John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Breaking News: Pelosi to Close Down House

Posted on October 30, 2009
Breaking News
Pelosi Plans to Ditch House Floor

(Washington DC) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today announced plans that she is shutting down the use of the House Floor as the chief venue to debate and vote on legislation.

Instead, she said that most legislative activity will happen in a separate facility, used exclusively by the House Democratic Caucus.

Yesterday, she hinted that she was going that route when she told Politico: “I consider the 78 caucus meetings we had our amendment process. That’s when people brought forward their ideas before and after August, and we’ve tested them.”

Saying that the procedures used by the House of Representatives were a vestige of the old days, tainted by a history of racism and sexism, she said that it only made sense to tear down the past so “we can build up the future.’

She also said that she instructed the House Parliamentarians to stop using “Jefferson’s Manual”, a guide to House procedure. “We all know now that Thomas Jefferson wasn’t all that he was cracked up to be. We know that he had a slave mistress. We know that he had huge debts that couldn’t pay off. And we know that his wine wasn’t nearly as good as the wine made in California. Jefferson is history. We need to move on.”

Pelosi said that she was concerned that House Republicans were being spoilsports, and that their ideas were having “ a negative effect on the thinking of my caucus.” “They are such naysayers. We can’t do this. We can’t afford that. I am tired of it. And worse, some my members are starting to listen to them. We must stop this. So we are going to stop. We are going to stop their negative energy by having the debates where the Republicans can’t and won’t be heard.”

Pelosi also said that she was banning Fox News from broadcasting in within a three-mile radius of the Capitol. “Fox New is not a new organization. And I don’t have to put up their crap any more. I am the Speaker of the House. I can shut down the House floor if I want to. I can have debates on major legislation anywhere I want to, with anyone I want to. The Republicans can debate amongst themselves. I don’t care what they do. But I don’t have to listen to it anymore.”

Historians and political scientists question whether Pelosi’s move to close down the House floor is constitutional. Norm Ornstein said: “While I admire the Speaker personally, I am not sure if she can do this. At some point, she going to have to open the House up again, and yes, she is going to have to give Republicans a chance to speak. I know it is tough, but that is what she is going to have to do.”