I wish this were an April Fool's joke. Maybe the new April 1st is September 22nd, the first day of fall. Because the House of Representatives just had a vote in which Northern Virginia liberals Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran stood up for conservative principles and fairness while Randy Forbes and Rob Wittman voted for a tax on businesses with no benefit at all to Virginia.
Let me back up and give a brief civics 101 lesson.
One method for the House of Representatives to speed things along and limit debate is to suspend the rules and pass a piece of legislation without amendment. The Democrat leadership in the House likes this because it saves time to do other things, like attacking opponents of the President. There's no opportunity for amendment at all or a motion to recommit, which is often the only way Republicans can propose good amendments to bad legislation. The effort to limit funding of ACORN was done through a motion to recommit.
Pelosi obviously doesn't want to limit funding to ACORN or other liberal groups so she wants to suspend the rules as much as possible. Luckily, under House rules you have to have 2/3rds of the chamber voting to suspend the rules. This usually limits the use of this tactic to meaningless resolutions praising college team's and historical figures. Occasionally something substantive will pass under suspension of the rules by the 2/3rds requirement means it needs some Republican support--usually RINO support.
Tonight, the Democrats tried to pass under suspension a bill to extend unemployment benefits for some states--but not all. Virginia, for example, was not on the list because it's not, according to Pelosi and Rangel, a "high unemployment state." Similar to the Democrat effort in the Virginia House of Delegates to extend unemployment benefits by increasing taxes on businesses, this proposal would have levied a tax of $56 per employee per year on businesses. Hardly the type of noncontroversial stuff a suspension of the rules should be used for.
It passed 331 to 83. Over 100 Republicans, the majority of the caucus, voted for it.
Now I'm sure some of these Republicans represent districts going through difficult economic times. But Petersburg, represented by Randy Forbes, has a 14.3% unemployment rate. I'm sure the struggling families in Petersburg would like some help too. But no, Randy Forbes just voted for a bill that taxes ALL businesses in order to send unemployment benefits to mismanaged states like California, New York, and Michigan. He just voted to make it more difficult for people to find jobs in Petersburg in order to pay off the blue Obama states.
I'm angry at Forbes and Wittman, but I'm angrier at Republican Whip Eric Cantor. Sure, Cantor voted against this monstrosity. But as the Republican Whip it is his job, his responsibility, to ensure that the members are well informed and ready to hold the conservative line against the Democrat majority. Tonight, too many Republicans voted as liberals, not as conservatives.
While suspensions are usually noncontroversial, not all are. Five times so far this Congress a suspension of the rules has failed. One seems to be a revenge vote by Democrats against a piece of noncontrovertial legislation offered by a Republican because Republicans defeated a controversial bill establishing a "National Heritage Area" in Arizona that would limit property rights and inhibit the operations of border security along the Mexican border that the Democrats tried to sneak through under suspension. Another vote would have opened the door to changes to how congressional staffers would be paid, a questionable change in these difficult economic times. Finally, votes on an intrusive nanny state regulatory regime on our farms and delaying the federal mandate so that consumers would be even more confused about when the DTV switch was turned on.
So Republicans have stood up to Democrat power grabbing in the past. Why didn't they tonight? Ask their Whip, Eric Cantor.