Thursday, February 17, 2011

Profiles In Cowardice: Congressmen Skip Vote On GOP Proposal They Called Unconstitutional


Last week, GOP Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) claimed that a GOP-backed tort reform proposal violates the Tenth Amendment. Yet, when given the opportunity to show the courage of their convictions and vote against a key GOP priority that they believe is unconstitutional, Poe and Gohmert were suddenly nowhere to be found:

Texans Louie Gohmert and Ted Poe, were noticeably absent from the room when the panel rejected two amendments by Hank Johnson (D-Ga) aimed at striking provisions that would pre-empt state medical malpractice laws or constitutional provisions.

Poe and Gohmert had raised concerns about those provisions when the markup began Feb. 9, saying they doubted the federal government has the power to do that under the Commerce Clause, and they wanted to make sure the bill doesn’t violate states’ rights under the 10th Amendment. Despite their concerns, both voted to send the bill to the full House.

Poe said he had stepped out of the committee room to meet with constituents and had “other meetings” when the vote was taken. Gohmert could not be reached for comment.

Of course, Poe and Gohmert have had no trouble casting votes that support their absurd belief that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. Yet when given the chance to either upset their tenther supporters or oppose an important GOP priority, Poe and Gohmert decided they would rather cower in a corner.

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