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Friday, July 18, 2003

House Republican Debate Tactics: Call the Cops
The gloves appear to be coming off in the House of Representatives.

The partisan bickering later spilled over onto the House floor, where Democrats and Republicans offered conflicting accounts about what happened in the Ways and Means Committee meeting on a pension plan bill.

The whole thing blew up, witnesses said, when Democrats complained of the way committee's Republican chairman, Rep. Bill Thomas of California, was running the session.

The Democrats said they needed more time to review some changes in the legislation after getting them only the night before.

When they could not to get a line-by-line reading of the bill, a common parliamentary tactic, they walked out and gathered to talk in a library at the back of the meeting room. Thomas, who has a reputation for being blunt, had his staff call the cops.

Democrats said Thomas called police to get them out of the room. Republicans said the police were called because one Democrat, Rep. Pete Stark of California, got out of hand.
-- from CNN

Fortunately, the Dems are stepping up:

"How outrageous," Pelosi said before introducing a resolution to condemn Thomas for the way he handled the hearing. The resolution failed on a party line vote.

"The Ways and Means Democrats were subjected to an indignity, an indignity no member should have to endure," said Pelosi.

"Make no mistake about this the police were summoned to remove these Democratic members because the chairman didn't want them in the room and for no other reason."

Atrios has much more here and here. The second post suggests ways uo can help.