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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

It's Official: John Kline Supports Republican "Culture of Corruption"

Today, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi introduced a resolution condemning the "culture of corruption" surrounding the 2003 Medicare bill which provides seniors with the much-touted prescription drug benefit Republicans are so proud of. The text of the legislation (HR 591) is currently unavailable from the congressional website, but I found it at U.S. Newswire. I snipped out a few dull paragraphs:

Whereas the recurring practice of improperly holding votes open for the sole purpose of overturning the will of the majority, including bullying and threatening Members to vote against their conscience, has occurred eight times since 2003, and three times in the 109th Congress alone;

Whereas on November 22, 2003, the Republican Leadership held open the vote on H.R. 1, the Prescription Drug Conference Report, for nearly three hours, the longest period of time in the history of electronic voting in the U.S. House of Representatives;

Whereas the normal period of time for a recorded vote is 15 minutes, and the Speaker of the House has reiterated that policy on Opening Day of each Congress by saying, "The Chair announced, and then strictly enforced, a policy of closing electronic votes as soon as possible after the guaranteed period of 15 minutes";

Whereas the sole purpose of holding the Prescription Drug vote open was to undermine the will of the House, and reverse the position that a majority of the House of Representatives had taken during the entire vote;

Whereas it was widely reported in the press that former Representative Nick Smith (R-MI) was bribed on the House floor, and the incident was described in Robert Novak's column in the Chicago Sun-Times, November 27, 2003: "Nick Smith was told business interests would give his son $100,000 in return for his father's vote. When he still declined, fellow Republican House members told him they would make sure Brad Smith never came to Congress. After (Rep.) Nick Smith voted no and the bill passed, (Rep.) Duke Cunningham of California and other Republicans taunted him that his son was dead meat";

Whereas the cost of the Prescription Drug bill was a critical factor in determining the votes of many Members of Congress and Richard S. Foster, the chief actuary for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, conducted numerous estimates indicating the cost to be much higher, including a June 11, 2003 analysis of a similar plan in the Senate which would have cost $551 billion over ten years and Members were not made aware of this;

(snip)

Whereas in a clear conflict of interest the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, former Representative Billy Tauzin (R-LA), was actively engaged in a job search with the pharmaceutical industry at the same time that he was a key negotiator on major provisions in the bill, and after its passage, he subsequently left Congress to take a highly-paid executive position with the head of the pharmaceutical lobby, and is reportedly making many times his congressional salary;

Whereas the Republican Leadership's submissiveness to the influence of corporate interests, and their illegitimate efforts to overturn the will of the House to pass flawed legislation like the Prescription Drug bill, which was written to meet the needs of drug companies, call into question the legitimacy of the laws they enact and the agenda they pursue;

Whereas the culture of corruption has so permeated the Republican Leadership that they will violate their own Rules and the customs and decorum of the House to win votes on the floor of the House of Representatives;

Therefore, be it resolved that:

The House denounces the culture of corruption exhibited by the Republican Leadership, denounces the ongoing resort to illegitimate actions taken to pass legislation like the Prescription Drug bill under false pretenses, rejects the practice of improperly holding votes open beyond a reasonable period of time for the sole purpose of circumventing the will of the House, and directs the Speaker to take such steps as necessary to prevent any further abuse.

It should come as a surprise to no one that John Kline voted to table this bill. For that matter, so did every Republican present at the time. So John Kline is now on the record for supporting the culture of corruption exhibited by the Republican Leadership, the ongoing resort to illegitimate actions taken to pass legislation under false pretenses, and the practice of improperly holding votes open beyond a reasonable period of time for the sole purpose of circumventing the will of the House.

This isn't just one liberal's opinion, mind you. It's documented fact.

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