Republicans are being condemned for blocking passage of the House bill to extend unemployment benefits. But wait; how can that be when Democrats control the House, the Senate and the Presidency?
The answer is the Democrats under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi carried out a strategy of presenting the bill under rules that would assure its failure. A credible claim could then be made that Republicans blocked the bill and cut income off to the unemployed at the start of the holiday season. It was a knight’s move in the game of politics.
Here is how it was done. Under the normal standing rules of the House a bill only needs a simple majority to pass. The bill as it was just presented, garnered 63% of the votes, so under the regular rules, it would have clearly passed the House. Two special rules had to be invoked to assure the bill’s timely failure. First of all, amendment proposals were disallowed, and second, a special rule requiring a supermajority for passage was invoked. With these two moves Speaker Pelosi engineered the failure of the bill.
One more step was taken to insure solid Republican voting against the bill. The cost wasn’t funded. It was stipulated that new borrowing be undertaken to meet the cost.
Surely it must be less than 1% of the public that is familiar with the Rules of the House. The press is little more aware of the intricacies of the rules and how they can be employed strategically. The watch dog is asleep. There could be little fear the public would see the ploy. But the fact remains, only the Democrats had the power to kill the bill. This they did. It was an action against the interests of their constituency taken for political gain and the public is none the wiser.