Democrats Pull Bill Over Parental Consent

Posted June 24, 2008 at 6:53pm

House Democratic leaders on Tuesday abruptly pulled a bill dealing with child abuse in residential treatment programs after Republicans put Democrats on the spot on the issue of contraception. Republicans sought a vote requiring parental consent before giving new prescription medications, including contraception. The bill appeared on its way to passage until Republicans unveiled a motion to recommit seeking the parental consent change. Shortly afterward, the bill was pulled. Prior to a bill’s passage, Republicans regularly are allowed one shot at making a change to a bill via the motion to recommit. Under this procedural motion, Democrats typically either have the votes to block making the change or simply agree to the change. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said rank-and-file Democrats were prepared to join with Republicans on Tuesday in adopting the parental consent provision, but that “Democratic leadership thwarted their will” by pulling the bill. But House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.), the bill’s sponsor, said he pulled the measure because Democrats “just want to take a look” at what exactly the parental consent proposal would do. The tricky part about motions to recommit, Miller said, is that the minority is not required to give any notice or details regarding what they are seeking to change in a bill. “You just get blindsided,” he said. “I didn’t feel comfortable asking people to vote for it. The only alternative is to pull it.” Without knowing details on the plan forward, Miller said the bill will likely resurface again on the floor once Members have had a chance to examine the parental consent change.