House passes 'force of law' budget bill

April 1, 2011 at 6:04 PM

WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) -- The GOP-led U.S. House Friday narrowly passed a "force of law" bill that would make an earlier spending bill law without Senate or White House action.

The House passed H.R. 1255, the Government Shutdown Prevention Act, in the face of mockery and derision from both sides of the aisle, The Hill reported.

The act would make the House-passed fiscal year 2011 spending bill, which included $61 billion in cuts to the federal budget, law if the Senate fails to pass its own legislation by April 6.

But Democrats mocked the GOP effort, saying it displayed a shocking lack of understanding for how the U.S. government and its Constitution work.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., offered Republicans a copy of a children's book titled, "How our Laws are Made," while Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., brought a copy of "House Mouse, Senate Mouse" to the House floor to illustrate the process of how a bill becomes a law in this country.

"What you see on the floor today is no example of Democracy in action," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. "It's silly. The Republican leadership is asking its members to make a silly vote."

"April Fools, America," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., added. "This is a joke, America. This is not real, America."

Disbelief was not limited to the Democrats, however, as the bill passed by a vote of 221-202 -- including 15 "no's" from Republicans.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, took the floor to say the bill "violates my conscious and the Constitution, and I cannot vote for it."

Republicans argued the bill was meant to highlight Senate inaction.

"What we're trying to do with this resolution today is get our business done," said Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., the Los Angeles Times reported.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said a shutdown "looms ever larger" because of the Senate's failure to pass a bill.

H.R. 1255 also would cut off the paychecks for lawmakers in the event of a government shutdown, a less controversial provision already passed by the Senate.

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