Do-Nothing GOP Congress Refuses to Work: DesJarlais Gavels Down Minutes-Long Pro-Forma Session

On the House Floor today, Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais, who served as Speaker Pro Tem, gaveled down the minutes-long pro forma session “…at the behest of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).”

Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), attempting to urge the Republican Congress to address the major issues of middle class Americans and seniors on jobs, middle class tax cuts, and avoiding the severe cuts imposed by the sequester, found a dead microphone at the lectern and was silenced by House Republicans:

“As soon as the pledge of allegiance was done, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) asked to be recognized to argue in favor of reconvening the House to work on issues such as jobs and taxes. When McGovern started to ask to speak by saying ‘Mr. Speaker,’ DesJarlias interrupted and gaveled the House closed, and quickly walked out of the chamber.” [The Hill, 10/12]

The House GOP recessed for seven weeks after working only eight days between August 3 and November 13, the earliest Congress recessed for an election in 50 years, to campaign for their jobs. Interestingly, Republicans now seem to be using the pro forma to keep their jobs as well:

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who was present to protest Congressional inaction on expiring tax rates, questioned why DesJarlais refused to recognize a parliamentary inquiry from McGovern if the Pro Tem duty was so important that DesJarlais would miss a debate. [Roll Call, 10/12]

The Republican Congressional record is clear: protect millionaires, Big Oil, and themselves at the expense of seniors and the middle class. House Democrats stand ready to act with real solutions to the issues facing the American people – creating jobs, extending middle class tax cuts, passing the bipartisan Farm bill, reauthorizing the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act, and acting to prevent the fiscal cliff that is only 81 days away. It’s time for this Do-Nothing Congress to get back to work.

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