It seems that the Democrats are starting to stand up for themselves!
Now that the pork-filled Omnibus spending bill was almost rammed down the House and Senate’s throats with provisions about viewing individual’s tax returns, etc, the Democrats have cried a collective, “That’s enough!”. They have chosen to block the bill, with Nancy Pelosi declaring, “The assault on taxpayer privacy was not a simple mistake, and Democrats will not let Republicans sweep it under the rug.”
Good for you, Nancy! Do NOT back down on this!
CNN Article archived here.Democrats block funding bill
Emergency measure stalled by procedure amid anger over income tax return review provision.
November 23, 2004: 9:45 PM EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats, angry that Republicans rushed through a massive spending bill that would allow lawmakers access to individuals’ tax returns, retaliated Tuesday by refusing to sign off on an emergency bill needed to keep the government running after Dec. 3.
Congress on Wednesday will vote on a separate short-term funding measure that will keep the government open until the tax measure can be corrected in December.
Congressional leaders had hoped to resolve the flap over the tax return provision with a House vote on Wednesday to repeal the tax provision. The Senate had already passed it and most senators had left Washington for the Thanksgiving Day holiday.
Congress then would have sent President Bush for his signature a $388 billion spending bill they passed on Saturday covers foreign aid and many domestic programs for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2005.
But the deal fell through and a few senators will have to return Wednesday to clear the emergency spending bill.
An angry House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, “The assault on taxpayer privacy was not a simple mistake, and Democrats will not let Republicans sweep it under the rug.” The California lawmaker initiated a procedural struggle requiring Wednesday’s vote, and called for Republican leaders to give lawmakers more time to review future pending legislation.
Outrage in both parties
Both Republicans and Democrats expressed outrage about the tax provision in the spending bill that was discovered by the office of Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., on Saturday night. Conrad said his staff found it on page 1,112 of the 3,600-page bill that he had only hours to review before the Senate vote.
Republican congressional leaders blamed the provision’s late night insertion on a staff member working for Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla. Istook said he was not responsible for the tax provision.
“The whole reason we have to come back tomorrow is so the government doesn’t shut down on Dec. 3,” said Eric Ueland, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee.
Democrats complained that the appropriations process was rushed to allow lawmakers to leave for the Thanksgiving holiday, resulting in a bill that had not been properly read through or vetted by the minority Democrats.
The Republican-led Congress failed to pass nine of the 13 spending bills needed to run the government each year before the election. It was forced to return for a special post-election session to do this for the 2005 fiscal year which started on Oct. 1. It has passed resolutions to fund government operations in the meantime which expire on Dec. 3.