As the House moves quickly to vote on final passage of the economic recovery package, Rep. John Culberson’s (R-TX) criticisms of the process are growing increasingly irrational. Over the last 24 hours, Culberson used his Twitter account to refer to the leadership in Congress as “arrogant tyrants,” claim the process was making him “physically ill,” and argue that the leadership had acted in a “TOTALLY ILLEGAL” way in pushing for quick passage of the bill.
Now Culberson is claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to vote on the package today simply because she is “leaving at 6:00 PM for an 8 day trip to Europe!” The Drudge Report picked up on Culberson’s claim. In large red letters, Drudge trumpeted Culberson’s dig at Pelosi with an arguably sexist headline:
Pelosi will be leading a congressional delegation to Rome, where the group is scheduled to meet with Pope Benedict and address several NATO issues. However, she has repeatedly made clear that if this recovery package is not passed today, she — and the rest of Congress — will stay on Capitol Hill to work on it:
“If we don’t have a bill before the Presidents [Day] recess, there will be no Presidents [Day] recess. … We are not going home without an economic recovery package.” [The Hill, 1/8/09]
“We won’t leave without it.” [NPR News, 1/14/09]
“We’ll keep people in until we get a bill. But we must have a bill in February.” [Larry King Live, 1/21/09]
“We’re on schedule for our timetable to have a bill on the president’s desk to be signed before the Presidents Day recess. Again, if not, there will be no recess.” [Reuters, 1/23/09]
Pelosi spokesperson, Nadeam Elshami, reiterated that commitment this morning, telling ThinkProgress:
As the Speaker made clear all along — and announced in early January and has repeated numerous times since — Congress will stay for as long as it takes to pass the President’s Economic Recovery plan. The House will pass that historic bill today so that the President can sign it, jobs can be created and the American economy can get moving again. The American people cannot wait and neither should the Congress to deal with this economic crisis.
Indeed, while Culberson has deluded himself into believing the recovery package is “a Trojan horse that liberals are using to ultimately turn America into France,” the rest of the country is experiencing a brutal recession. Yesterday, the Labor Department announced that 623,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, while the total number of recipients grew to 4.81 million.