At least 10 Republican Senators have failed to add their names as co-sponsors of a resolution passed on June 14 that apologizes for past failures to pass anti-lynching laws.
The senators are Michael Crapo of Idaho, Thad Cochran and Trent Lott of Mississippi, John Sununu of New Hampshire, George Voinovich of Ohio, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Michael Enzi and Craig Thomas of Wyoming.
Can anyone explain the reluctance to add one’s name to the resolution? Requests from various journalists to determine the motives behind this band of hold-outs — especially the two Mississippi Senators — have thus far been met with silence.
And while you’re scratching your head wondering why a list of predominantly conservative Republicans wouldn’t want to be on the record as apologizing for past Senate failures, here’s something else to think about.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) refused repeated requests for a roll call vote on the resolution, instead forcing a voice vote procedure that did not require any senator’s presence. Then his spokesman apparently lied about Frist’s reasoning for the decision.
The group that was the driving force behind the resolution had asked Frist for a formal procedure that would have required all 100 senators to vote. And the group had asked that the debate take place during “business hours” during the week, instead of Monday evening, when most senators were traveling back to the capital. Instead, Frist had the resolution adopted under what is called “unanimous consent,” whereby it is adopted as long as no senator expresses opposition.
Bob Stevenson, Frist’s chief spokesman, said Tuesday evening the procedure the majority leader established was “requested by the sponsors.”
The chief sponsors of the resolution, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and George Allen (R-VA), disputed that assertion.
Allen press secretary David Snepp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “I don’t know why Bob Stevenson would characterize it that way.” Snepp said Allen had insisted that he preferred a roll call vote.
Landrieu said Monday before the resolution was adopted she would have preferred a roll call vote but had to accept the conditions set by Frist.
When Stevenson was informed of Landrieu’s statement, he changed his story, but his new version didn’t mesh with statements from the Landrieu or Allen camps. “At least one of the sponsors” had requested adoption on a voice vote, Stevenson told the Journal-Constitution.
Jan Cohen, the wife of former Defense Secretary William Cohen and one of the key figures in the Committee for a Formal Apology, expressed outrage over the lack of a roll call vote.
“America is home of the brave, but I’m afraid there may be a few cowards who have to cower to their very narrow-minded and backward, hateful constituency,” Cohen told ABC News.
This article first appeared on Journalists Against Bush’s B.S. (JABBS)Powered by Sidelines