While I will 'defend' House Democrats on managing Congressional rules, this is too funny to ignore.
The incoming Democratic leadership promised a fast start to the new Congress, with an ambitious '100 Hour' agenda. They then restated that they didn't actually mean the first, you know - 100 hours, or anything. They meant the first 100 legislative hours - a period that could stretch over a number of weeks, actually.
Now, they further clarify that they don't really mean the first 100 legislative hours - they mean the first 100 legislative hours not counting the new House rules package:
Time spent debating changes to the rules package will not count against Pelosi’s 100-hour legislative blitzkrieg, set to begin the week of Jan. 8 and last approximately 10 legislative days, ending when President Bush delivers his State of the Union address on Jan. 23.
You would think that they might actually want to include that package into their accounting, since that's when they're going to:
...ban all travel paid for by lobbyists or organizations that employ lobbyists, require the ethics committee to pre-approve travel paid for by outside groups, enact a total gift ban, and require lawmakers to pay the market cost of flying on a corporate jet, said Democratic staffers and officials with government watchdog groups.
And, because they feel they lost the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit vote because GOP leaders held it open for three hours, during which they flipped opponents into the “yes” column, Democrats will include a provision in the rules to prevent any sort of repetition, said aides to incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Democrats also will eliminate the practices of changing conference reports after members have signed them and excluding elected members from conference committees.
Seems like ambitious stuff not to include in the accounting, doesn't it? And isn't it a little ironic that the Democrats do not intend to count this stuff toward the first 100 hours - but include in it a measure to prevent leadership from stopping the House clock in order to hold votes open? This is different how, exactly?
Do you suppose I could promise fidelity in my marriage, but 'not count' the hours between 9:00pm and 3:00am? Or maybe I should go for the gusto, and promise the IRS that I will report all earned income, except that which I judge doesn't really belong...
Yes, the Democrats certainly changing the way Washington does business.
It reminds me of a song...
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