June 30, 2009

POLITICO: No more questions, please .

From Politico comes an interesting little sidebar story a couple of weeks ago that has an ominous portending for the future. The whole story is here: POLITICO: Shenanigans - No more questions, please
During Monday night’s meeting, Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) cut off ranking member and former Rules Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) while he was questioning Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-Wis.) on a commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill. Chairwoman Slaughter asked Dreier: “You want to talk about the previous bill?”

Dreier responded, “There are a number of things I want to talk about. Do I not have a right to do that? Do I not have a right to question the chairman of the Appropriations Committee on the process we are about to begin here for the 13 appropriations bills that he and his subcommittee chairmen are going to be considering? Am I not allowed to ask him questions?”

Slaughter basically told him no, saying, “We have already finished the roll call and accepted that bill, and we are ready to move on now.”

Dreier responded, “So I am not allowed. So I am sorry, I have overstepped my bounds if I am not allowed to talk about the overall appropriations process with the chairman of the committee. So thank you very much. I yield back my time.”

At that, Slaughter looked at Dreier and moved on without any more GOP input, we’re told. “Even the Democrats on the committee were stunned to silence,” an observer tells Shenan, adding, “We knew this day was coming, but it really is a sad day when the Democrats stop any form of questioning between the Republicans and chairmen who are presenting their bills before the committee.”
Parliamentary process semantics? Perhaps. Democrats drunk with power? Maybe. Good for American? Absolutely not. When debate disappears, so does democracy.

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