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August 04, 2008

White House: No Call To Bring Congress Back

Following up on Gabe's post from this morning, the question of whether or not the President can call Congress back is moot because the White House says it won't do it since no good will come from it.

The White House has rejected calls from House Republicans that it convene a special session of Congress on energy, saying it wouldn’t make a difference.

“We don't have plans to call Congress into session -- it won't make a difference if Democratic leaders are unwilling to bring up a bill for an up-down vote,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) asked President Bush to convene the special session in an Aug. 1 letter. The same day, House Republicans launched an unusual protest on the House floor urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to call Congress back to work.

"Since Speaker Pelosi has decided not to keep the House in session to allow this vote to take place, we urge you to use the power vested in you by the Constitution to convene an immediate energy special session of Congress,” the letter said.

...A spokesman for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said McCain supported bringing Congress back into session to address energy issues.

House aides said that while the president can declare that Congress must sit for an emergency session, he cannot set the agenda – only the leadership of the majority party can do that.

So much for a coordinated Bush-McCain strategy.

Just because the White House can't set the agenda officially doesn't mean it's without any influence, there's this little thing called the 'bully pulpit'. The sight of Democrats either doing anything other than passing drilling legislation or simply showing up and walking out would have been priceless. Sure, it would have been a political stunt. What's your point?

This White House has never really been any good at mobilizing public opinion, has it?

Of course the danger also exists that the Democrats would cave and much like credit for the surge in light of progress in Iraq, McCain's advantage might have dissipated.

Still, Maverick is the winner here. Even though nothing gets done, which is likely the same as if Congress did come back, he still gets his issue.

Meanwhile, Obama is flipping around looking for any policy that will get him on the right side of this issue, no matter how much it contradicts his previous positions.

I just realized something...the way I wrote this makes it sounds like I think Bush should have called a session. I think it would have been a bad idea because it's August and no one is paying attention and it keeps the issue alive for McCain to beat the Democrats about the head and shoulders.

The line about the White House not knowing how to rally public opinion is true, it just doesn't really apply here. Sorry I stuck in there for some reason, I'm just not sure why. Pent up frustration after 7 years perhaps?

Again, sorry about that. I'll start drinking now.

h/t The Corner

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posted by DrewM. at 03:18 PM

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