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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

GOP's New House Rules A Good Start

The Politico reports on the unveiling of the new rules the GOP will be implementing for the House of Representatives come January when they take control from Democrats and John Boehner presumably takes the gavel from Nancy Pelosi.

Transparency and forcing legislatures to assume responsibility for their votes as well as cutting spending and making sure any new spending is offset without raising taxes to pay for it, seems to be the direction the newly unveiled rules are heading.

All promises made to voters and ones that Boehner and the GOP seem intent on keeping.

The new House Republican majority will force lawmakers to vote when they want to raise the nation's debt ceiling, publish committee attendance records, ban former members from lobbying in the House gym and require new mandatory spending to be offset by cuts to other programs.

Changes to House rules are the first step the newly empowered GOP will take to address the concerns of a lack of transparency that has been seen in the House of Representatives as well as the concerns of voters who expect the GOP to keep the promises made to elect them back into power.

"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.

With all the news and one Democrat having admitted that he didn't even read the full text of the Obamacare health law before they passed it, along partisan party lines, the GOP will implement committee and House rules that will address that issue as well.

"[I]t shall not be in order to consider a bill or joint resolution which has not been reported by a committee until the third calendar day … on which such measure has been publicly available in electronic form,” reads one new rule.

On spending, Republicans unveil a CUT/GO rule in place of the failed PAY/GO the Democrats implemented then never even tried to enforce or abide by.

On the spending front, Republicans plan to implement a series of rules called CUT/GO — a conservative answer to the PAY/GO rules instituted by Democrats. Under CUT/GO, increases in mandatory spending would have to be offset by spending cuts in other programs. Mandatory spending refers to the autopilot portion of the budget covering Social Security, Medicare and other programs designed to make payouts based on eligibility criteria rather than a set dollar figure each year.

Under CUT/GO, offsets could not be achieved by raising taxes, according to the summary.

There are some other changes but these appear to be the major first steps in keeping the campaign promises that Republicans across the country made to constituents to be allowed another chance at controlling the House of Representatives.

It is a good start and it seems they are making sure to publicly acknowledge the need to keep those vows and are intensely aware that they are being watched by voters and are expected to do things differently than Democrats have been doing in the four years they have controlled both house's of Congress.