John Boehner extended an invitation to John McCain yesterday to join the House Republican caucus in their rebellion against Democratic stonewalling on a vote on drilling. McCain had offered to come off the campaign trail if Barack Obama would also agree to do so and join Congress in an open debate and an open vote to rescind the federal moratorium on drilling in the OCS and interior. The House Minority Leader tells McCain to come regardless of Obama’s participation:
In a briefing with bloggers in House Minority Leader John Boehner’s office August 5, Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz, said he would “love to have McCain come speak on the floor” as part of the protest. He said he believes inviting a senator to speak on the House floor would not violate House rules and challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to stop it.
“Yes, I think it is something he [McCain] could do. I mean, technically, we are trying to abide by the rules of procedure for the House,” Shadegg said. “[W]e begin with a prayer, the pledge and we are speaking from the well — with one exception, we’re not taking questions from the gallery, but we are trying to accord ourselves normal decorum from the House floor.”
It’s definitely an intriguing offer, and McCain should accept immediately. No matter where he’s campaigning at the moment, he will not get more or better press than if he arrives at Capitol Hill with the lights off. It would also force the national press to cover the revolt by House Republicans, and perhaps even produce televised coverage of the speeches in the darkened chamber.
It might also force action by Nancy Pelosi to call the House back into session. Normally, a Senator wouldn’t go into the House while the lower chamber is in session, but no such restriction exists at the moment. The only way Pelosi and the Democrats could keep McCain from exploding this to the top of the headlines would be to do exactly what the GOP wants — to call the House into session, and keep it in session.
There are no down sides to a McCain campaign visit to Capitol Hill. He’d get great press, he would underscore Democratic obstructionism on energy, he would demonstrate party unity, and he would put pressure on Obama to respond with something other than tire gauges and cuts in electricity. Any campaign events he has to postpone couldn’t have a fraction of the impact this appearance would have, both for himself and the GOP. Someone on Team McCain should be redirecting the jet now.