Friday, February 09, 2007

Sensenbrenner gets his gander up

Jim Sensenbrenner, still trying to figure out his minority status, continues to throw his weight around. Thursday, he badgered Speaker Nancy Pelosi, using an obscure rule to question her when she testified before a House committee.

The Hill has the story.

The last line of this excerpt is a little ironic. The guy who wants to ask the questions doesn't want to answer any for the media without an appointment. Apparently, what's good for the goose doesn't apply to the gander, according to House Rule XI.

...Pelosi experienced the effect of the new strategy yesterday when Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) stunned her by using a procedural tactic to force her to answer questions from members of the Science Committee and White House spokesman Tony Snow defended her right to travel nonstop across the country aboard a military jet.

After Pelosi finished making an opening statement on global warming before the Science panel, Sensenbrenner employed House Rule XI, which allows lawmakers to question witnesses for five minutes.

The move flustered Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) and committee aides. Gordon asked for unanimous consent to waive the rules, but Sensenbrenner did not agree.

It is rare that the House Speaker, who does not vote on or sponsor legislation, would testify before a committee; it is rarer still that lawmakers would force one of their own to submit to questioning. Lawmakers testify in committees all the time, but their colleagues routinely dispense with all but the friendliest questions.

Pelosi delivered an opening statement at a hearing where scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) testified about a report issued last week that said humans “very likely” have caused global warming.

“It’s tough being in the minority, but the American people are looking for cooperation on this very serious issue and the Speaker showed today she’s willing to talk about the issue with anyone anywhere,” said a spokesman for Pelosi.

Sensenbrenner responded in a statement to Pelosi’s allegation that “for 12 years, the [GOP] leadership stifled all discussion and debate of global warming. The long rejection of reality is over, to the relief of members on both sides of the aisle.”

Sensenbrenner, chairman of the Science Committee from 1997 to 2001, said he held hearings on global warming. He then asked Pelosi to explain the economic impact of policies that would slow global warming.

“He’s a rules kind of guy and he felt he had a right to question her,” said Sensenbrenner’s spokesman, Raj Bharwani. Whether Sensenbrenner’s plan was premeditated or extemporaneous is unclear. Sensenbrenner rarely talks to reporters without an appointment...

1 comment:

krshorewood said...

Also ironic is someone who is Congress' most frequent flier, both on the taxpayers' dime and compliments of lobbyists. A lot of nerve from someone with a lot of fat.