Spending debate turns to 'I'm Just a Bill'

A House Democrat on Friday cited the "I'm Just a Bill" educational cartoon from the 1970s to accuse Republicans of failing to understand the basics of the Constitution. 

The reference to the cartoon came during debate over a GOP bill that seeks to deem H.R. 1, the House-passed FY 2011 budget, as law if the Senate fails to act on a spending bill by Wednesday. 

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) brought a poster to the House floor showing a scene from the cartoon, which features a young boy learning the legislative process from a walking, talking piece of legislation named Bill.

"For a bill to become a law, it needs to pass the House and the Senate before it goes to the president," Polis said. "What is being done in this case … this little guy," he said, pointing to Bill, "is deeming from the House that it has passed the Senate."

Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) asked Polis for his poster and used it in his rebuttal, and said that once the House has acted, the Senate must act. Then, flipping the poster around to reveal its blank side, he said, "Here's the work product of the Senate.

"How do you negotiate with that?" he asked. "This is what the Senate has given us to work with."

Polis responded by saying the Senate has rejected H.R. 1, prompting Woodall to reply that until the Senate can show what it can approve, there is no "counter-offer" from the Senate with which the House can work.

"I'm Just a Bill" has been much on the minds of members this week since Republicans introduced the controversial H.R. 1255 budget bill. Woodall said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) actually sang the song from the cartoon in yesterday's Rules Committee markup of the bill. 

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) suggested that the song should be played for Republicans.

But Woodall on Friday said the bill would not "deem" H.R. 1 as law, and simply "reminds" the Senate that the House has approved a spending bill. He said it gives the Senate the option of falling back on H.R. 1 if it cannot pass any other bill.

More in House

House presses on with spending debate

Read more »