What’s the big emergency?

Pop quiz:

House Republicans convened an urgent emergency session to deal with a pressing national issue today. The legislation before them required such immediate attention that they ignored House Speaker John Boehner’s pledge to put every bill online for at least 72 hours before it is voted upon. That urgent national matter was:

A) A resolution urging President Obama to take swift action in Libya to protect civilians from a dictator’s murderous rampage.
B) Legislation requiring the immediate inspection of every nuclear reactor in the nation to determine if they would be safe in the case of extreme disaster.
C) An emergency stimulus bill to help the fledgling economy rise above the dampening effect of rising energy prices.
D) Emergency legislation providing immediate assistance to Japan.
E) A measure to strip NPR of all federal funding.

If you answered A, B, C or D, you don’t know congressional Republicans very well.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., called it about right: “What a relief. I’m glad we got the economy back going. I’m so glad we secured our nuclear power plants. So glad Americans are going back to work. We discovered a target we can all agree on…it’s Click And Clack.”

But the theater of the absurd became even more absurd when Weiner pressed Republicans on the 72-hour rule: “This bill did not lay over for 72 hours. It was noticed at 1:42 p.m. on Tuesday. Therefore it has to wait until 1:42 on Friday to be in compliance with the rules of the House.” The answer from Republicans? When John Boehner said 72 hours, he really meant three calendar days. The bill was made available online Tuesday, so three calendar days later would be Thursday. Voila! When Weiner pressed further, asking for a yes-or-no answer to whether the bill had been available for 72 hours, acting speaker Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas said, “The chair will not respond to a hypothetical question.”

Apparently, the chair doesn’t understand the meaning of “hypothetical question.”


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