What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Protecting Rights of Congressional Minorities : H. Res. 253. Abortion/Vote to Table (Kill) Resolution to Change Republican-Drafted Language Describing Democratic Amendments to an Abortion-Related Bill. (2005 house Roll Call 151)
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H. Res. 253. Abortion/Vote to Table (Kill) Resolution to Change Republican-Drafted Language Describing Democratic Amendments to an Abortion-Related Bill.
house Roll Call 151     May 03, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House passed a motion to table (kill) a resolution that would have condemned and ordered changes to Republican-drafted language describing several Democratic amendments to an abortion-related bill. The language in question was contained in a committee report (the report accompanying the version of a bill that emerges from a committee's consideration of it; the majority–at this time, the Republicans–generally drafts the report) for H.R. 748, a bill to prohibit anyone from transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of avoiding state parental consent or notification laws to seek an abortion. Though the House had already passed H.R. 748 the previous week, Democrats, including Progressives, were still furious over the Republican characterization of their amendments to exempt certain groups of people–such as a members of the clergy, taxi and bus drivers and a minor's grandparents–from prosecution under the bill. Republican report language described these amendments as exempting "sexual predators from prosecution." Democrats cried foul, noting that "descriptions this pejorative are not only inappropriate; they are without precedent." (John Conyers (D-MI).) Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), author of one of the disputed amendments, stated: "The fact is in the entire debate over that amendment, in fact, in the entire debate over all of the amendments . . . no one, no one in the majority, no one in the minority mentioned the words 'sexual predators.' No one in the committee debate said this amendment might protect sexual predators. It did not occur to anybody. So on that level the report is dishonest, and the chairman or whoever else had anything to do with it owes this body an apology." Republicans stood behind the report language, arguing, "[t]he amendments offered by the minority would have created those blanket exclusions for certain large classes of people who are not a minor's parents," and that if anyone in that category was also a sexual offender, he or she would be immune from prosecution. (James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).) The House defeated the Progressive position and voted 220 to 196, along straight party lines, to table or kill the resolution. Thus, report language was allowed to stand which Democrats alleged mischaracterized several Democratic amendments to H.R. 748 as exempting sexual predators from prosecution under that bill.

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