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Thread: Outrage After GOP Cuts Off Microphones At Patriot Act Hearing

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    Jan 2005

    Outrage After GOP Cuts Off Microphones At Patriot Act Hearing

    Outrage after GOP cuts off microphones at Patriot Act hearing

    A furor erupted after Republican House Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner shut off the microphones during a hearing on the Patriot Act Friday, accusing Democrats of raising issues unrelated to the Act such as treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, RAW STORY has learned.

    The Democrats' leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), called the move a "shameful attempt today to silence Democrats at hearing this morning on the impact of the Patriot Act," and demanded the Republican leadership force Sensenbrenner to apologize.

    Democrats have slammed Sensenbrenner before, and had success. Earlier this year, the chairman's staff rewrote Democratic amendments on an interstate abortion bill. Sensenbrenner was forced to retreat, returning the language to its neutral wording.

    House Judiciary ranking Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) had no comment on the move.

    The hearings were held under a rarely-invoked Congressional rule which allows the minority party to call for an additional day of hearings and to choose witnesses if they feel hearings held by the majority party were unsatisfactory.

    A video clip of Sensenbrenner's statement on adjourning the hearing can be seen here.

    More information is available at The Brad Blog.

    Pelosi's statement follows.

    "The Republicans' abuse of power reached a new low this morning when they tried to silence Democrats at a hearing on the Patriot Act by cutting the microphones.

    "Chairman Sensenbrenner proved again today that he is afraid of ideas, and that Republicans will stop at nothing to silence Democrats. It is quite ironic that at a hearing on the impact of the Patriot Act on civil liberties, the Republicans attempted to suppress free speech.

    "This is part of Republican abuses of power: to silence Democrats and the voice of the minority, to deny millions of Americans a voice in Congress. Republican leaders dictate the party line and ram bills through committees, and permit few if any amendments on the floor. Republicans are unwilling and unable to compete in the marketplace of ideas, so they have chosen to arbitrarily and capriciously abuse their power simply because they can.

    "Democrats will not be silenced when we uphold our oath of office to protect and defend our Constitution and civil liberties as we protect and defend the American people. I commend Judiciary Committee Democrats for continuing to question witnesses after the Republicans' shameful behavior, and for standing up for the institution of the House.

    "This incident is the latest in a series of disgraceful conduct by Mr. Sensenbrenner. Last month, he misused an official committee report to mischaracterize in a derogatory manner amendments offered by three Democratic Members. As a result, the House was required to authorize the filing of a supplemental report, which contained significant changes, to correct the record.

    "As House Democratic Leader, I expect all Members to be treated by the majority with dignity and respect. I will ask Speaker Hastert to order Mr. Sensenbrenner to apologize for his behavior to the witnesses at the hearing today, and to promise that this will never again happen."
    Last edited by pcteaser; 06-10-2005 at 08:33 PM. Reason: Added links
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