The top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce committee, Texas Rep. Joe Barton, has been threatening to force the committee clerk to read the 900-plus page bill as a way to drag out the markup of the Democrats' climate change legislation. Worried that this could jeopardize his goal of voting the bill out of committee before the Memorial Day break, Democratic Chairman Henry Waxman of California hired a speed reader, in case one was needed to publicly race through the massive bill.
Barton decided not to follow through on his threat - but he wanted to find out what a speed reader sounded like. He requested that one of the Republican amendments be read in full, and asked that the new hire take over for the full time committee clerk. Waxman obliged, and Douglas Wilder sat before the committee and began reading rapidly. He spoke so quickly it was impossible to decipher his words, as listeners began to laugh and applaud.
Barton decided he'd heard enough, and said he didn't need to finish. He then joked with Waxman, that since he went to all that trouble, "we should at least get the benefit of the gentleman's expertise." Smiling, Waxman asked Wilder to state his name and asked if he was available for hire. Wilder enthusiastically told the committee: "yes!"
Fast, efficient people have no place in government. Throw the bum out!
Republicans wasting our tax dollars, I can't believe it!
Is this bill posted somewhere for transparency? I would like to read it slowly.
How fast can he say "Blame Bush" in 1 minute?
Is anyone else but me alarmed at the circus that Congress has become? Speed readers? What is next jugglers? I really don't like America sometimes.
What's the difference? Dems don't bother to read the bills they vote for.
They just blindly follow their ideology, like lemmings .
What a lovely, gentle, bipartisan resolution of a procedural problem.
If only all differences could be worked out so jovially!!
Actually, many are worked out just so. But we don't hear about it.
The media focuses on disputes, which are more entertaining.
Gotta love it! Called their bluff, and the Republicans have to wipe another stonewall tactic from their playbook. Just one question – if they made them listen to the whole thing, would that constitute torture?
Is this stupid or what? Washington had better enjoy their circus now because next election, things WILL change. The people have the power if they will only stick together an make it happen.
Leave it to a republican to drag their feet and then at the end of it vote NO anyway.
Vote the Greedy Opposition Party out. We have a lot of work to do to clean up this mess, and we don't need any more republican crap.
Wanted to play stupid games to drag it out? The democrats had your number and made you back down with your little threat. Nice attempt to save face by redirecting your embarrassment to the speed reader.
ROFL Begala worried that republicans are going to look like obstructionists...wow! I thought James Carville was gonzo...Begala's giving him a run for his money
How must time and money did this cost the tax payers?
How much time and money did this cost the tax payers?
If the Republicans had wasted the time and money to do something like that they would be raked over the coals.
So Barton finds this all amusing? Sad. He probably thinks Cheney has a heart and a brain too.
Waxman is awesome - the ugliest toughest little congressman ever!
Hooray for Waxman, maybe the so called Cheney republicans will think, I am sorry, when did a republican think.
The next time they try to stop legislation maybe they will ask someone about the possibility of what they might do.
It is too bad the cannot get a some republicans that have grown up and act like lawmakers instead of anchors.
Great!!!! Another bill voted for without reading
Oh, come on.... what a witty little aside to the seriousness of the GOP of late.... thanks for letting us see the human side of the new irrelevant Republican Party....
now... let's see... and this should be of interest to me because.... ?????
Congresscreatures. What a bunch of juveniles. And they are OUR representatives. Just swell!
I'm glad that these clowns are having such a great time at the taxpayers expense..can you say termlimits
Well, at least this time the absurdity was funny.
What a joke the dems are. They did NOT read the stimulus bill, and now another big tax bill gets presented at the 11th hour. I bet the dems are not present for this "reading" and have not read the bill either.
Waxman is an IDIOT. Get ready for the government to institutionalize theft as they find another way into the savings of all Americans.
We don't deserve this type of "democracy".
That is the funniest thing coming out of congress in decades. I think it was extremely smart of the the Democratic Chairman Waxman to hire a speed reader. I think it was even smarter for the Republican Rep. Barton to back down after hearing this man read.