WASHINGTON -- This year's Republican National Convention might be a little awkward for Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a freshman known in Congress as "Mr. Facebook."
Amash unleashed a tirade against his Republican colleagues on his Facebook page last week, accusing them of using a bill that would ban sex-selection abortions to take a cheap political shot at the president.
"When did Republicans start supporting hate-crime legislation?" he wrote. "Hate-crime bills, like H R 3541, are apparently okay if they have to do with a baby's gender but not okay if they have to do with a person's skin color or sexual orientation. Or maybe they're okay if it's an election year and Republicans are trying to make the President look like he doesn't care about women. I am appalled and outraged that we would take an issue as sacred as life and use it so cynically as a political weapon."
On May 31, Amash was one of just seven Republicans in the House to oppose the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which would have made it a federal offense for a doctor to perform an abortion that was motivated by the gender of the fetus. The House voted on the bill under suspension of its rules, which is a procedure normally reserved for noncontroversial legislation because it requires a two-thirds majority to pass a bill.
Asked on his Facebook page why House leadership decided to suspend the rules for the PRENDA vote, Amash replied that "Republicans want it to fail." The bill did fail by a vote of 246 to 168.
"Those of us who are pro-life should demand more from Congress," he wrote. "While we waste time on stuff like this, genuine legislation to protect life is ignored."
Will Adams, a spokesman for Amash, said the congressman has been dubbed "Mr. Facebook" by his colleagues because he uses the social networking site to explain to his constituents every single vote he takes and to speak his mind on various issues. "I assume there are many Republicans who disagree with his position, but I think people in Congress have become used to his speaking straight with voters and constituents through his Facebook," Adams said.
Amash is also not making friends with many Democrats. At the end of his anti-PRENDA tirade on Facebook, he angered Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) by announcing his plans to author a new bill that would restrict access to abortion in Washington. The proposed District of Columbia Respect for Life and Conscience Act of 2012, according to Amash's post, "requires minors in D.C. to receive their parents' consent before having an abortion, prohibits non-doctors from performing abortions, and provides conscience protections for individuals and health care facilities in D.C. that refuse to perform abortions."
The bill hasn't yet been introduced, but Norton is already geared up for battle.
"Representative Amash seems to be embracing the spotlight on his anti-democratic bill, by announcing it on his Facebook page," Norton said in a statement. "[He] is spending time in the House meddling in my district, instead of attending to the needs of his own constituents."
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