House Democrats Cry Censorship Over Edited Mailings

Wednesday, 15 Jun 2011 04:36 PM

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A battle has erupted over mail privileges in the U.S. House, with a handful of Democratic lawmakers accusing the Republican leadership of censoring their official correspondence about Medicare reform, the National Journal reports.

political mailings, democrats, republicansRepublicans counter that Democrats violated bipartisan House policy on “franking,” as the practice of sending out taxpayer-funded constituent mail is known, by using incendiary and misleading language in the letters home.

A six-member House commission that oversees franking removed particular words and phrases from the mailings, including the use of “voucher” to describe the GOP’s Medicare reform proposal and claims that the overhaul would “eliminate Medicare as we know it.”

Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., denounced the excisions as “Orwellian.”

Republican aides said the partisan tone of the Democrats' Medicare claims was an abuse of the franking system. When Democrats controlled the House before 2010, the commission censored GOP mail describing the national healthcare bill as a “government-run program” or “government takeover,” they said.

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