Republicans are off to a rough start after taking control of the House of Representatives Wednesday.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted Thursday that the party had only been in power for some 33 hours when they had already made, by her count, at least eight serious missteps.
“Their initial pledges to the American people have turned out to be kind of a mess,” she said.
As one of their first acts, Republicans decided to read the Constitution on the House floor Thursday, but purposefully left out some of the more embarrassing passages.
For example, the three-fifths compromise that counted slaves as part of a person was nullified by the 13th Amendment, and so it wasn’t included in the reading. The 18th Amendment, which imposed prohibition on alcohol, was omitted.
In addition, Article 4 Section 4 was accidentally left out of the reading because pages in a three-ring binder “simply stuck together.”
In their “Pledge to America,” Republicans said they would cut $100 billion from the budget in the first year, but have recently backed away from that number. Homeland Security Committee chair Peter King (R-NY) is looking at cutting $50 billion, and a GOP aide told The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman that the bottom line is more like $30 billion.
While the Democrats were in power, Republicans complained that the open rules process — allowing unlimited amendments and debate — wasn’t used. Politico observed Thursday that “[n]one of the bills that will be brought to the floor this week will be brought under open rules.”
Republicans adopted a new rule called cut-as-you-go that requires all legislation that will increase the deficit to be offset with spending cuts. The Congressional Budget Office has said that one of the Republicans’ first initiatives, repealing health care reform, would add $230 billion to the to the national debt over ten years.
Party leadership has solved this problem by exempting repeal of health care reform from the rules.
The GOP promised that all committee attendance would be publicly posted. They reversed that rule Tuesday.
In their Pledge to America, Republicans promised that all bills would be justified with a citation of the Constitution.
“The three bills that Republicans plan to introduce this week — one to cut the congressional budget, one to repeal the health care bill and another to instruct House committees to present new health care legislation — were posted on the Rules Committee website with plenty of time for review, but none had the constitutional citation for similar review,” Politico reported.
“The Republican Party has wrapped itself in the Constitution at every turn for political purposes,” Maddow continued. “They’ve outdone themselves on this matter.”
Two House Republicans skipped out on the swearing-in ceremony on the House floor Wednesday. The Huffington Post reported that Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) decided to attend a fundraiser instead.
The two tried to claim they had been properly sworn in because they had raised their hands while watching the swearing in on television. Sessions and Fitzpatrick went on to cast votes in the House. Sessions even presided over the Rules Committee.
“Dude, you can’t get sworn in by a TV,” Maddow explained. “You have to be there in person. If you could become a congressman by raising your hand at the TV, everyone simultaneously watching C-SPAN yesterday and reaching for something on a high shelf or waving to a friend would be a congressman right now.”
“These are self-inflicted things,” she added. “Republicans carefully laid out these rakes on the floor inside the front door. They’ve been stepping on them one after the other since they got in.”
This video is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Jan. 7, 2011.