Peter DeFazio blasts ‘stupid’ ‘dead guy rule’ in debate over coronavirus relief

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Rep. Peter DeFazio, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, repeatedly blasted the “stupid” “dead guy rule” on Friday for limiting what House Democrats are able to include in their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

“Yeah, I call it the dead guy rule,” Mr. DeFazio said as the House rules committee was debating the bill. “And it’s stupid. The Senate has a filibuster. They got the dead guy rule. It’s going to cripple a lot of legislative initiatives.

“It’s abysmally stupid,” the Oregon Democrat said.

He lamented that the Senate “follows the rules of a senator who’s been dead for 10 years, which is absurd and ridiculous.”

Mr. DeFazio was explaining in part why he had opposed a Republican amendment tied to airline travelers testing negative for COVID-19, though he said he was working with the Biden administration to kill the policy anyway.

“We were told that would violate the dead senator rule — the Byrd rule,” he said.

Mr. DeFazio was referring to the precedent named after the late Sen. Robert Byrd, West Virginia Democrat.

The rule limits the kind of legislation that can be passed under the fast-track budget process Democrats are using to thwart a possible GOP filibuster.

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would not pass muster under the chamber’s rules.

Regardless of party or seniority, senators typically don’t appreciate House members giving them advice on their processes or business — and vice versa.

Still, some Senate Democrats also called for an end to the 60-vote filibuster threshold for most legislation and expressed frustration about the Byrd rule after the latest ruling.

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