The Corner

More on Parliamentary Procedure

We’ve seen how the House is run by Nancy Pelosi, but Republicans are making increasingly bold promises to reform it: first, the procedural reforms promised by the Pledge; then Mike Pence telling NRO the GOP would end the earmarks process “as we know it.” Then Boehner’s speech. Now, confirmation from Rep. David Dreier (R., Calif.), the man in line to chair the all-powerful Rules Committee in the event of a Republican takeover, that he is backing it all up. From a statement:

“In his remarks today, Mr. Boehner laid out a vision for the House of Representatives that will return the first branch of government to its original purpose – to be the voice of the people.  As Mr. Boehner said, we need to get back to an open process and a real debate about how we solve our nation’s very serious problems.  The current Majority has not allowed a single bill to be considered under an open amendment process.  That makes the 111th Congress the most closed Congress in history.  We can and should do better, particularly on spending bills.

 “I also wholeheartedly concur with Mr. Boehner that every Committee’s proceedings must be webcast, especially the Rules Committee.  My Rules Republican colleagues and I have been making this simple request for nearly two years now.  Considering what has taken place in the Rules Committee during that time, I firmly believe the American people need and deserve to know what takes place there.

 “I would hope that the Majority would implement the reforms outlined by Mr. Boehner immediately.  But if they won’t reform the way the House conducts the people’s business, it’s clear that we will.”

I’m cheered by the promises, but wary as well. The danger of laying out specific proposals for reform during a campaign season is that they’ll haunt you if you don’t follow through (e.g. “the most ethical Congress in history” and “drain the swamp.”)

I hope the Republicans aren’t setting us up for disappointment.


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