March 31, 2011

Media Contacts

Adam Sarvana (202) 225-2435 (Grijalva)

Tim Schumann (202) 225-4755 (Ellison)

Washington, D.C.– The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) today highlighted the baffling Republican attempt to pass a bill proclaiming itself the “law of the land” without Senate approval or presidential signature.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), who in 2009 confused the Declaration of Independence for the Constitution, is spearheading the push for H.R. 1255, the “Deem and Pass Act.”  H.R. 1255 seeks to make the House Republicans’ budget bill – H.R. 1 – law on April 6 even if the Senate and the President do not approve the measure. Boehner, who once described the “deem and pass” procedure “ the ultimate in Washington power grabs,” has been a champion of the Republican budget, which leading economists have said will cost the nation at least 700,000 jobs

“Rather than doing what the American people sent them here to do, Republicans are pushing their scheme to fire nearly 1 million Americans,” said CPC Co-Chair Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). “At best, this is an unconstitutional partisan political ploy; at worst, this is wasting time that should be spent putting America back to work.”

Congressional Tea Party Caucus founder, and potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn) said last year that then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi should be “impeached” if the deeming procedure were used.  As Bachmann said at the time: “And this is how they view our most precious, sacred document – the Constitution? They’re going to ignore it? No.”

“This is a colossal waste of Congress’ and the American people’s time,” said CPC Co-Chair Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) “Speaker Boehner is making us vote on an unconstitutional bill that its own sponsors know is legally worthless. It would be funny if Republican demands for irresponsible budget cuts hadn’t pushed us so close to a government shutdown.”

Among other legal, practical and Constitutional difficulties, H.R. 1255 ignores the fact that the Senate already voted on H.R. 1 – which cuts funding for Pell Grants, Head Start, community health centers, job training, home heating assistance, in addition to nearly 1 million jobs – and defeated it 44-56 on March 9. Despite the Senate defeating the measure, H.R. 1255 would “deem” H.R. 1 passed and signed by President Obama, despite his statement that he would veto the bill if necessary.

After the Republican majority passes the bill through the House, it will inevitably be ignored by the Senate as negotiations over an actual budget agreement continue between Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Congressional and White House officials.

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