Thursday, June 16, 2005

Handful of Republican Senators Haven't Co-Signed Resolution Apologizing For Past Failure To Pass Anti-Lynching Law

At least 10 Republican Senators have failed to add their names as co-sponsors of a resolution passed on June 14 that apologizes for past failures to pass anti-lynching laws.

The senators are Michael Crapo of Idaho, Thad Cochran and Trent Lott of Mississippi, John Sununu of New Hampshire, George Voinovich of Ohio, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Michael Enzi and Craig Thomas of Wyoming.

Can anyone explain the reluctance to add one's name to the resolution? Requests from various journalists to determine the motives behind this band of hold-outs -- especially the two Mississippi Senators -- have thus far been met with silence.


And while you're scratching your head wondering why a list of predominantly conservative Republicans wouldn't want to be on the record as apologizing for past Senate failures, here's something else to think about.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) refused repeated requests for a roll call vote on the resolution, instead forcing a voice vote procedure that did not require any senator's presence. Then his spokesman apparently lied about Frist's reasoning for the decision.

The group that was the driving force behind the resolution had asked Frist for a formal procedure that would have required all 100 senators to vote. And the group had asked that the debate take place during "business hours" during the week, instead of Monday evening, when most senators were traveling back to the capital. Instead, Frist had the resolution adopted under what is called "unanimous consent," whereby it is adopted as long as no senator expresses opposition.


Bob Stevenson, Frist's chief spokesman, said Tuesday evening the procedure the majority leader established was "requested by the sponsors."

The chief sponsors of the resolution, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and George Allen (R-VA), disputed that assertion.

Allen press secretary David Snepp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "I don't know why Bob Stevenson would characterize it that way." Snepp said Allen had insisted that he preferred a roll call vote.

Landrieu said Monday before the resolution was adopted she would have preferred a roll call vote but had to accept the conditions set by Frist.

When Stevenson was informed of Landrieu's statement, he changed his story, but his new version didn't mesh with statements from the Landrieu or Allen camps. "At least one of the sponsors" had requested adoption on a voice vote, Stevenson told the Journal-Constitution.

Jan Cohen, the wife of former Defense Secretary William Cohen and one of the key figures in the Committee for a Formal Apology, expressed outrage over the lack of a roll call vote.

"America is home of the brave, but I'm afraid there may be a few cowards who have to cower to their very narrow-minded and backward, hateful constituency," Cohen told ABC News.


Blogger Dave Nalle said...

Here's a hint. It's an apology for Democrats who filibustered civil rights legislation. I imagine these Republicans feel that since their party supported the legislation they have nothing to apologize for.


10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, let me see here, just because somebody does not add their name to a resolution, you are equating that with not supporting the resolution? Give me a break. This is nothing other than an attempt to smear some Republicans by playing the race card.

Apparently Sen. Frist's spokesman was wrong in his statements.

Since nobody objected to the unanimous consent order, it is assumed that everybody agreed with it. Had one person objected to it, it would have then required a vote. Having a roll call vote would not have changed anything.

This whole thing was political theatre. The Senate was apologizing for something done over 35 years ago in their chamber. Frankly, what struck me as the most remarkable thing was that the whole apology resolution did not even mention that the anti-lynching laws was FILIBUSTERED by the Democrats.

I suppose that the left will use any potential opportunity to blame some imagined ill on the Republicans, but on this issue, the Democrats are the ones with unclean hands.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that you only point out the Republican Senators, and fail to note that there were Democratic Senators that did not co-sponsor this vital piece of legislation?

Is co-sponsoring a bill now the yardstick by which our elected representatives are now to be measured ?

1:05 PM  
Anonymous joe said...

The only Senators not to co-sponsor the resolution are Republicans. JABBS didn't mention any Democrats, because there were none to mention.

It is what it is. Some might think it's meaningless, but Frist's actions are a little odd, don't you think?

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I understand it, any Senator can add their name as a co-sponsor of any resolution at any time after it has been passed, essentially making whoever "co-sponsored" the resolution meaningless.

This issue is, at best, trivial.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous joe said...

I'd agree if it was a mix of Democrats and Republicans.

You can bet that if it were 10 Democrats who were hold-outs, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would be all over it.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is this Senate apoligizing for something that they had nothing to do with? The only people that should be apologizing were the members of the Senate at that time, that utilized the filibuster to kill the anti-lynching legislation, regardless of party affiliation. I think that the Grand Kleagle should be the first one to apologize. How ironic is it that he is a "co-sponsor" of this legislation when he took an active role in the opposition ?

8:40 AM  

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