What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Equal Access to Justice : H. Res. 213. Ethics/Vote on Motion to Table (Kill) Resolution to Form a Bipartisan Task Force to Consider House Ethics Rules. (2005 house Roll Call 106)
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H. Res. 213. Ethics/Vote on Motion to Table (Kill) Resolution to Form a Bipartisan Task Force to Consider House Ethics Rules.
house Roll Call 106     Apr 14, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House approved a motion made by James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) to table (kill) a motion brought by Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Pelosi's motion requested that the Speaker of the House form "a bi-partisan task force with equal representation of the majority and minority parties to make recommendations to restore public confidence in the ethics process." Pelosi's motion followed Democrats' actions effectively to prevent the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the House committee with oversight over internal ethics issues) from forming due to strong objections concerning changes in the House ethics rules made earlier in 2005. At that time and as part of the process Congress goes through every two years to re-adopt the rules that will govern all of its work, Democrats had condemned the Republican-drafted ethics provisions of the proposed House rules, saying that those ethics provisions would "destroy" the House ethics process. (Louise Slaughter (D-NY).) Specifically, they had condemned a change in the operation of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. Under previous rules, if the Committee, which is evenly divided between the parties, had deadlocked on an ethics complaint, the complaint would have automatically proceeded to investigators. In the new rules for this 109th Congress (each two-year period beginning in January following congressional elections the previous November is considered a "Congress"), this procedure was changed so that a complaint that deadlocked the committee was permitted simply to die. In addition, Congress eliminated the requirement that the Committee act on complaints within 45 days. Democrats had then argued that these changes would effectively grant the Republicans veto power over who might or might not be subject to an ethics investigation and would permit Republicans simply to ignore complaints by "running out the clock." Republicans had countered that its entire package of rules would uphold a very high ethics standard for the House, and that these changes would guarantee due process (procedures to safeguard the rights of someone accused of wrongdoing) and "restore the presumption of innocence" to members against whom ethics complaints have been filed. The House voted 218 to 195, nearly along straight party lines, to defeat Progressives and table or kill Pelosi's motion. Thus, the impasse in the ethics committee continued, hampering any attempts to settle internal, ethics-related disputes and continuing the standoff on congressional ethics.

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