By Russell Berman - 05/05/11 12:52 AM EDT
House Republicans say they have no plans to follow the Senate in passing a resolution honoring the military mission that killed Osama bin Laden.
The decision by GOP leaders follows new rules they enacted in January scrapping the tradition of congratulatory measures, which they complained clogged up the House floor.
The lack of House action drew criticism from some Democrats, who said an exception to the new rules was more than warranted for the killing of America’s No. 1 enemy.
“I don’t know why we’re not. Certainly we’ve passed a lot of resolutions for a lot less important things,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose district includes Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. “I think we ought to pass a resolution honoring the military and the president. How often do you get unadulterated, unabashed, absolute good news about something really important in this country, or any country?”
Nadler said he was unaware of the rules the GOP passed forbidding such measures.
“If they have, it’s silly,” he said. “Occasionally we ought to do it. Maybe we did it too often, but I don’t think you could argue that this occasion didn’t warrant it.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) earlier this week said she hoped that the House would move forward on a resolution.
But, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), whose district includes the Pentagon, said he didn’t have a problem with the GOP decision.
“That’s their call,” he said. “It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference whether we vote for a resolution or not. I’m sure the military knows how supportive of them and how proud of them we all are.”
While GOP leadership aides said they had no plans to draft an honorary resolution, Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) office said the House would expedite consideration of an intelligence authorization bill next week.
“We are extremely proud that our intelligence community tracked down Osama bin Laden and our troops sent him exactly where he needs to go,” Cantor spokeswoman Laena Fallon said. “In light of that, we will take substantive action by bringing the intelligence authorization bill to the floor next week.”
On Monday evening, the House approved measures naming a Texas courthouse for the two Presidents Bush and a post office for a U.S. soldier slain in Iraq. Fallon said the GOP rules scaled back but did not forbid the naming of post offices and federal buildings because establishing them is a constitutional duty. Under its new protocol, the House acts on those designations only one day a month.
The rules, which the House approved on a party-line vote in January, prohibit the consideration of any measure that “expresses appreciation, commends, congratulates, celebrates, recognizes the accomplishments of, or celebrates the anniversary of, an entity, event, group, individual, institution, team or government program; or acknowledges or recognizes a period of time for such purposes.”
Republicans had previously said the practice of officially congratulating sports teams and designating days, weeks and months for the awareness of various issues had gotten out of hand.