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Sunday, December 18, 2011

John Boehner Is Not Supposed To 'Control' GOP House Representatives. That Is NOT His Job Description

By Susan Duclos

One of my biggest complaints when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House is how she would strong arm and force her members to vote for legislation whether they agreed with it or not and whether the vote cast by a particular lawmaker represented the will of his/her constituents or not. She insisted her members vote in favor of what she wanted, what she, Obama and Reid wanted. She forced her members to vote for "party" rather than represent those that elected them.

For example, February 2010, Pelosi was quoted, by multiple media sources as telling her colleagues to back a major overhaul of U.S. health care aka Obamacare, even if it threatens their political careers.

Her comments somewhat echoed those of President Obama, who said at the end of last week's bipartisan health care summit that Congress should act on the issue and let voters render their verdicts. "That's what elections are for," he said.

Obama was right and in November 2010, there was indeed an election, the midterms, and Democrats in the House, lost 63 seats and voters handed control of the House of Representatives to Republicans and fired Nancy Pelosi from her Speaker of the House position.

So, when I read in The Politico a quote from Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)that says "If Speaker Boehner were fully in charge, we wouldn’t constantly see this kind of brinksmanship, but he doesn’t have control of his troops in the House," I think to myself, damn straight he doesn't "control" the members of the House, that is not his job and thank heavens he is not Nancy Pelosi who thought that was in her job description.

Democrats may be under the impression that their "job" is to walk in total lockstep with their leadership but a member of Congress is elected locally by those he is supposed to represent, not to do as told and not think for themselves.

Boehner's job is Speaker of the House, not dictator, and perhaps Schumer and Democrats should read the job description of Speaker instead of thinking that how Pelosi did things, forcing members to vote against their constituents, is not part of that job description.

The Speaker does, however, typically presides over special joint sessions of Congress in which the House hosts the Senate. The Speaker exerts power over the legislative process by setting the House legislative calendar determining when bills will be debated and voted on. The Speaker often utilizes this power to help fulfill his or her responsibility of making sure bills supported by the majority party are passed by the House. The Speaker also serves as chair of the majority party's House steering committee.

If the party in majority is not supportive of a bill passed by the Senate, or the language used in the bill passed by the Senate, then it is not Boehner's job to force them to go along with it. It is his job to see to it the bill's language becomes language supported by the majority party so it can be passed.

The main role of members of the U.S. House of Representatives is to serve their constituents through the process of writing legislation.

Controlling members of his party is not what John Boehner's job entails, that is what Nancy Pelosi did in her term as Speaker and she was replaced by election and many of those that walked in lockstep with what she ordered them to do, were replaced as well.