Skip to comments.Dems decry midnight rule change
Posted on 10/14/2013 1:11:40 PM PDT by cotton1706
House Democrats are fuming about a rule change adopted by Republicans just before the government shut down on Oct. 1, arguing it shows GOP leaders closed agencies intentionally.
Under long-standing House rules, any member of the chamber can bring a measure to the floor. But Republicans altered the rule governing legislation to fund the government so that only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) holds the power to make such a motion.
The practical effect of that change became apparent on Saturday, when Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, tried to bring the Senate-passed continuing resolution (CR) to the floor, only to be shot down.
"That motion may be offered only by the majority leader or his designee," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who was presiding over the chamber at the time.
The response didn't sit well with Van Hollen.
"Why are the rules rigged to keep the government shut down?" he asked.
The disagreement over how to reopen the government hinges on the scope of the chambers' spending proposals, with Democrats demanding the Senate's "clean" bill and most Republicans insisting any CR must make changes to ObamaCare.
Under the standing rules of the House, any member can make a "privileged" motion "to dispose of any amendment" when a "stage of disagreement" between the House and Senate "has been reached on a bill or resolution." That privilege, though rarely used, offers a roundabout way for the minority party to force votes on the floor.
But in the last hour of Sept. 30, Republicans on the House Rules Committee altered the rule governing the CR debate so that such a motion "may be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee."
Explaining the change, Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) made no attempt to disguise the Republicans' motivations. The alteration was made, he said, to prevent Democrats from bringing the Senate's "clean" CR to the floor, just as Republicans were calling for a conference on the competing bills.
"There are rules related to privileged motions that could take place almost effective immediately, and we're trying to go to conference," Sessions said.
"I understand you are, but that doesn't tell me why you changed the regular order so that only Mr. Cantor can do that under the rule," Rep. Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), senior Democrat on the panel, responded.
"There could be a motion as early as tonight [and] a conference would be avoided," Sessions said. "And we want a conference. We want to have an actual discussion."
"Well, I think you've taken that away," Slaughter said of the motion option.
"That's what I'm saying, we took that away," Sessions said.
"Oh mercy, it just gets deeper and deeper," Slaughter said.
The rule passed out of the committee with every Republican voting for it and every Democrat voting against.
Saturday's exchange between Van Hollen and Chaffetz followed a similar arc, with Democrats accusing the GOP of keeping the government closed and Republicans simply invoking their rule change as a way to keep the Senate CR off the House floor.
"The Rules Committee ... changes the standing rules of the House to take away the right of any member to move to vote to open the government and gave that right exclusively to the Republican leader. Is that right?" Van Hollen asked.
"The House adopted that resolution," Chaffetz said.
The democrats are perfectly happy with Harry Reid having the sole power to block all legislation or bring up all legislation. But now they're all upset that their legislation was blocked by the Majority Leader of the House, or at least, he's the only one who can bring it to the floor.
Though I favor open process and have no doubt that this may be a part of a power grab, good for the republican leadership in the House for thinking ahead to thwart the democrats' plans. The King's movement was checked!
Does the left never have a time when they’re not upset over something?
I am impressed. usually it is the dems making the rules. As a minority party, they need all of the power they can get to stop out of control spending.
House ‘rats need to lobby Dingy to produce fair rules.
Peter King belongs to the wrong Party.
Why do you think they’re so sympathetic to the Mohammadan hordes ?
“But Republicans altered the rule governing legislation to fund the government so that only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) holds the power to make such a motion”
But Democrats altered the rule governing legislation so that only Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) holds the power to decide on what bills the senate can take action on.
Appears the pubbies might be catching on and learning the ins and outs of exactly how the rats do business. It seems to work well for the rats. LOL way to go guys. Anything that can get VanHollen’s panties in a twist is ok by me.
Dunno, Van Hollen. Ask Harry Reid.
Shickanery was used by Pelosi and Reid to get Obamacare on the books.
I don’t recall hearing them cry when Nancy Pelosi decreed that all freshmen proposed legislation must go through her and then completely shutting down GOP freshmen. They then ran against those freshmen in the next election saying that those republicans didn’t propose a single piece of legislation.
& don’t tell me for a second the RATS haven’t already pulled this or would do it without hesitation. This is the same bunch who “deemed” Obummercare passed.
What about Dingy filling the ammendment tree?? Basically the same thing RATS so quit your whining f’n hypocrites!
I might raise an eyebrow if it weren’t the Democrats’ tools the GOP put to use.
The Repubs need to beat the “STOP SPENDING” drum nonstop and LOUDLY. They cannot lose on this argument.
They need to point out that the USA has a higher per capita debt than Greece. And repeat that often.
(I have not heard one person say this)
The leadership in both the House and the Senate sets the legislative priorities. I believe the Democrats are using an arcane parliamentary trick to force legislation to the floor against the Speaker’s wishes. The rules might have been changed to stop this. Strange how the article doesn’t mention this.
It’s about time the Republicans started playing hardball. Now if only the Senate Republicans would follow suit.
Is this like allowing Harry Reid to amend a bill AFTER it was passed??
More like STOP PUTTING YOUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS INTO BANKSTER SLAVERY.