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Pelosi decries DOMA language in GOP rules

Jan. 3, 2013 at 1:16 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. House Democratic leaders urged defeat of the chamber's rules, in part because they reauthorized use of public funds to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

"Today, House Republicans will send a clear message to LGBT families: their fiscal responsibility mantra does not extend to their efforts to stand firmly on the wrong side of the future," Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement released by her office before the rules were considered.

"Republicans will take the extraordinary measure of including an authorization of their efforts to defend DOMA in the Rules of the House of Representatives and by doing so, continue to spend taxpayer funds, already adding up to $1.7 million, in their attempts to defend this shameful law in federal courts and the Supreme Court."

She also said the language in the proposed rules includes "an explicit acknowledgement that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group 'continues to speak for, and articulate the institutional position of, the House in all litigation matters in which it appears,'" even though Democrats have said the advisory group doesn't represent all members.

"[We] will continue to oppose this wasteful use of taxpayer funds to defend DOMA," the California Democrat said.

House GOP leaders have been defending DOMA in court since February 2011, when Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama administration would no longer do so because it found the law to be unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court announced last month it accepted a case, Windsor v. United States, in which the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that found a section of DOMA unconstitutional.

The Democratic Whip's office sent an email urging caucus members to vote against the house rules package up for adoption Thursday, the first day of the 113th Congress.

The proposed rules also includes language to allow the House to maintain its pursue litigation to enforce a subpoena against Holder related to the failed "Fast and Furious" gunrunning operation.

"Members are urged to vote no on the Republican Rules Package," the email from the whip's office said.

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