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Posted at 8:54 AM ET, 12/ 1/2010

House GOP proposes rules changes on spending, commemorative resolutions

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 1:00 p.m.

Americans may soon be bidding farewell to resolutions that support the goals and ideals of "National Day of the Cowboy," "National Pollinator Week" and "National Deep Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month."

That's because the House Republican transition team is planning to make several key changes to GOP conference rules heading into the 112th Congress, according to a memo circulated to Republican members Wednesday night.

Among the changes proposed is a rule that would prohibit the consideration of most commemorative resolutions, including measures congratulating sports teams or designating special days such as "National Pi Day." Such resolutions are a pet peeve of many congressional Republicans, who argue that they're a waste of time and point out that one-third of all bills brought to the House floor during the last congress were commemorative in nature.

Another amendment would require the Republican Conference rules to be posted online for the first time. (Currently, neither party posts its rules online.)

And one of the key rules changes would prohibit new spending authorizations and appropriations as well as the creation of new programs unless they are fully offset.

The prohibitions on spending and commemorative resolutions would apply to measures that can be brought to the floor under the suspension of House rules, which allows lawmakers to fast-track measures but requires a two-thirds vote for passage and doesn't allow for amendments.

House Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio), Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of House Republicans' transition team, and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) held a press conference Thursday morning announcing the proposed changes.

"If Americans knew we spent this week honoring and saluting golf legend Chi-Chi Rodriguez and commending the city of Jacksonville, Arkansas, while their taxes are about to go up and our national debt is exploding, they'd send us all packing," Walden said.

"This is not the work that the American people sent us here to do," he added.

Bishop emphasized the importance of process, noting that usually people's "eyes glaze over" when talking about it but that "when you have good process, good policy will result."

According to draft language circulated to House Republicans, the new rules regarding spending would prohibit "an increase in authorizations, appropriations, or direct spending in any given year, unless fully offset by at least an equal reduction in current spending."

That would represent a change from the current rule, which prohibits any measure that authorizes more than a 10 percent annual increase in spending.

When it comes to symbolic resolutions, the new rules would do away with any measure that "expresses appreciation, commends, congratulates, celebrates, recognizes the accomplishments of, or celebrates the anniversary of, an entity, event, group, individual, institution, team or government program; or acknowledges or recognizes a period of time for such purposes."

The amendment also would put in writing changes that have already informally been taken up, such as bumping up the rank of the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman from eighth to fifth in the House GOP pecking order and increasing the number of freshmen representatives on the leadership team to two.

According to Walden's memo, House GOP leaders will consider the rule changes at their organizational meeting next Wednesday, with a full proposal slated to be ready for review before the Christmas holiday.

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 1, 2010; 8:54 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

I checked out my Republican Congressman Joe "You Lie" Wilson's accomplishments in the 5 terms he has already served, and without the commemorative days and people he recommended, his legislative record would be virtually non-existant.

Posted by: SCVoter | December 2, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

For the unemployed, the Republicans already stole Christmas. Now they're making certain that no Democrat can officially commemorate this dastardly deed. Humbug, America!

Posted by: cdreimer | December 2, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Meh, the people didn't care now, they won't care afterward. Let's try working on something with a much larger budget.

Posted by: Falling4Ever | December 2, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

These rules are going to be lots of fun the next tome DoD wants an emergency appropriation, aren't they?

The law of unintended consequences will apply.

Posted by: lonquest | December 2, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

You can always count on the GOP to do what's right for America (K Street America & $250K Street America, if not Main Street America), so they'll surely (RIP Leslie Nielson) go after pork of the worst kind:

On June 2, 2009, the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act was signed into law , which established an 11-member commission to plan activities that will be taking place throughout the year in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Ronald Wilson Reagan.

And if this ban is enacted, where will this great nation be without such great missions achieving Fulfillment of Destiny:

"The Reagan Legacy Project aims to fulfill its mission by naming significant public landmarks after President Reagan in the 50 states and over 3,000 counties of the United States."

GOP Leadership: always sticking to their priorities. Rome burns.

Posted by: DurableGood | December 2, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I doubt the country will fail if "an entity, event, group, individual, institution, team or government program;" doesn't get a commerative bill through. You want them working on the serious issues, right?

Posted by: ronjaboy | December 2, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I doubt the country will fail if "an entity, event, group, individual, institution, team or government program;" doesn't get a commerative bill through. You want them working on the serious issues, right?

Posted by: ronjaboy | December 2, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I doubt the country will fail if "an entity, event, group, individual, institution, team or government program;" doesn't get a commerative bill through. You want them working on the serious issues, right?

Posted by: ronjaboy | December 2, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I doubt the country will fail if "an entity, event, group, individual, institution, team or government program;" doesn't get a commerative bill through. You want them working on the serious issues, right?

Posted by: ronjaboy | December 2, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Oh did I miss something! Was these changes suppose to impress me? So far I have not seen anything but an agenda to undermine anything that remotely benefits the American working class people. Unfortunately most working class people are clueless to how they will be adversely affected by some of the blocked legislation. Wow!! This is not a game these are peoples lives that are at stake.

Posted by: KBrustmeyer2003 | December 2, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The teabagheadnazilunatics all belong in jail the unpatriotic scum. Why do those offspring of harlots want the country to fail?

Posted by: letemhaveit | December 2, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

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