OBNOXIOUS MISUSE OF CONGRESS' SUBPOENA POWER: DELAY WILL SUBPOENA BRAIN DEAD WOMAN TO TESTIFY ON HER OWN BEHALF
|Printer Friendly | Email Article | Reprints | RSS||(Page 1 of 2)|
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hours before a feeding tube was to be removed from a brain-damaged Florida woman, U.S. lawmakers on Friday called on the woman to appear before congressional committees in an attempt to keep her alive.
Republican leaders from the Senate and House of Representatives said in separate statements they would use congressional probes to stave off the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, that was slated for 1 p.m.
"The Senate and the House remain dedicated to saving Terri Schiavo's life. While discussions over possible legislative remedies continue, the Senate and the House are taking action to keep her alive in the interim," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican.
Frist said the Senate will call Schiavo as a witness before the its Health, Education and Labor Committee at a March 28 hearing in the middle of Congress' two-week Easter recess.
Federal law protects a witness "from anyone who ... influences, obstructs, or impedes an inquiry or investigation by Congress," Frist said.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas said they planned to issue a subpoena later in the day to keep Schiavo alive.
Schiavo has been fed through a tube since she suffered an incapacitating heart attack in 1990. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, contends she would not have wanted to be kept alive in what court-appointed doctors describe as a persistent vegetative state.
"Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert are not members of the Politburo in Stalinist Russia," Michael Schiavo's lawyer, George Felos, told Reuters by telephone. "The state does not own Mrs. Schiavo's body and Congress cannot simply order her to remain alive contrary to her medical treatment wishes and court order."
Felos said Congress has no power to enter an injunction. "The only subpoena Congress can issue is to appear before a congressional body," he said.
Schiavo's parents are fighting to keep their daughter alive, saying she responds to them and could improve with rehabilitation. The right-to-die case has galvanized activists on both sides of issue."Later this morning, we will issue a subpoena, which will require hospice administrators and attending physicians to preserve nutrition and hydration for Terri Schiavo to allow Congress to fully understand the procedures and practices that are currently keeping her alive," the Hastert and DeLay said. Continued ...