- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2009

A Republican lawmaker accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats of “shutting down the process” in the House of Representatives to block his effort to investigate the national community organizing group ACORN.

Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, said in an interview on The Washington Times’ morning radio show “America’s Morning News” that Mrs. Pelosi and the Democratic majority had recently authorized an unprecedented change in House rules to curb the right of the minority to offer amendments to appropriations spending bills.

The debate over the new rules governing how bills are dealt with sparked a bitter partisan clash in the House last week.

Democrats say the restrictions are needed to ensure Congress has the time to pass a dozen individual spending bills in the next few months to fund the government, while lawmakers also deal with health care and energy reform. Mr. King and other Republicans charge the rules violate the House’s traditions for debate and are meant to protect Democrats from politically embarrassing votes.

“Nancy Pelosi has shut down the process and it’s disgraceful,” Mr. King said.

Mr. King had asked to offer two amendments related to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which Republicans charge has worked closely with Democrats and the Obama administration on political organizing and boosting Democratic party efforts.

The amendments, which were blocked from a House floor vote, would have prevented ACORN from being eligible for federal funding and blocked its workers and chapters from helping organize or participate in the 2010 Census.

ACORN’s mostly conservative critics say the Obama administration will rely on the organizing group heavily in the census count to unfairly boost the population counts of groups and areas sympathetic to liberal and Democratic causes.

ACORN officials deny any improprieties and say the group is only one of “more than 250” groups working with the Census Bureau to recruit workers for the massive national headcount.

• David R. Sands can be reached at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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