Wednesday, July 29, 2009

UPDATED: Censoring Congress

UPDATED: House Democrats moved to table the Republican motion. The vote carried the motion 244 to 173 with 11 voting present.

Right now, the House is voting on whether to allow House Republicans to use this chart in mailings to constituents on healthcare reform.
Democrats on the House Franking Committee, the organization that approves mass-mailings on a bipartisan basis, have blocked the chart from use in mailers by Republicans. It looks to be a party-line vote.

Congressman Shuster opposes this attempt at censoring the speech of Congress. The American people have a right to hear from their elected officials and shouldn't be denied that chance just because one party doesn't like the use of a chart.

July 29, 2009, 1:23 p.m.
By Jennifer Bendery
Roll Call Staff

House Republicans on Wednesday filed a resolution that blasts Democrats for preventing GOP Members from sending constituents a mailing that criticizes the majority’s health care proposal.
The resolution cites the “failure of the Democratic Members of the Franking Commission to ensure that the Commission’s Democratic staff carries out its important responsibilities in a professional, fair, and impartial manner.”

The dispute centers on a GOP chart that illustrates the organization of the Democratic health care plan with a convoluted maze of government offices and programs. Republicans are pressing to use taxpayer dollars to mail the chart to constituents, but their request continues to be reviewed by the franking commission.

“The Democrats’ plan would mean more bureaucracy, more taxes, more mandates, more government involvement in your life and fewer jobs in this struggling economy. They’re trying to restrict Members of Congress from showing it to their constituents, and that’s just wrong,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said.

“I think the American people deserve the truth, and that’s why this resolution is important,” Boehner said.

Democrats maintain that sending out the chart as official mail would violate House rules because the information is misleading. Rules for franked mail bar Members from using taxpayer-funded mail for newsletters that use “partisan, politicized or personalized” comments to criticize legislation or policy.

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