A bill of rights for the beleaguered GOP?

Republicans in Congress suddenly find an interest in preserving minority rights.

By Tim Grieve
Published January 2, 2007 6:25PM (EST)

When Nancy Pelosi proposed a "bill of rights" for members of Congress who find themselves in the minority party, aides to Dennis Hastert said he wouldn't even bother to respond.

That was in 2004, when the Republicans held the majority in the House and were acting like they'd never lose it. Now it's 2007, the Democrats are taking control of the House, and three Republicans are proposing ... a "bill of rights" for members of Congress who find themselves in the minority party.

Talking Points Memo has the Republicans' proposal. It is, they say, "identical in both letter and spirit" to the proposal Pelosi made back in 2004. Among the provisions: Bills get to the House floor only after full subcommittee and committee consideration; members should generally have the opportunity to offer amendments and engage in debate; and members should be given at least 24 hours to study bills and conference reports before they come up for a floor vote.

Pelosi said back in 2004 that "the people's business would be well served" if Congress followed the principles behind her "bill of rights" "no matter which party is in control of the House," a position she seemed to embrace again in May 2006. Republicans didn't seem to agree with her then. Should Pelosi feel honor-bound to protect their interests now?

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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