Wow, go away for a day (see below) and look what happens:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) refused repeated requests for a roll call vote that would have put senators on the record on a resolution apologizing for past failures to pass anti-lynching laws, officials involved in the negotiations said Tuesday.
And there was disagreement Tuesday over whether Saxby Chambliss, one of Georgia’s two Republican senators, had supported the measure when it was approved Monday night.
Bob Stevenson, Frist’s chief spokesman, said Tuesday evening the procedure the majority leader established was “requested by the sponsors.”
The chief sponsors of the resolution, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and George Allen (R-Va.), disputed that assertion.
Landrieu said Monday before the resolution was adopted she would have preferred a roll call vote but had to accept the conditions set by Senate leaders.
When Stevenson was informed of Landrieu’s statement, he amended his comments to say “at least one of the sponsors” had requested adoption on a voice vote and in combination with a resolution related to Black History Month.
Allen press secretary David Snepp took issue with Stevenson. “I don’t know why Bob Stevenson would characterize it that way,” he said.
I guess having a roll-call vote would have been dicey for some Southern senators, huh? And the Republicans were upset about being labelled as a “white, Christian party”?
If the Financial Services Committee is the best in the House when it comes to bipartisan comity, then the Judiciary Committee may well be the worst.
In December, ranking Democrat John Conyers (Mich.) began holding “forums” — gatherings with all the trappings of official hearings — after Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) refused to hold hearings on topics Conyers requested. The forums have been held in smaller committee rooms, often with C-SPAN coverage and formal witness lists.
In a sign of how far relationships on the committee have soured, majority staff recently announced a new policy to deny any request from a committee Democrat for the use of a committee hearing room.
Majority spokesman Jeff Lungren said the Republicans have given Democrats three opportunities to make clear that the forums are not official committee business. Nevertheless, Lungren said, in at least one case, members were addressing Conyers as “Mr. Chairman.”
“They were unwilling or unable to make those changes,” Lungren said. “At this point, if they want to hold these forums, they’ll have to find some other place to do it.”
Sean McLaughlin, deputy chief of staff for Sensenbrenner, recently wrote to a minority staffer in more pointed language.
“I’m sitting here watching your ‘forum’ on C-SPAN,” McLaughlin wrote. “Just to let you know, it was your last. Don’t bother asking [for a room] again.”
A committee source said committee Democrats are still planning to hold the forums when they find other available space.
Geez, I can’t go away for just one day without all hell breaking loose.