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GOP Silences Stupak

He sat in silence for 165 minutes, waiting patiently for the chance to question oil industry executives during a Tuesday hearing of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

But Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak (D) never got the opportunity. That’s because the committee’s top Republican, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (Wis.) objected when Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) asked the committee for “unanimous consent” to allow Stupak to ask a few questions at the end of the hearing. Stupak is not a member of the committee, and Sensenbrenner invoked a House rule dictating that non-members can attend hearings but can’t participate.

Markey pointed out that the purpose of the unanimous consent vote was to waive the non-participation rule.

“Under House custom, any rule can be waived by UC,” Markey pleaded.

But Sensenbrenner was having none of it, contending a waiver can come only from the full House, through the Rules Committee.

For Markey, there was nothing left to do but apologize to an angry Stupak.

“No apology necessary,” Stupak replied. “What goes around comes around.”

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