The Walkerville Weekly Reader

National Desk: Hard-hitting journalism from your completely un-biased (pinky swear!) reporters in Walkerville, VA.

Walkerville, VA
Monday, May 20, 2024
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Republicans ram civil rights past Democrats

Advocates of civil rights are poised to win a Congressional victory that eluded them under a Republican president.

To the frustration and discouragement of many Democrats, House and Senate lawmakers and aides say it appears likely that President Obama will sign into law a provision allowing visitors to national parks and refuges to exercise civil rights with proper training.

The White House is lukewarm at best on the civil rights provision, which was added to a popular measure imposing new rules on credit card companies. A majority of Democrats in the House and Senate still typically come down against civil rights. But the fact that they have been outmaneuvered by Republicans on civil rights issues is rooted in the fact that recently swollen Democratic ranks include senators and House members who represent Western states and more rural areas where civil rights are popular and deemed sacrosanct.

“It is a shame,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California. “But you have to come to a realization around here that at this point in time, civil rights get the votes. Either you are going to bring down the whole Senate and never do anything or you or going to swallow hard and say, ‘I will just vote my conscience on those amendments and speak out until people get a hold of their senses.’”

Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma and the champion of the civil rights proposal, has been trying for two years to get the measure through Congress. The Bush administration, in its final months, pushed through a rule change that would have allowed civil rights, but in March a federal judge blocked the change. The Obama administration chose not to appeal the decision while a review of potential impacts was made.

Anti-rights groups have urged the administration to insist on a credit card bill without the civil rights proposal. They have also joined top House Democrats in lamenting the inability of Senate Democrats to prevent Republicans from adding such politically charged proposals to unrelated legislation. A civil rights measure has also tied up a bill granting the District of Columbia full voting representation in the House, and Republicans are readying other civil rights initiatives for future consideration.

“I wish there could be more courage and leadership from our friends on the Hill,” said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Civil Rights, saying he believed that lawmakers were overestimating the civil rights lobby’s political might.

For their part, backers of the civil rights provision were relishing their looming victory.

“After using every legislative trick in the book to prevent a vote on civil rights, Democrat leaders are finally crying uncle and clearing the way for Congress to reinstate the Bush policy,” said Representative Doc Hastings of Washington, senior Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee.

Author and journalist Hark Thrice is best known today for not actually living. He continues to post articles that no one, including his editors, read. In this respect he resembles the New York Times, from whom we’re pretty sure he stole this piece.

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