LA Times, AP reported Boehner comment that Dems refused to "work with" GOP on detainee bill, ignored 15 blocked Dem amendments

››› ››› JOSH KALVEN

The Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press reported House Majority Leader John Boehner's suggestion that Democratic opponents of the GOP-backed detainee legislation were refusing to "work with Republicans." Neither outlet noted that Democrats had offered 15 amendments to the bill that were barred from consideration by the Republican-led House Rules Committee.

In September 28 articles on the House's passage of a Republican bill governing the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of terrorism suspects, the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press reported House Majority Leader John Boehner's (R-OH) suggestion that Democratic opponents of the measure were refusing to "work with Republicans to give the president the tools he needs to continue to stop terrorist attacks." But neither outlet noted that Democrats had offered 15 amendments to the bill -- all of which the Republican-led House Rules Committee barred from consideration on the House floor.

On September 27, the House passed the GOP-backed Military Commissions Act of 2006 by a vote of 253-168, with 34 Democrats voting in favor and seven Republicans voting against.

In the floor debate prior to the vote, Boehner expressed hope that his "Democrat [sic] friends" would "stand together" with Republicans on the bill:

BOEHNER: [T]he question is, will my Democrat friends work with Republicans to preserve this crucial program or oppose giving the president the tools that he needs to protect the American people? Will my Democrat friends work with Republicans to give the president the tools he needs to continue to stop terrorist attacks before they happen, or will they vote to force him to fight the terrorists with one arm tied behind his back?

Now, I do not, and will never, question the integrity or the patriotism of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. This is about giving our president the tools he needs to wage war against terrorists who are trying to kill us. And I hope that we will stand together this week and vote to give our president the tools that we need to fight and win in our war against terrorists all over the world.

But as Washington Post staff writer Dana Milbank reported in his September 28 "Washington Sketch" column, far from attempting to "work with" their fellow Democrats, the House Rules Committee -- chaired by Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) -- had on September 26 "ruled that the House would not consider some 15 amendments the Democrats had proposed to legislation on military commissions." Both the Post and New York Times articles on the passage of the bill also noted that Democrats had been "prevented from offering any amendments" -- including one "that would have extended the habeas corpus right to detainees."

In a September 28 article on the House's approval of the bill, however, Los Angeles Times staff writers Richard Simon and Julian E. Barnes quoted Boehner's "challenge[]," but did not note that the GOP leadership had blocked 15 Democratic amendments:

Previewing GOP plans to use the tribunal measure in the campaign, House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) challenged Democrats on Wednesday to vote against it. "Will my Democrat friends work with Republicans to give the president the tools he needs to continue to stop terrorist attacks before they happen -- or will they again vote to force him to fight the terrorists with one arm tied behind his back?" he asked.

The September 28 article by AP writer Anne Plummer Flaherty also quoted Boehner's comments without noting the fate of the Democratic amendments:

House majority leader John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, all but dared Democrats to vote against the legislation.

"Will my Democrat friends work with Republicans to give the president the tools he needs to continue to stop terrorist attacks before they happen, or will they vote to force him to fight the terrorists with one arm tied behind his back?" he said just before members cast their ballots.

Posted In
Government, The Senate
Network/Outlet
Los Angeles Times, Associated Press
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