Republicans are keeping their Pledge to America and rolling out a series of reforms aimed at making the next Congress much more open, accountable, and focused on the priorities of the American people. Among the proposed rules for the 112th Congress: all bills must be posted online at least three days before a vote; all bills must cite their authority in the Constitution; any spending increase must be offset by a spending cut, not a tax hike; and much more.
The proposed rules are being called everything from "far-reaching" to a "sea change" in the way Congress operates. Here's some of the coverage:
>> House Rules Transparency Victory: "Many of these provisions are just what Sunlight has asked for in our proposed Rules reforms. First and foremost, it looks like a 72 Hour Rule will be included in the House Rules. 'In Electronic form' will be the way the online requirement is phrased, and all bills will need to be available to the public 'in electronic form' for three calendar days before a vote. This will be a huge victory for the ReadtheBill movement, and for transparency in the way the House considers legislation." (Sunlight Foundation, 12/22/10)
>> House GOP to Require Legislation Meet Constitutional Standard: "House Republicans will introduce a draft set of House rules for the 112th Congress on Wednesday which seeks to offer a 'sea change' in the way the House operates -- with greater openness, deliberation, efficiency and a closer adherence to the U.S. Constitution. ... As promised in the pledge, members will not be able to introduce a bill or joint resolution without 'a statement citing as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact' it. The point aims to require members to refocus every bill on the Constitution they take an oath to support and defend." (Fox News, 12/22/10)
>> Republicans propose sweeping changes to House rules: "House Republicans are planning to enact some far-reaching changes to the way the lower chamber operates in the next Congress ... Committee chairmen would again have a six-year term limit. Committees would be required to post their rules online, provide three days of notice before marking up legislation and post committee votes online. Another rule would require the text of legislation to be circulated 24 hours before it's due to be marked up..." (Washington Post, 12/22/10)
>> New GOP rules will make it tougher for House to raise ceiling on federal debt: "Republicans are touting the new rules as increasing openness, deliberation and efficiency in the House. ... The draft rules would repeal the 'Gephardt Rule' that allows the House to raise the debt limit automatically when a conference report on the budget is approved. If the rule is repealed, a separate vote on raising the debt ceiling must be held." (The Hill, 12/22/10)
>> GOP unveils strict new House rules: "Taken together, the rules changes appear aimed at addressing complaints that the legislative process isn't transparent enough, that Congress is rigged to overspend and that lawmakers ignore the Constitution when formulating policy. 'These reforms represent Republicans' first step in keeping the promises we outlined in the Pledge to America to change the way Washington works and address the people’s priorities: creating jobs and cutting spending,' Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement issued with the summary."
In a pre-election speech on Congressional reform at the American Enterprise Institute, Boehner said Congress “finds itself in a state of emergency. The institution does not function, does not deliberate and seems incapable of acting on the will of the people” (see more here in “Pillars of a New Majority”). That's why Republicans pledged to lead a different kind of Majority in Congress -- and these new rules are just the beginning.
Read More »»
A More Accountable Congress: Cameras To Be Installed in the Powerful Rules Committee (11/8/10)
What the Next Speaker Must Do: by John Boehner (11/5/10)
Boehner's "Pillars of a New Majority" Outline a New Way Forward for Republicans (11/4/10)
Byron York Highlights "Read the Bill" Provision in “Pledge to America” (10/12/10)
Boehner Pitches "Cut-Go" and Other Congressional Reforms (10/1/10)