Thursday, January 06, 2011

Keystone Kop Constitutionalists

Building a bit on my previous post, the very serious Congressional Homage to The Constitution was not without its enduring moments of low comedy. Two of the august members of the new empowered GOP were forced to escape the pagentry to attend a little side event down the hall. Thus they missed the legal part of the Constitutional requirement.
The Republicans, incumbent Pete Sessions of Texas and freshman Mike Fitzpatrick, missed the swearing in because they were at a fundraiser in the Capitol Visitors Center. The pair watched the swearing-in on television from the Capitol Visitors Center with their hands raised.
Sadly, "there is no provision in the Constitution for a remote swearing-in by television." This put an abrupt end to the official opening of business.
On Thursday, the Rules Committee adjourned because Sessions had made a motion to open proceedings to begin considering the GOP bill to repeal health care reform - an action that can only be taken by an official member of Congress.
Yes our intrepid pair had already violated the sacred Constitution by voting before having been legally sanctioned. Oh to have a youtube of that moment.

To paraphase Steve Benen, if the Democrats wanted to be prickish about it, they could insist on voiding all business conducted thus far, subjecting the GOP to the embarassment of having to redo the entire process and slowing their avalanche of repeal bill filings.

That's almost certainly what the Republicans would have done in this position rather than agree to unanimous consent that Boehner will now probably have to ask for in order to avoid the delay. Fortunately for our new Speaker, the Democrats are likely to be more reasonable -- or cowardly, depending on your outlook. They're likely to agree and he won't even have to cry.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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