Because that's how Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was able to kill a provision that would have helped the State Department prevent child rape. No, really:
Non-governmental organizations, women's rights advocates, and lawmakers from both parties spent years developing and lobbying for the "International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010," which the House failed to pass in a vote Thursday....
Even still, supporters in both parties fully expected the bill to garner the 290 votes needed -- right up until the bill failed. After all, it passed the Senate unanimously Dec. 1 with the co-sponsorship of several Republicans, including Appropriations Committee ranking Republican Thad Cochran (R-MS), Foreign Relations Committee member Roger Wicker (R-MS), and human rights advocate Sam Brownback (R-KS).
If passed, the bill would have authorized the president to provide assistance "to prevent the incidence of child marriage in developing countries through the promotion of educational, health, economic, social, and legal empowerment of girls and women." It would have also mandated that the administration develop a multi-year strategy on the issue and that the State Department include the incidence of forced child marriage during its annual evaluation of countries' human rights practices.
Ros-Lehtinen has always been opposed to just about everything the State Department does, unless it were to draw up plans to invade Cuba. So opposing State Department human rights initiatives is like a nervous tic for her--she just can't help herself. So what did pro-child rape Republican congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen do? Well:
So what happened? Ros-Lehtinen first argued that the bill was simply unaffordable. In a Dec. 16 "Dear Colleague" letter, she objected to the cost of the bill, which would be $108 million over five years, and criticized it for not providing an accounting of how much the U.S. was already spending on this effort. The actual CBO estimate (PDF) said the bill would authorize $108 million, but would only require $67 million in outlays from fiscal years 2011 to 2015.
Ros-Lehtinen introduced her own version of the bill, which she said would only cost $1 million. But in a fact sheet (PDF), organizations supporting the original legislation said that Ros-Lehtinen's bill removed the implementation procedures that gave the legislation teeth. "Without such activities, the bill becomes merely a strategy with no actual implementation. And without implementation of a strategy, the bill will have an extraordinarily limited impact," they wrote.
But the evil--and, yes, evil is the appropriate word--Republican congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen ran into a problem: even most Republicans think spending a little money to prevent kiddie rape is worth doing. So then she just lied:
....about one hour before the vote, every Republican House office received a message on the bill from GOP leadership, known as a Whip Alert, saying that leadership would vote "no" on the bill and encouraging all Republicans do the same. The last line on the alert particularly shocked the bill's supporters.
"There are also concerns that funding will be directed to NGOs that promote and perform abortion and efforts to combat child marriage could be usurped as a way to overturn pro-life laws," the alert read.
The bill doesn't contain any funding for abortion activities and federal funding for abortion activities is already prohibited by what's known as the "Helms Amendment," which has been boiler plate language in appropriations bills since 1973.
Invoking the abortion issue sent the bill's supporters reeling. They believed that it was little more than a stunt, considering that Republican pro-life senators had carefully reviewed the legislation and concluded it would not have an impact on the abortion issue.
And it's not just Dirty Fucking Hippies like me who think this is disgusting, Republicans do too--Republican congressman LaTourette:
"All of a sudden there was a fiscal argument. When that didn't work people had to add an abortion element to it. This is a partisan place. I'm a Republican. I'm glad we beat their butt in the election, but there comes a time when enough is enough."
This is evil. And sadly, it's the result of the willingness of conservative politicians to repeatedly lie and deceive their own supporters. Does Congressman LaTourette really think you can just turn the lies off? The Republican orc army base has fallen for death panels, 'Frenchiness', and many other stupidities (including creationism). So why wouldn't some anti-State Department, pro-kiddie rape opportunist lie once again, especially when your supporters are cognitively primed to believe that anything Democrats would propose will, of course, lead to more abortion.
Did you really think you could ride this tiger (or tea bag)?
Did you think this beast could ever be sated?
So I think the Democrats should play this game too:
If we don't raise taxes on the rich, we'll have more abortions.
If we don't protect Social Security, we'll have more abortions.
If we don't increase science and technology funding, we'll have more abortions.
These 'arguments' are no more absurd than pro-kiddie rape Republican congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen's 'argument.'
The really strange thing about this: if you or I were to give testimony to congress, and tell a lie during that testimony, we could be prosecuted. How is it that a member of congress can tell a lie to other congresspersons, and have it be OK?
Because apparently once you make more than a few million dollars a year the law stops applying to you.
members of both Houses of Congress ââ¦shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.â
That doesn't answer why âit's Okâ, but it does explain why it's possible to lie during the course of their duties(hah!) without fear of consequences(with exceptions), with about the only check being not being re-elected(cue the incumbent's advantage and money politics andâ¦).
Hell, the way American politics works now, Democrats could have completely legalized abortion by proposing a complete ban on abortion. The Republicans, rather than agreeing with Democrats(!), would drag their heels, say no way, somehow tie it with muslims taking over the country and come up with a bill that is the complete opposite.
I love your blog. I find myself sharing your links and linking your stories and even sharing your writing in quotations to social media. I know you're busy, everyone is, but I'd love to see you write more and to expand beyond just analysis of of one story a day.
That would be an awesome festivus gift.
I agree with a recent analysis that said the voters will just switch congressional majorities every two years and presidents every four years until both parties start to figure out that we are actually voting against both parties in turn, and not for either party.
Who do I vote against next? Obama's already dead meat.
The GOP will screw America again, and the Dems will go along to get along, and the cycle will continue.
It portends a long decline for America, and I predict that is exactly what we will see, accompanied by the rise of a new American class system based on inherited (not earned) wealth.