Friday, May 06, 2005

GOP Retracts Report Dems Call Slanderous

GOP Retracts Report Dems Call Slanderous

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a week of Democratic protests, Republicans agreed on Thursday to change a report that had said the Democrats' amendments to an abortion bill could assist sexual predators.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a floor speech that the changes made to the House Judiciary Committee report were "a tacit acknowledgment of the inaccuracy and untruthfulness of the original report."

He commended the committee chairman, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., for the change and said he hoped that, "with this correction of the slanderous report language, this unfortunate chapter can be brought to a close."

The dispute involved a bill, passed by the House last week, that would criminalize the transporting of a minor across state lines to get an abortion.

The report accompanying the bill, normally a dry, unremarkable explanation, set off protests because of the way it described several Democratic amendments, all defeated by the committee.

It said Nadler, who wanted to exempt some relatives from the act, "offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution under the bill if they were grandparents or adult siblings of a minor."

On Tuesday Democrats offered a resolution, defeated on a party-line vote, accusing the Republican majority of deliberately mischaracterizing the amendments.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi demanded that Sensenbrenner apologize for "the disgusting misrepresentations."

Sensenbrenner, refused to back down, saying that "we were accurate, and if you do not want this to happen again, draft your amendments properly."

But on Thursday Sensenbrenner filed, without speaking on the House floor, the amended report that removed the references to sexual predators.

It did provide comment, common in reports, from the majority side expressing concerns that the amendments would create loopholes that sexual predators could exploit, and dissenting views from the Democratic side denying that this was the intent or effect of the amendments.


The abortion bill is H.R. 748

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