Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Pombo breaks House Rules

Richard Pombo broke House Rules by allowing 2 "detailees" from the Executive Branch (DoI) to work on his sub-committee for a full year past their maximum allowable time limit. At the time, Pombo was pursuing 2 provisions to the budget-reconciliation bill which were eventually stripped before the bill passed:

Provision 1: Pay states to allow oil and gas companies to destroy their coasts
One controversial provision would have given states revenue-sharing incentives for opting out of the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf

Provision 2: Giveaway federal lands to private interests
The second [provision] would have amended mining law to allow federal lands to be sold to support the sustainable development of dying mining towns.

Aside from the devastaing effects these policies would have on our country, there are two things to note here:

First, this is yet another instance where Pombo exhibits his complete disregard for House Rules. The Rules say:
The Committees' Congressional Handbook states that “detailing agreements may not exceed a 12-month period, or the end of a Congress, whichever occurs first.”

Interestingly, Pombo is trying to hide behind Bob Ney (R - Ohio) who was ostensibly named in the Jack Abramoff indictment for taking bribes.
Before Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) stepped down as chairman of the Committee on House Administration because of his link to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, he signed letters giving [Pombo's detailees] permission to serve beyond the time limit set by House rules.

Second, Pombo's actions are part of a national theme where we've seen single party rule erode the checks and balances between each Branch of Government. Serious conflicts of interest arise when such cross branch coziness occurs. Hence the need for the rule Pombo decided to break.


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