Minority Blues: House Dems Struggle to Hold Health Care “Hearing”

By Cullen Dirner

Jan 18, 2011 2:18pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe & Robin Gradison report:

Life in the minority ain’t easy.

Only a few weeks ago Democrats ran the House of Representatives, but today their hearing on the hazards of repealing the new health care law started off with a comedy of errors.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi seemed to anticipate some sort of grand beginning to today’s session, but then realized she should just kick off the festivities herself. Rep. Steny Hoyer spoke for a few minutes before realizing that his microphone was not on. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-TX, also had mic issues. The name plaque for one witness was upside down.

Since the majority party controls committees and hearings, today’s session was technically not even a hearing, but more like a meeting of the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee that took place in the bowels of the Capitol in the Visitors Center, far from the ornate hearing rooms on the Hill.

While the Democrats’ transition to the minority might not be that smooth, the same could be said for the GOP’s ascension to the majority.

In their first week in power earlier this month, House Republicans made a slew of mis-steps. They broke a number of their own rules with the health care reform bill, bringing it up without any committee action or any chance for minority amendments. They proceeded with their repeal push even though the Congressional Budget Office said the repeal would cost hundreds of billions of dollars. They started to walk back their pledge to slash $100 billion in spending from the federal budget. And two GOP lawmakers neglected to get sworn in properly on the House floor, instead raising their right hand in front of television. Ultimately their votes had to be stricken from the record until they could be officially sworn in the next day.

What a difference a few weeks make.

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