Most heavy handed Congress in history

Some good stats from the GOP side of the Rules Commitee:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi – “[W]e promised the American people that we would have the most honest and open government and we will.” (Press stakeout, December 6, 2006).

 Now that the first year of the new Democratic Majority is on the books, it’s worth taking a few moments to examine if they lived up to their promise to run the “most honest and open government.”  When the facts are laid out, the emptiness of that promise becomes clear.   The hallmarks of this Majority have been heavy-handedness, a lack of deliberation, and a rejection of the pledges of openness they made as they prepared to assume control.

The bottom line is this – in the first session of this Congress, the Majority has considered more legislation under closed rules, more legislation under restrictive rules, rejected more Minority amendments, allowed fewer Minority substitutes, rewritten more bills in the Rules Committee, and provided less time to review legislation than the previous Congress did.  Here are the facts:

109th Congress, 1st Session

110th Congress, 1st Session
21 closed rules 46 closed rules
64 restrictive rules 103 restrictive rules
138 Minority amendments allowed 121 Minority amendments allowed
9 Minority substitutes allowed 8 Minority substitutes allowed
17 bills rewritten in Rules Committee 30 bills rewritten in Rules Committee
2.3 days to review legislation 1.4 days to review legislation

  These statistics only tell part of the story.  This year also saw a rejection of regular order for the key bills considered by this Congress, an abandonment of the standard conference committee process, a new practice in the Rules Committee of denying Members of Congress the opportunity to submit amendments for consideration, the yanking of bills from the floor mid-debate, repeated attempts to alter or eliminate the Minority’s ability to offer a Motion to Recommit, and a scandal surrounding the Majority’s overturning of a House vote.   The list of the broken promises of this Majority goes on and on, yet their list of accomplishments does not.  Their decision to run the House with such a heavy hand has quite obviously led to less bipartisanship, less productivity, and less work done for the American people.   Rules Committee Ranking Republican David Dreier (R-San Dimas, CA) said the Majority’s record is not one of which they can be proud.  “The Democratic Majority has decided to use the rules of the House to prevent deliberation and bipartisanship.  And ironically, they have almost nothing to show for it.  One would think their heavy hand would have allowed them to produce results they wanted, but the opposite has happened.  Perhaps the Majority will live up to their promises in the New Year, but their record thus far doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.”


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