A picture of Representative Jerrold Nadler
Jerrold N.
Democrat NY 10

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  • Rules of the House

    by Representative Jerrold Nadler

    Posted on 2013-01-03

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    NADLER. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this rules package and, in particular, to one specific provision that places the House on the wrong side of history and misrepresents the position of this House and its Members.

    Section 4 of the resolution continues to authorize the expenditure of taxpayers' money to defend, in court, the unconstitutional and discriminatory so-called ``Defense of Marriage Act.'' It goes further to state that this partisan effort ``speaks for and articulates the institutional positions of the House.'' That is simply not true. The original decision to defend DOMA was taken by a party-line vote of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, and all further decisions have been taken by the Republican leadership alone, some in secret.

    So far, the Republican leadership has authorized the expenditure of $2 million of taxpayers' money to defend this discriminatory law. This defense is not supported by the entire House. 145 Members of the House have signed a brief arguing that DOMA should be declared unconstitutional and struck down. So far, every court that decided this question has agreed that DOMA is unconstitutional.

    We have repeatedly asked the Speaker for a briefing from the lawyers retained by the Republican majority. The Speaker hasn't even seen fit to give us the courtesy of a response. If these high-priced lawyers really represent the House, they should at least have the courtesy to meet with their alleged clients to answer questions about that representation.

    The time has come to call a halt to this farce. At the very least, the rules should reflect the reality that the House is deeply divided on the question and that the outside lawyers acting at Speaker Boehner's direction do not speak for the institution as a whole.

    I urge my colleagues to vote against this rules package.

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