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House GOP aides leaked a list of demands they say congressional Democrats and President Obama must agree to, otherwise they will force the country to default on its debt. The provisions attached to the debt-ceiling bill being drafted by the GOP include an immediate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, opening new federal lands to drilling and a proposal that would allow cable and cell phone companies to manipulate Internet speeds based on favored content, among other corporate handouts, according to National Review.
Wasn’t this the type of roughshod lawmaking Republicans complained about under Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Back then, even the Affordable Care Act, which underwent more than eight months of legislative debate and hearings, along several rounds of congressional votes, was somehow “rushed through.”
Republicans were so upset about moving too quickly and bundling major policy bills through omnibus legislation that they campaigned in 2010 on a platform to end such tactics. That year, the party unveiled the “Pledge to America,” a campaign document John Boehner said would be his “governing agenda” The Pledge promised:
Advance Legislative Issues One at a Time
We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with “must-pass” legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.
The US Treasury Department says the government will run out of money after October 17 without an increase in the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is the very definition of must-pass legislation, so the debt-ceiling hostage-taking sounds a lot like “circumventing the will of the American people,”at least according to Boehner’s Pledge to America.
Then again, the legislative riders being attached to the debt-ceiling bill represent multibillion-dollar giveaways to major industry groups. Pay America’s debts only if the EPA is barred from regulating coal ash? That’s one of more than twenty demands. Given a choice between adhering to their own ethics pledge and an opportunity to enact a legislative wish list for K Street, it seems the House GOP has embraced the latter.