and older men who may have committed rape) is a subset of A (all men who impregnate underage women for whatever reason). For the Republicans to say that the Amendments offered only cover group A when there wasn’t any specifaction at all in them is a reach. The Republican version of them is not true at all unless you narrow the field of truth.

  15. Brian says:

    notherbob:

    You make a fairly large error in your reasoning. If the purpose of the bill was ONLY to keep “abusive boyfriends and older men who may have committed rape” from crossing state lines w/their pregnant women for an abortion, then perhaps the rewrite of the Amendments could be justified under your claims. However, the first proposal clearly states this INCLUDES “abusive boyfriends and older men who may have committed rape” – not being limited to them only. B (abusive men and older men who may have committed rape) is a subset of A (all men who impregnate underage women for whatever reason). For the Republicans to say that the Amendments offered only cover group A when there wasn’t any specifaction at all in them is a reach. The Republican version of them is not true at all unless you narrow the field of truth.

  16. Brian says:

    notherbob:

    You make a fairly large error in your reasoning. If the purpose of the bill was ONLY to keep “abusive boyfriends and older men who may have committed rape” from crossing state lines w/their pregnant women for an abortion, then perhaps the rewrite of the Amendments could be justified under your claims. However, the first proposal clearly states this INCLUDES “abusive boyfriends and older men who may have committed rape” – not being limited to them only. B (abusive men and older men who may have committed rape) is a subset of A (all men who impregnate underage women for whatever reason). For the Republicans to say that the Amendments offered only cover group A when there wasn’t any specifaction at all in them is a reach. The Republican version of them is not true at all unless you narrow the field of truth.

  17. notherbob2 says:

    Brian: You are correct (all three times). Unless one counts the Clintonian “is” “is” argument, we all usually readily recognize when truth is truth and fiction is fiction, once we have all the facts. My point simply was that the original post made no distinction between truth and the fiction put out by the politician involved in order to beat the partisan drum and then followed with an untrue characterization of the law – all with no question as to whether or not it was true. Yes, the hated Republicans were wrong to insert the tortured descriptions of the amendments, but they were indeed true. A post decrying the foul tainting of the descriptions would be just fine – even appropriate. Setting up the post to lead readers to believe that the Republicans were liars when they were not is …. You tell me. If you are willing to swallow lies so long as their politics are right, well…welcome to Daily Kos and DU. If not, you can pick this test case to verify a blatant attempt to mislead you and be more cautious in future.

    —–

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