Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s personnel veto has inflamed an already difficult issue.
Local Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis was a member of a special investigating committee one day this week. But on the next day, there were serious questions surrounding the continued operation of the committee.
So goes life in the hyperpartisan cesspool that is Washington, D.C., these days.
The latest controversy came after Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced what she acknowledged was an “unprecedented” decision. She took it upon herself to decide which Republicans would be allowed to serve on the investigative committee looking into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Pelosi announced she is barring two GOP members — Ohio U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan and Indiana U.S. Rep. Jim Banks — from serving on the committee.
The official line from Pelosi’s office is that she considers Jordan and Banks unacceptable because they are strong supporters of former President Donald Trump. That is certainly true.
But The New York Times reports that Pelosi and other Democrats consider the pair to be “criminals” who planned to undermine the committee’s work.
From a Democratic Party point of view, the two men are certainly controversial characters, and they may even be unlikable. But “criminals”?
Further, is it wise for Pelosi to extend her power to the point of telling the opposing party which of its members can — and cannot — serve on the committee?
How would Democrats react if a Republican speaker — and there may be one again someday — issued a similar dictate? It seems obvious they would be outraged.
In exercising her veto, Pelosi gave Republicans legitimate grounds to withdraw from the process altogether. The GOP already was extremely suspicious of Pelosi’s partisan motives, and her move lends credibility to their concerns.
Nonetheless, it appears the committee’s work will go forward with Democratic members joined by a single Republican, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.
Once a despised conservative, Cheney is now the Democrats’ favorite Republican, largely because of her virulent dislike of Trump and his Republican supporters in Congress.
But here’s the question — will the committee’s work be more or less credible because of Pelosi’s action.
If the public behavior of Jordan and Banks really turned out to be as awful as Pelosi claimed it would be, why not let the public see it live and in color?
On the other hand, maybe they would have played a useful role in rounding out the picture of what happened that day. Now no one will know.