Congressional Record

Ben Quayle's Office Calls Jim Himes' Accusation of Bill-Stealing "Ridiculous," and Now Barney Frank's Involved

Democratic Congressman Jim Himes' observation that Congressman Ben Quayle's being credited for a bill very similar to his own has people getting testy.

Quayle's office tells New Times that Himes' accusation is "ridiculous,"  meanwhile, Congressman Barney Frank lost his speaking privileges for the day on the House floor while getting heated about the issue, and Himes just had to use the word "potato."

First of all, Quayle's office has heard about the accusations from Congressman Jim Himes about Quayle's portion of the Republicans' JOBS Act being "nearly an exact replica" of a bill Himes authored.

Quayle's office, as you can imagine, does not agree.

"We find this ridiculous," Quayle spokesman Zach Howell tells New Times. "It's a non-issue."

Howell said the bills "are not identical bills at all," as Quayle's version didn't include a section which Howell claims makes the bill more passable through both chambers.

He added that this maneuver is pulled all the time, adding, "Look, this bill is about creating jobs, this isn't about petty procedural stuff or interpersonal stuff."

Meanwhile, there was an argument on the House floor to be had.

Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Barney Frank was discussing Quayle's part of the JOBS Act, claiming the bill had been "kidnapped" by Republican leadership from Himes... and Arizona Republican Congressman David Schweikert.

Frank referred to Himes' original bill as the "Himes-Schweikert" bill, which makes his claim of GOP leadership trying to give credit for the bill to Quayle a lot more interesting, since Schweikert and Quayle are set to face each other in a primary election.

"Apparently the Republican leadership decided it was Christmas in March," Frank said. "So they stole the bill from Mr. Schweikert and Mr. Himes, and made a present of it to the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Quayle."

After Frank's assertion was turned around on him by a Republican congressman, Frank responded by calling it "the most hypocritical and dishonest statement I've heard uttered in this House" -- words which were eventually stricken from the record, and cost Frank his speaking privileges for this day.

Himes also spoke on Quayle's part of the jobs package, saying, "I'm sorry this bill has been spoiled by the antics of the Republican majority."

He also just had to say "potato."

"[Ronald] Reagan said, 'You'd get a lot done in Washington, D.C. if you didn't care who gets the credit," Himes said. "There may be only way to spell 'potato,' but there are a lot of ways to skin a cat -- and if we're going to skin this cat this way, I'm OK with that."

For now, it looks like the House is going to vote tomorrow on the bill that includes Quayle's/Schweikert's/Himes' eased-up banking regulations.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley