By Brad Friedman from Richfield, UT...
As we reported from a source late last night, today's scheduled hearing in the House Rules Committee for Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR 811) has been canceled. The same source had also said that if the hearing was canceled, it could mean an "indefinite hold" for the controversial legislation.
Today, Republicans are predictably enjoying what has been termed as a Democratic "split," by The Hill, and a Democratic "revolt," by Politico, in the majority-led Rules Committee, once known as "The Speakers Committee" since it's generally the last stop before legislation hits the House Floor. It's also the place where the leadership determines whether amendments will be allowed to be brought for such legislation.
Of course, what Republicans seem to find most amusing is that Democrats in Congress don't necessarily march in lock-step, as they do. Instead, the Democrats seem to have this crazy idea that in a democracy, there should be actual, responsible debate, care, and attention to details for an Election Reform bill which would have enormous national consequences to every local, state, and federal race in the union for decades to come. Go figure.
"Democrats believe in democracy, unlike that monolith we had before," committee chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) told The Hill.
Nonetheless, the Republicans are attempting to make partisan hay from the situation. Minority Leader John Boehner's website described the situation as a "House Committee Meltdown" yesterday. A spokesperson for David Drier (R-CA), the ranking member on the House Committee described the situation as "chaos."
They're all right. Democracy is chaos. Though the Holt bill has been largely dysfunctional from the get-go as its lead author, Rush Holt (D-NJ) began with a very open process, inviting many voices (including our own) into the bill's drafting process, but then shut down the process in favor of both fear and agenda-driven interests...