GOP Charges Dems With Censorship Over Sign

House Republicans suggested Thursday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is standing in the way of Republicans who want to send constituents a chart that is in the official record of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The chart, recently submitted for the record during a Ways and Means hearing on the Democrats' health care reform bill, shows the Republican interpretation of the Democrats' proposed legislation. The Franking Commission, which is responsible for determining which mailings can be paid for with the congressional frank, or stamp, deemed the mailing unacceptable.

Republican members are scratching their heads at the ruling.

The chart is "part of the official record and now we're told it can't be communicated," said Republican Rep. Dan Lungren of California.

He suggested that the decision to prevent the publication of the chart came from someone higher than the House mail office, perhaps even as high as the speaker's office.

"I've been told it was above the Franking Commission and our committee. This is not accidental," Lungren said.

A spokesman for the House Administration Committee, which has oversight of the House Franking Commission, did not respond to the accusation against Pelosi, but said, "There are ongoing discussions to try and resolve the issue in good faith."

The author of the chart, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, alleged that Democrats are afraid of the purported visual representation of their reform plan.

"This is the most outrageous example of censorship I have seen in Congress," he said.
Lungren said Republicans were told they would be allowed to mail the chart if they added a disclosure at the top that states the chart "might be inaccurate."

"I would agree to that if it said that on the speaker's rostrum," he said.