The House of Representatives leadership is growing extremely comfortable thumbing their nose at optics, and ramming their anti-gay and anti-women agenda down the throats of the American people, while not performing their primary function as lawmakers entrusted with the nation’s purse strings: protecting and supporting those devastated by crisis or disaster.
The House GOP, as the world — thanks to NJ Governor Chris Christie yesterday — refused to put up for a vote the Hurricane Sandy bill to fund relief for the superstorm’s victims. The House GOP, especially including Eric Cantor and John Boehner, also just stalled their way out of time to vote on the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act, allowing the 18-year old law to expire, and exposing women across the nation to greater risk of violence.
But the House Republican leadership did have time — for the first time ever in history — to write funding to continue their anti-gay war, defending DOMA, into the official House Rules last night. DOMA is the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
This is truly a shocking turn of events.
The House is going to extraordinary lengths and spending millions of your tax dollars to defend a law multiple federal courts, the Attorney General, the President, and literally dozens of federal judges have declared unconstitutional.
“A GOP source told The Huffington Post that, during a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference, lawmakers gave a green light to including language in the 113th Congress rules package that authorizes the House legal team, known as the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), to keep paying outside counsel to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. The proposed House rules package also states that BLAG continues to “speak for” the House in its defense of DOMA,” Jennifer Bendery at the Huffington Post reports:
HuffPost obtained a copy of the draft language, which is expected to pass the full House on Thursday when the 113th Congress begins:
(1) CONTINUING AUTHORITY FOR THE BIPARTISAN LEGAL ADVISORY GROUP.
(A) The House authorizes the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the 113th Congress –
(i) to act as successor in interest to the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the 112th Congress with respect to civil actions in which it intervened in the 112th Congress to defend the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (1 U.S.C. 7) or related provisions of titles 10, 31, and 38, United States Code, including in the case of Windsor v. United States, 833 F. Supp.2d 394 (S.D.N.Y. June 6, 2012), aff’d, 699 F.3d 169 (2d Cir. Oct. 18, 2012), cert. granted, No. 12–307 (Dec. 7, 2012), cert. pending No. 12–63 (July 16, 2012) and 12-ll (Dec.___2012);
(ii) to take such steps as may be appropriate to ensure continuation of such civil actions; and
(iii) to intervene in other cases that involve a challenge to the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act or related provisions of titles 10, 31, and 38, United States Code.
(B) Pursuant to clause 8 of rule II, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group continues to speak for, and articulate the institutional position of, the House in all litigation matters in which it appears, including in Windsor v. United States.
A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday slammed Republicans for taking “the extraordinary measure” of using the opening day rules package of the new Congress to authorize themselves to keep defending DOMA.
“Today, House Republicans will send a clear message to LGBT families: their fiscal responsibility mantra does not extend to their efforts to stand firmly on the wrong side of the future,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.
Hammill also noted that the rules package “for the first time” explicitly states that BLAG speaks for the full House on DOMA matters — something he said is definitely not the case.
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