Dems won’t consent to correcting typo in GOP's regulatory bill

Republicans hoping to use unanimous consent to fix a typo in their regulatory freeze bill will hit a brick wall in the form of Rep. Steny Hoyer.

"I'm not going to give unanimous consent," Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, said Wednesday during a breakfast in Washington sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

"You know, I'm astounded by this — absolutely dumbfounded," Hoyer quipped, "because I know the Republicans read the bills."

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Sponsored by Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), the GOP proposal is intended to prevent federal agencies from adopting significant new regulations before the nation's unemployment rate drops to 6 percent or below. The current rate is 8.2 percent.

But the bill was mistakenly written to say the new regulations can be adopted only after the employment rate is 6 percent or lower — meaning the nation's jobless rate would have to hit 94 percent before agencies could issue new rules.

The House is scheduled to vote on the proposal Thursday, and GOP leaders hope to fix the error with Democrats' support before then.

"All we've got is a minor clerical error in the committee print and it is our desire to fix it by unanimous consent," said Doug Andres, a GOP staffer on the House Rules Committee. "We hope the Democrats will cooperate."

But Hoyer said that’s not happening.

"I don't think we're going to give unanimous consent," Hoyer said. 

He added, "My, my, my, how carefully they read that bill."

The "read-the-bill" reference is to a frequent GOP attack line — made popular during the healthcare reform debate — that Democrats forced legislation through Congress without giving lawmakers the time to peruse the text. Republicans, from leadership on down, vowed to read all the proposals they brought to the floor after they won the House majority in 2010.

While Griffin's proposal has no chance of passing the Democratically controlled Senate, it highlights the Republicans' longstanding argument that federal regulations are strangling businesses and killing jobs. Thursday's vote gives them more ammunition with which to hammer Democrats when they return to their districts for next month's five-week recess.