The Corner

Speaker Rules

House Republican Leader John Boehner, anticipating changes to the House rules in the new Congress, has sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A few excerpts:

[W]e are deeply troubled by media reports indicating that the Democratic leadership is poised to repeal reforms put in place in 1995 that were intended to help restore Americans’ trust and confidence in the People’s House.  Specifically, these reports note that the Majority, as part of its rules package governing the new Congress, will end six-year term limits for Committee chairs and further restrict the opportunity for all members to offer alternative legislation.  This does not represent change; it is reverting back to the undemocratic one-party rule and backroom deals that the American people rejected more than a decade ago…

…This proposed change also would prevent Members from exposing and offering proposals to eliminate tax increases hidden by the Democratic Majority in larger pieces of legislation.  This is not the kind of openness and transparency that President-elect Obama promised.  This change would deprive tens of millions of Americans the opportunity to have a voice in the most important policy decisions facing our country…

The rules proposal for the 111th Congress is not yet known, but the rules are routinely passed at the beginning of each Congress in a party-line vote. No matter how unfair they are, or how badly they trample the rights of the minority, the issue tends to be a political non-starter.

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