Water Cooler – Republicans Censoring Congresses Communication with Constituents
There is a meme that I hate, that politics is a blood sport and that you can’t be involved in it unless you are willing to leave your opponents bleeding into the sand of the arena while you bask in the adulation of the crowd. This idea leads to a culture of anything goes and it makes the governance of our nation much much harder.
Which is where we are with the House Republicans. Having committed political malpractice by forcing a vote on the Paul Ryan Medicare killing budget the Republican leadership finds itself with a stinking, rotting albatross hung around its neck.
So what is a political party with an authoritarian bent to do? Well for one thing they are preventing Democratic Representatives from sending out any communication to their constituents that say the Ryan budget will kill or end Medicare. Even though these are factually true statements (gutting a program and then calling it Medicare does not count as keeping it, no matter what Politifact or the Washington Post Fact Checker say).
In Congress Representatives and Senators are allowed to use federal funds to communicate with their constituents. The only thing they are not allowed to do on that dime is outright electioneering. Meaning that they can tell you that the Republicans are everything but a child of God, but they can’t say “So, vote for me!” explicitly or raise money for the same in those communications.
The review of these documents is always the purview of the Majority Party in the House and Senate. Just another administrative task that you have when you control the chamber, making sure that no one is using the government’s money to actively campaign to keep their seat.
The Republicans are taking it beyond that. This is not to say that the Democrats did not do something similar during the ACA debate; when they controlled the House they would not let the Republicans send out messages with “death panels” and such in them. The difference is that until the Democrats won the special election in the NY 26th they were allowed to send these kinds of messages.
TMP is has the letter that was sent by five Democrats to the House Republicans Leadership, it reads in part:
The documentation in question uses terminology and phrases that have been approved in previous documents. This politically motivated censorship undermines our ability to execute one of our primary roles and diminishes the credibility of this institution. To that end, we ask, in the strongest possible terms, that you urge the Franking Commission to allow for ‘a robust debate and an open process that allows you to represent your constituents — to make your case, offer alternatives and to be heard,’ as you promised when you assumed the Speaker’s Gavel.”
It remains to be seen if the Republicans respond, but it is a good example of taking all politics too far. The difference between what the Democrats would not allow and what the Republicans will not allow is not a political one but rather one of truth vs lies. There were never death panels or a government take over of health care in the ACA, while the Ryan plan does end Medicare as we know it and replace it with vouchers.
What is on your minds tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours!