Saturday, October 08, 2005

Losing their grip

Republicans are starting to lose their grip in Washington.
They are having an increasingly difficult time getting their awful legislation through Congress.

Today we had another GOP arm-twisting marathon vote that resulted in a bill that would shovel more government largess to the oil industry at a time when they are already making out like bandits across the country.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 - It took more than 40 raucous minutes of pleading and cajoling, bargaining and begging on Friday. But House Republican leaders managed to squeeze through an oil refinery bill in a tumultuous floor vote that severely tested a leadership team rocked by the indictment of Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas.

After teetering on the verge of an embarrassing defeat, desperate party leaders managed to persuade enough of their members to switch positions to win narrow 212-to-210 approval of a measure that its backers said would expedite refinery construction and crack down on price gouging.

"House Republicans have taken the lead in providing America with price stability and a bold plan for this nation's energy future," said Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, who along with Mr. DeLay and other senior lawmakers buttonholed and browbeat resistant Republicans as the clock ticked on the vote.

Democrats attacked the substance of the bill and the process that the Republicans employed to force it through. The Democrats accused the majority of abusing House rules by stretching what should have been a five-minute vote to deliver a bill that Democrats said would benefit profitable oil companies but do little for American drivers.

"It took that long for the indicted leader of the House of Representatives to twist the arms necessary to get a vote against the American people, against the consumer, against the taxpayer and against the environment - in favor of the energy companies," said the minority leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California.

The good news is that the bill will probably die in the Senate thanks to a Democratic filibuster.

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