Thursday, February 16, 2012

Darrell Issa stacks the deck

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is at it again, holding yet another inane hearing. This was the scene in his committee room this morning:

Yes, his first panel of witnesses was solely comprised of male religious leaders whose consciences are inflamed by the new rule on women's health services that include contraception coverage. Unsurprisingly, Democrats were enraged and demanded at least one witness to balance this skewed panel.
Ranking committee member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had asked Issa to include a female witness at the hearing, but the Chairman refused, arguing that “As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness.”
You can view the rejected testimony here.

Apparently, after the media caught wind of the melee, Issa added a couple of women bringing the total witness list to eleven. One assumes he found women who agree a handful of aging Catholic men, sworn to lifelong celibacy, should dictate government policy on contraceptives for the entire female population of the USA.

You have to love the name of the hearing: “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”. Atrios joked on the twitter machine this morning that the Democrats should hold an all-female hearing on the reproductive health of men. I'd agree. Maybe they could call it something like: "Pelvic Thrust: Does the GOP's Support For Easy Availability of Viagra, Risk Back Injury, Encourage Promiscuity in Men and Enable Out of Wedlock Pregnancies?"

Meanwhile, in a related development, at another hearing Rep. Jeanine Notter gravely informed her colleagues that "health plans shouldn't cover birth control because it causes prostate cancer." No, she wasn't joking.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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