This is great, politics at its finest: change the rules if you don't like the ones in force now. Aside from the cynicism of such action, it is heartening to see a Democrat push back against the Bush agenda.
Defying the White House, Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday the House will change its rules to avoid a required vote this year on a hotly disputed free-trade agreement with Colombia.
The White House yawled, of course: White House press secretary Dana Perino reacted sharply. ''Speaker Pelosi today did something unprecedented in the history of negotiating trade deals in announcing that Democrats would change the rules in the middle of the game,'' Bush's spokeswoman said.
But, that's politics. Bush pushed the issue to force the hand of the Democrats.
House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement that Pelosi's proposed rule change ''would be cheating.'' He asked what nation ''would conclude a treaty with the United States knowing that Congress can change the rules of the game after it is negotiated?''
Done all time. Cheating? That's the same thing Greenspan is saying: his being criticized is unfair. Boo-hoo.
Pelosi insisted that the House's right to determine its own procedures overrides any requirements that Congress take up a measure within a prescribed time period. She said she is interested in taking up the agreement in an atmosphere that is ''as unemotional as possible,'' but ''that is not possible if the president of the United States is going to usurp the discretion of the speaker of the House to bring'' legislation to the floor.