Democrats accused Republicans of wasting time and getting little done as the House began 10 hours of debate Thursday on a resolution intended to kill burdensome regulations.
"This is a make work product for Republicans who are without an agenda for job creation," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. "You have nothing else to offer."
The largely party-line 255-169 vote allowing the debate to proceed came after an hour of tense debate in which Democrats sharply criticized Republican plans to examine federal regulations. While Republicans argued that lowering the regulatory burden for companies is an attempt to boost job creation, several Democrats rejected this and said the GOP plan would have no impact on jobs.
Pelosi and other Democrats also argued that it is a waste of time to hold nearly 10 hours of debate, particularly because House committees already have oversight authority.
"The resolution isn't objectionable in and of itself," Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said, noting the good goal of regulatory oversight. But he questioned: "why do my friends insist on spending nine and one-half hours debating a resolution that is entirely redundant?"
House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) responded by saying Democrats "seem to believe that the government creates jobs." Republicans, he said, "believe that the American people create jobs, and our goal is to get out of the way so that can happen." The measure would instruct 10 House committees to identify existing and pending regulations that may be hurting economic growth and U.S. job creation.
Republicans also said the marathon debate on the resolution, and the decision to empower committees to hold hearings on regulations, is an effort to create an open process. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) snapped at Democrats for criticizing the process by saying at one point to Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), "I know this is a new concept to people on your side."
Democrats just today introduced a bill, H.R. 11, to extend the Buy America Bonds provision that expired last year, and threatened to offer it as a substitute for the Republican resolution tomorrow.
As a result of the vote, the House will hold five hours of debate. The chairmam and ranking member of the Small Business Committee will start the debate, sharing 30 minutes, and five other committees will each share one hour: Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, Financial Services, Natural Resources, and Ways and Means.
The remainder of the debate will be held Friday.