Pelosi Says Bypassing Committee A "nonissue"

If the GOP had any hopes that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was going to give in to Republican demands for committee debate on the latest Iraq bill, they were crushed Tuesday afternoon.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) was asked at a press conference about Republican protests over a plan to bypass the powerful Appropriations Committee and take the Iraq war spending bill straight to the House floor. She did not even leave open the possibility that there would be a markup, and she dismissed GOP complaints.

"It's absolutely a nonissue," Pelosi told reporters this afternoon. "And it's disingenuous of Republicans to say anything."

Republicans correctly point out that that none of the Iraq supplemental spending bills bypassed committee while the House was under GOP control, but Democrats contend that Republicans have been involved in behind-the-scenes discussions on the current legislation. And the GOP also points out that Pelosi said she would hold regular committee markups as a campaign promise in 2006.

As Rules Committee GOP spokeswoman Jo Maney told Politico on Monday, the maneuvers hurt the Democrats' credibility: "You said you were going to do something and you didn't. They are using process for political objectives."

To express their displeasure with Pelosi, Republicans have spent a good chunk of today forcing procedural votes. Yet they don't have the votes to stop the Democratic version of the Iraq bill from flying through the House later this week.