I want to talk for a minute about another abuse which has occurred in this chamber, a personal affront to three of our colleagues I have never witnessed in my near twenty years serving in this House.And given all the recent news about Tom DeLay, the House has a pretty low standard already.
The Rules Committee discovered yesterday that the Judiciary Committee Report on this very bill, which was authored by the Majority Staff, contained amendment summaries which had been re-written by committee staff for the sole purpose of distorting the original intent of the authors.
This Committee Report took liberty to mischaracterize and even falsify the intent of several amendments offered in Committee by Democratic Members of this body.
At least five amendments to this bill, which were designed to protect the rights of family members and innocent bystanders from prosecution under this bill, were rewritten as amendments designed to protect sexual predators from prosecution and were then included in the committee report as if that was the original intent of the authors. The thing is, sexual predators were not mentioned anywhere in any of these amendments.
These amendments were no more about sexual predators then they were about terrorists or arsonists or any other criminal class in our society.
These amendments were about the rights of grandmothers and siblings and clergy and innocent bystanders.
I asked the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee [our very own F. Jim Sensenbrenner] about this deception yesterday afternoon at the Rules Committee hearing.
And instead of decrying what I certainly expected would be revealed as a mistake by an overzealous staffer...The Chairman stood by those altered amendment descriptions.
[F. Jim Sensenbrenner] made very clear to the Rules Committee that the alterations to these members’ amendments were deliberate.
When pressed as to why his committee staff took such an unprecedented action, the Chairman immediately offered up his own anger over the manner in which Democrats had chosen to debate and oppose this unfortunate piece of legislation we have before us today.
In fact…He said, and I quote... "You don’t like what we wrote about your amendments, and we don’t like what you said about our bill."
To falsely rewrite the intent of an amendment submitted by another member, to intentionally distort its description as being designed to protect sexual predators, is no different than accusing a fellow member of Congress as being an apologist for sexual predators themselves.
That is in effect what the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee has done here, with all deliberation.
And he has ensured that these amendment descriptions will be encapsulated in the record for all time by including those unfair and incorrect amendment summaries in the Committee report.
This is a new low for this chamber, Mr. Speaker.
Reader JAB from over at the Daily Aneurysm also comments, as well as points us to Raw Story (watch out for the blankety-blank pop-up ads), which has actual samples of how F. Jim imperiously distorted the language used to descibe Democrats' amendments.
2006 cannot come soon enough, eh?