Residents of the 8th congressional district are well aware that when Rep. Chip Cravaack goes off script, he hasn't got clue as to what he is saying. Unfortunately for his constituents in northeastern Minnesota, Cravaack's embarrassing gaffes are not limited to public meetings or interviews and are readily visible on the House floor. It was never more obvious than during the floor debate on the FAA extension bill, when Cravaack flagrantly displayed both his lack of common sense and ignorance of the rules of the House set by his own party.
During the debate on June 22 2011, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) made a motion to recommit with instructions to include an amendment regarding airline baggage fees for military members deploying to or retuning from overseas operations. Cravaack argued against the motion, insisting the amendment should have brought up earlier. Of note is that the incident prompting the amendment occurred on June 6.
From the Congressional Record:
Cravaack: .....My question would be, why didn't we bring this up earlier, this act? .....We should have opened this up when we had open committee, and this should have been brought up then. But not now, in the motion to recommit, when we have FAA jobs on the line, and we need to get this bill moved forward...Unbelievable.
Rahall: In response to the gentleman's question asked a few seconds ago, it was a closed rule. There was no way we could have brought this up in the amendment process. The gentleman's party controls the rules of this body and controls the legislative debate.
Cravaack: We did have an FAA open debate, Madam Speaker, and we could have brought this up at this time.
Rahall: If the gentleman would continue to yield, the incident did not occur until after the markup of this bill....
Cravaack: We should not be opening this at this time on a motion to recommit. I will fully work with the other side in trying to make sure that this does not happen again to another soldier, and I look forward to that discussion, but having it right now is a little bit disingenuous on this FAA reauthorization.
Obviously, Cravaack was given the brainless task to shepherd the FAA extension through the Republican-controlled House. Unfortunately for his Tea Party handlers, no one was there holding a cue card, thus leaving Chip to his own quite limited devices.
Is it any wonder that Cravaack's campaign has decided that the fall out from avoiding as many debates as possible is far less damaging than having former Congressman Rick Nolan, a skilled debater, clean Chip Cravaack’s clock?