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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Under the Cover of Darkness

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Over the past few days, I have done quite a bit of reading about Democratic Congressman Sherrod Brown from Ohio's 13th District. I remember the first time I ever heard him speak live; he shared a stranger than fiction story about the passage of the Medicare privatization bill that passed at 5:55 A.M. on a Friday night in 2003. It was after hearing him speak that I came to realize he is truly a Democrat fighting for us in Congress.

So, in my readings over the past few days, I stumbled upon a full account of what happened on the floor of the House that night, written by Congressman Sherrod Brown. This will make for some great late night, very quick reading.

By 4 a.m., the bill had been defeated 216-218, with only one member, Democrat David Wu, not voting. Still, the speaker refused to gavel the vote closed. Then the assault began.

Hastert, DeLay, Republican Whip Roy Blount, Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin—all searched the floor for stray Republicans to bully.

I watched them surround Cincinnati's Steve Chabot, trying first a carrot, then a stick; but he remained defiant. Next, they aimed at retiring Michigan congressman Nick Smith, whose son is running to succeed him. They promised support if he changed his vote to yes and threatened his son's future if he refused. He stood his ground. Many of the two dozen Republicans who voted against the bill had fled the floor. One Republican hid in the Democratic cloakroom.

The piece can be read in full HERE.

Posted at 11:57 PM in Ohio | Technorati