Boehner Needs Your Money to Extend Your Gay Oppression via DOMA, is Clearly Bad at Budgets

Pelosi Says WHAT THE HELL

The Republican majority House of Representatives isn’t pulling any punches as far as setting itself up in opposition to President Obama’s administration; you may remember their response to President Obama’s declaration that he would no longer have the Department of Justice defend DOMA in court, which was to suggest that the House hire its own lawyers to continue doing what the Department of Justice had deemed unconstitutional. Rep. John Boehner and his compatriot Rick Santorum haven’t backed down from that position, and now the former Speaker of the House (the position which Boehner occupies now) has some questions for them about how that’s going to work.

Republicans have been all about cutting spending, as is their custom, pressuring Democrats to abandon many social and government programs (as well as less obvious things, like collective bargaining, to questionable effect.) In light of that, Nancy Pelosi wants to know how much defending DOMA is going to cost. Boehner is apparently talking about hiring private outside lawyers, an enormously expensive proposition; their fees would be paid with taxpayer dollars, some of which will, of course, come from the queer people whose marriage rights are being withheld. In her letter to Boehner, she asks how he can justify something so costly AND unconstitutional.

Dear Mr. Speaker:

The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) voted this week by a 3-2 margin to direct the House General Counsel to initiate a legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). As you know, the Democratic members of the BLAG voted against directing the House Counsel to initiate the costly defense of a statute which many believe to be unconstitutional under the Equal Protection clause.

While respecting the role of the BLAG to make such decisions, I disagree in this circumstance because of the number of cases, at least 10. There are numerous parties who will continue to litigate these ongoing cases regardless of the involvement of the House. No institutional purpose is served by having the House of Representatives intervene in this litigation which will consume 18 months or longer. As we noted, the constitutionality of this statute will be determined by the Courts, regardless of whether the House chooses to intervene.

The resolution passed by the BLAG also directs the House General Counsel to hire private lawyers rather than utilize his own office to represent the House. The General Counsel indicated that he lacked the personnel and the budget to absorb those substantial litigation duties. It is important that the House receive an estimate of the cost to taxpayers for engaging private lawyers to intervene in the pending DOMA cases. It is also important that the House know whether the BLAG, the General Counsel, or a Committee of the House have the responsibility to monitor the actions of the outside lawyers and their fees.

The American people want Congress to be working on the creation of jobs and ensuring the continued progress of our economic recovery rather than involving itself unnecessarily in such costly and divisive litigation.

Thank you for your responses to these questions concerning the cost and oversight of the litigation as it proceeds through the courts.

best regards,

NANCY PELOSI

Democratic Leader

While we’re on the topic of government cost-savings, here’s another news story that’s possibly relevant: the government is currently so low on money that it’s passing an emergency measure just to maintain the funding needed to keep itself in operation for the next three weeks. The legislation currently on the table would reduce discretionary spending by $6 billion; no cost-saving legislation has been passed so far because Democrats and Republicans were unable to agree on the size and focus of budget cuts. So far every plan the Republicans have proposed has been rejected by Democrats as going “much too far,” and much of the cuts would be from education and human services: $1.6 billion to health and human services, $850 million in tax aids and credits, and $400 million to higher education. Republicans, meanwhile, have rejected Democratic proposals, insisting that they don’t go far enough; they say that government spending is out of control, and Democratic measures are just enabling it.

So far, no one in the House seems to be bothered by the fact that Boehner’s plan would cost the government (and taxpayers) money that doesn’t exist, especially since the marriages it’s preventing would put significant amounts of money back in the state and federal government’s pocket. It would seem that the classically defining characteristics of the Republican party – cutting government spending and government interference in the personal lives of citizens – have officially taken second place to an all-consuming obsession with denying minority groups full participation in American life.

Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And A+ members keep the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you're able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?

Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.

23 Comments

  1. the fact that shit like this still happens should make it pretty obvious to everyone that government is just another business about money and votes and has nothing to do with anybody’s actual principles.

    • This is why anti-gerrymandering laws, campaign finance reform, and get out the vote initiatives are so important.

      I’m not sure if everyone in politics can be tarred with the same brush of being unprincipled. I think that’s kind of unproductive to be honest. It’s about holding elected officials accountable and that is easier with some than others. It sucks that we have to be watch dogs over our representatives ’cause it’d be nice if we could just send them to the capitol and forget ’em. If we want this whole representative democracy thing to work it requires our participation, ’cause the only thing we have against those with connections and money is our numbers.

      Obviously, you were not advocating non-participation, but I just worry that people will stop at that emotion of throw your hands in the air exasperation. As soon as hatin’ on gays stops firing up the conservatives base and as soon as it starts costing them elections then those strategic politicians will stop hating and those truly hater politicians will be voted out. So essentially we need to make them pay at the polls.

  2. Does anyone else feel better prepared to understand the world because of an arguably unhealthy devotion to The West Wing (re: budget negotiations, nuclear power, other things)? Some days I wish the fiction felt a little less real or that the non-fiction came with a properly scripted ending, but I definitely feel like the fiction has given me a better sense of how things work.

  3. This entry goes to Speaker of the House Boehner and his Millionaire Christian House of Representatives, who THINK GOD IS IN GOVERNMENT:

    Speaker Boehner, We’ll see you in court!

    Your focus on being a legislator and the position you hold of power has gone to your head; YOU MUST THINK YOU ARE GOD and those with money will have the last say. YOU ARE WRONG. Your focus has been lost how put you there in Congress and who you are supposed to be representing.

    When the Consitution for our United States was created, all men were created equal; there was also a Separation of Church and State. Anyone with different preferences are free to express themselves, which is one of the TEN FREEDOMS WE HOLD DEAR.

    You and those House Representatives who have great economic wealth who are fanatically enthralled with God, will be using Middle Class money to further this CLUTURAL Bully and infringement on the legal civil rights of those with different cultural view point views on marriage who are both lesbian and homosexual.

    All of you that will be performing this illegal federal action will be

    (1) spending other people’s money which belongs to the middle class,

    (2) will not be doing your job as legislators to find jobs for those of the middle class

    (3) have forgotten your legal oaths that must have been taken too long ago to serve your country, not YOUR GOD, because GOD doesn’t exist within this government

    (4) You have made the choice to not work for the middle class, but those who pour money in your pocket, rather than find jobs for the middle class to whom you have stuck as those who must pay for private school and have corporations come into their community to ultimately take over their jobs.

    Your representation of the ‘really American people’ who began this country will have totally ended for me if you ‘continue on with the bullying of people equal in the view of what our country stands for.’

    Ultimately, there will be another consequence to think about concerning what James Adams had to say that will be what YOU leave behind if this continues:

    “It does not take a majority to prevail…but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men. … If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go

    from us in peace. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” (Samuel Adams) •

    And also what John Adams had to say you obviously have never heard:

    “A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” (John Adams) •

    THERE IS NO GOD IN GOVERNMENT; THERE IS NO CHURCH IN GOVERNMENT.

    STOP YOUR WASTING MIDDLE CLASS MONEY TO GO TO COURT TO BULLY THE GOVERNMENT’S PEOPLE.

    WHERE ARE THOSE JOBS YOU AS LEGISLATORS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FINDING FOR THIS COUNTRY, INSTEAD OF RENEWING A CULTURE WAR. ACT LIKE LEGISLATORS TO THOSE WHO SENT YOU TO WASHINGTON??

    Under DOMA, LGBT couples and their families are denied the more than 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities that apply to married opposite-sex couples.

    To take but one example, Edith “Edie” Windsor and her late spouse, Thea Spyer, shared a lifetime together and were a couple for 44 years. Windsor filed a lawsuit against the federal government for refusing to recognize their marriage and imposing a $350,000 tax on Spyer’s estate when she died that Windsor would not have had to pay if she were married to a man.

    It is long overdue for this senseless CONSTUTIONAL discrimination to cease. Please BEGIN CREATING JOBS FOR THOSE WHO NEED THEM, BUT I LOOK FOWARD to the day when the courts strike down DOMA once and for all TO REMEMBER.

    .

  4. This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins. Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.

    Benjamin Franklin

    From “As good as it gets”:

    Secretary:

    How do you right women so well?

    Author:

    I start with a man and a take away common sense and accountability.

  5. lol boner

    I don’t really have the energy for a more sophisticated response than that. But trust me that while I’m apparently still 12 years old I’m also appropriately pissed off/scared by this country’s bullshit

  6. 1. Pelosi just owned with that letter.

    2. Those numbers make me want to scream. No one person or small group needs fucking $42 billion. I feel like I’d be at least a little happier if the government would just tell us that it doesn’t actually give a fuck about anything but money and power. At least that’d be honest.

  7. Pingback: Paul Clement Keeping That “Defending DOMA” Gig by Quitting King & Spalding « The Joe Lake Blog The Joe Lake Blog

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!