Republicans change the House rules
January 5th, 2011
01:39 PM ET
4 years ago

Republicans change the House rules

Washington (CNN) - How a bill becomes a law is the educational building block of every American civics class. But as House Republicans take control of the House today, they will shift, ever so slightly, that civics lesson.

First, all bills and joint resolutions submitted for approval will be required to have an accompanying statement explaining their Constitutional authority. Republicans and the members of the Tea Party have argued that Democrats regularly overreached the Constitutional powers granted to the House of Representatives and believe this rule will refocus legislative priorities.

The new rules that will be adopted in the House Wednesday also reflect an understanding and an embrace of technology.

Not only are Republicans seizing the use of electronic communication devices on the House floor – such as iPads and Blackberries – they are also encouraging the public's use of technology. Bills will be required to be posted online for 72 hours before they can come to a final vote, banning the practice of rewriting legislation shortly before it is to be voted on, so that all Americans have time to go online, read a bill and then lobby their member of Congress.

Another major change in the rules affects the budget, specifically giving the chairman of the House Budget Committee greater authority to set spending limits. Pointing to Democrats' inability to pass a budget last year–a document that guides spending decisions for the fiscal year– Republicans are granting the new chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the authority to set spending ceilings on his own if the House does not act.

"Getting a grip on this year's spending is only the first step in addressing our long term budget challenges - but it's a step we must take, and we must take it now," Paul said in a statement. "Without a budget, the Federal government will continue to operate with no priorities and no restraints, while our fiscal and economic challenges continue to mount."

In giving the Budget Committee chairman broader authority, Republicans are reverting to a rule that existed when they controlled the House in the 1990's. Still, Democrats view it as an unnecessary power grab.

"Allowing incoming Chairman Ryan to have unilateral power to set spending limits – instead of subjecting those limits to a vote on the floor of the House – flies in the face of promises by House Republicans to have the most transparent and honest Congress in history," said Doug Thornell, spokesman for incoming House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

"Unfortunately, the House GOP is reverting back to the same arrogant governing style they implemented when they last held the majority and turned a surplus into a huge deficit," he added.


Filed under: House
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    You get what you ask for, more of the same coming from the GOP, so no complaining.

    January 5, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. Hangar 13

    Requiring Constitutional authority for bills? Heresy! Posting bills for public view 72 hours before voting on them? One of President Obama's best ideas; the difference is now the Republicans will actually DO it, and not just lie about it. Nancy Pelosi having the keys to her taxpayer-funded jumbo jet taken away? PRICELESS!!! A very good start to 2011.

    January 5, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Patriots Salute the Flag! Traitors don't!!!

    Smart move this will eliminate the under the table signings of bills by Obama the great imposter. His healthcare bill for example was never voted on or approved by either the House or Senate. Impeach this sorry individual now. He has got to be the worst President this country ever had or will have.

    January 5, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. Perry

    Are the Republicans stupid or something? Ever hear of the "Necessary and Proper Clause" or the "Supremacy Clause" of the Constitution. Maybe they should try Google.

    January 5, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. Cfrench

    What is wrong with these republicans? Don't they realize the entire country, with the exception of the tea-baggers, will see through this ridculous gimmickry? Talk about childish and immature. Then there's the whole reading aloud the constitution thing. Do they really think their constituents are all brain dead tea-tards? This is all so embarrassing for the country.

    January 5, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Joe

    "Democrats' inability to pass a budget last year"

    So, it's the Democrats' fault that Republican obstructionism prevented a passing budget? The level of cognitive dissonance in the House has never been higher.

    January 5, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Jennifer

    Arrogant governing style? Like locking conference room doors and refusing to allow members of the opposing party to even see the bills before they're required to vote on them? Like ignoring the very publicly stated wishes of the electorate and passing bills America does not want?

    Like telling the opposing party that they lost, so sit down and shut up?

    Nancy Pelosi and her liberal Democrats have a lot to admit to themselves about arrogance before they can start pointing fingers at other people.

    January 5, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. Guy

    The part abotu posting bills online for 72 hours before a vote should appeal to a broad base. I can't see why anyone would be against the statement explaining their Constitutional authority. Sounds like a good broad base start.

    January 5, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. Patriot

    Paul Ryan was on the Today Show this morning and when asked to name three areas where expenses would be cut, he couldn't name one. The AMerican Taliban now controls the House!

    January 5, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Chairman Ryan elected God of the house today!

    January 5, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. lstro

    Who's the Socialist now?

    January 5, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    They pull this nonsense (and the "liberal" media conveniently ignores that they are planning to use "Deem and Pass," something they temper-tantrummed over when the Dems proposed to use it...so the Dems never did)....and yet they're squeeling like stuck pigs over the Senate Dems' attempts to fix (not get rid of) filibuster rules that are CLEARLY broken and subject to horrifying abuse....abuse the GOP has engaged in for far, far too long and which is likely a major contributing factor to the horrible opinion the entire populace has of our legislative branch.

    January 5, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. GOP Taliban Victim

    Red meat for the inbred Confederate base that doesn't even want to be in the Union.

    January 5, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Russ

    Wow, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Bush twisted and distorted the Constitution with every new day. Why all of a sudden the big need to change it. I guess the Repubes didn't like that the Democrats caught on, even though there was no where near the abuse as under Bush.

    January 5, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. harvey 60

    so therefore I introduce this bill which has the Costitutional authority that I was taught by Michele Bachmann and Justice Scalia, so it has to be constitutional. give me a break. let these people run wild like horses and they'll trample everything in their path that resembles personal and political freedom.

    January 5, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. MPeters

    I want to know how the Republicans' House Rule that the Chairman (whoever it may be, but in this case Rep. Ryan) can unilaterally control Congressional Spending decisions is at all democratic, constitutional, and non-Dictatorial in nature?

    One Representative is allowed to supercede the voices of all other elected Representatives in our House of Representatives? Really? Where's THAT in the Constitution, boys and girls? Do we have a statement of the Constitutional Authority for that?

    I, however, do embrace the extension and use of technology that the Republicans are embracing. Nice to see that. However, their fascination with prolonging legislation is quite disconcerting. If they make a comma change in one place in the entire document, does that mean it will have to be reposted for an entire new 72-hour period before being voted on? That seems...asinine.

    January 5, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. MJ

    Typical GOP foolishness right offf the bat.
    Gee Speaker Johhny...I thought jobs, jobs, jobs were going to be the first thing to cover?
    I guess Issa investiesitations, this particular foolishness and meaningless votes(like health care repeal) are more important now that you've won...for now.

    I wonder how this will look to the other Indepentents like me. THe 'Pubs pushed a different agenda, but it seems like it's 1995 all over again Hey Johnny?

    Remember the Tik-Tok of the political clock? Do you really believe you, McConnell(who ran his last-barley won-election in Ky by saying he'd be more moderate-HA-and his comments about making Obama a one termer? He may well be-but it won't be because of you or the SENIOR-as in AARP-Sen. form Ky.), and your so called band of Tea Partiers can pull this off after all your tears, promises and commitments?

    Well Hey, Hey Johnny boy-good luck.

    Of course you'll never see this...but how I sure wish you would!!!

    January 5, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Nola.legalmvp

    Are they joking? Umm where were they when Bush was wiping his bum with the Constitution, specifically the 4th Amendment?

    GOP- Party of the hypocrites and liars

    January 5, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Seriously?

    LMAO! I bet most of these morons can't even send an e-mail. I know for a FACT that one of the incoming Republican/Tea Partier Freshmen doesn't even know how to turn on or off a Laptop, much less text or e-mail. This is going to get comical.

    January 5, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Seriously?

    "Unfortunately, the House GOP is reverting back to the same arrogant governing style they implemented when they last held the majority and turned a surplus into a huge deficit,"

    And this surprises anyone, how? Shame on the Democrats who stayed home and didn't vote in November. Well, folks, maybe next time around you'll have learned something.

    January 5, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  21. Lyle

    "banning the practice of rewriting legislation shortly before it is to be voted on, so that all Americans have time to go online, read a bill and then lobby their member of Congress."

    Are you sure that the intent is not to give the lobbyists and special interests time to read the bill and lobby their member of Congress? Also, the GOP in requiring that every bill cite its "Constitutional auithority" is trampling on another basic civics lesson, the separation of powers. The next two years are sizing up to be a disaster in the House.

    January 5, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    I do hope that they will come to realize that the Constitution of the United States of America does not give anyone authority or permission to cut taxes, however, national health care is covered by Article I, Section Eight, Clause One of the Constitution.. They need to prove that tax cuts are constitutional.

    January 5, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. stephen

    I have to admit. That sounds awesome!

    January 5, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    WOW! I'll bet this is the first time the DemocRATS even heard of the Constituion!! And controlling spending??? They will likely all have withdrawal if they can't spend trillions we don't have. I hope they have a doctor present on the floor. On second thought, I hope not...

    January 5, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. GaryOwen27

    The Red Neck Right is back in control......hide the women and children.

    January 5, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
1 2