Jonathan Chait

Life Imitates The Simpsons

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Today's action on the House floor:

House Democrats had to scrap their only substantive bill of the week Thursday after Republicans won a procedural vote that substantively altered the legislation with an anti-porn clause.

Democrats had labeled their COMPETES Act -- a bill to increase investments in science, research and training programs -- as their latest jobs bill. It was the only non-suspension bill Democrats brought up all week.

But the Republican motion to recommit the bill -- a parliamentary tactic that gives the minority one final chance to amend legislation -- contained language prohibiting federal funds from going "to salaries to those officially disciplined for violations regarding the viewing, downloading, or exchanging of pornography, including child pornography, on a federal computer or while performing official government duties."

That provision scared dozens of Democrats into voting with Republicans to approve the motion to recommit.

The Simpsons, 1995:

Kent Brockman: With our utter annihilation imminent, our federal government has snapped into action. We go live now via satellite to the floor of the United States congress.

Speaker: Then it is unanimous, we are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of --

Congressman: Wait a minute, I want to tack on a rider to that bill: $30 million of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.

Speaker: All in favor of the amended Springfield-slash-pervert bill?

[everyone boos]

Speaker: Bill defeated. [bangs gavel]

Kent Brockman: I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work., beginning at 12:45

Video clip here

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