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Monday, July 28, 2008
CNS Lacks Context in Fighting GOP Obstruction Accusations

A July 28 article by Josiah Ryan goes the one-sided in citing two Republican congressmen "dismissed Democratic claims of obstructionism and expressed outrage last week over a government report that shows the majority of bills that have passed in the Democrat-controlled Senate of the 110th Congress have done so without any debate or even a vote." The source for this claim, according to Ryan, is "a non-partisan study released on June 10 by the government’s Congressional Research Service (CRS), which indicates that 855 of the 911 bills passed by the Senate of the 110th Congress have been streamlined by Democratic Party leadership with a procedural tactic known as Unanimous Consent (UC), which requires no debate or even a vote."

But Ryan offers no link to the study itself, nor does he report what the unanimous-consent rate has been in previous Republican-controlled Congresses to demonstrate that the current Congress' rate is somehow different (we suspect it's not). Ryan also fails to note that during those Republican Congresses, Republicans and allied groups regularly accused Democrats of obstructionism -- as CNS itself reported. A May 2005 CNS article, for instance, noted that the Republican National Committee kept an "obstructionist forecast" on Democrats.

While Ryan does quote the press secretary of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the quotes are taken from a month-old article in The Hill, while the Republican congressmen, Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint, are desribed as speaking at a press conference last week (despite the article carrying an "On the Spot" tag, the name CNS uses for its ambush interviews of congressmen on the sidewalk outside the Capitol); Ryan also interviewed a conservative Heritage Foundation spokesman for the article. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 28, 2008 4:02 PM EDT

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