Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Democrats will run Congress fairly

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The GOP-controlled Congress was amazing in the way the Democrats were stifled at every turn. The GOP took a heavy-handed and overtly undemocratic approach:

Under the Republican majority, legislation was written without Dem input; bills were passed without letting Dems read it; Dems’ bills were denied hearings and votes; Dems weren’t allowed to offer amendments to legislation; Dems weren’t even allowed to use hearing rooms. If Dems managed to win a key vote on the floor, Republicans would simply keep the vote open — literally for hours, if necessary — until enough arms could be twisted and/or lawmakers bribed. Being a congressional Democrat in recent years was frequently nothing short of humiliating.

All in all, the GOP behaved abominably. And now they’re the minority. And how are they responding?

And on Capitol Hill, Nancy Pelosi and other House Dem leaders are making it quite clear that, regardless of how the GOP majority treated the minority over the last 12 years, Dems will take the high road and bring a more reasonable governing style back to Congress. As the NYT noted today, Pelosi gave Dennis Hastert the use of prime office space in the Capitol out of respect for his position; she reached out to House Minority Leader John Boehner to develop a task force to explore independent enforcement of ethics rules; and the Dem leadership issued a statement of principles that calls for regular consultation between the Democratic and Republican leaders on the schedule and operations of the House and declares that the heads of House committees should do the same.

A more detailed look at the situation—and how the GOP is determined to use Pelosi’s fairness against her—can be found here. The GOP is amazingly irresponsible, ignoring their duties and treating government as a game.

Here’s the story in the NY Times. A quote:

After chafing for years under what they saw as flagrant Republican abuse of Congressional power and procedures, the incoming majority has promised to restore House and Senate practices to those more closely resembling the textbook version of how a bill becomes law: daylight debate, serious amendments and minority party participation. …

In the House and Senate, the leadership is vowing to conduct full and open conference committees that reconcile differing legislation passed by the two chambers and produce a final bill. In recent years, those sessions have all but disappeared, with senior Republicans hashing out final versions behind closed doors, occasionally adding provisions passed by neither the House nor the Senate. Some of the major legislation approved in the final hours of the past Congress was written in private by just a few lawmakers and aides and rushed to the floor.

Democrats said the Republican majority typically refused to tell them even where the supposedly bicameral, bipartisan conference sessions were being held.

Written by Leisureguy

27 December 2006 at 4:25 pm

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