GOP Transition team proposes major reforms in House rules

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Dec. 23 - No more business as usual. New rules guiding transparency, bill posting, committee meetings, budget cuts and a variety of other procedures were proposed by the House GOP Transition team yesterday. The rules package will be considered by the full House on Jan. 5, the chamber's first day of business. Democrats will have the chance to offer their own rules.


“The rules package we have offered represents a first step towards delivering on the pledge Republicans made to address Americans' top priorities: cutting spending, creating jobs, and reforming the way Washington works,” said Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-OH) in a statement. “These reforms will truly change the way Congress operates - increasing openness, deliberation and efficiency.”

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Under the proposed rulse, committees would be required to:

·         Post online their committee rules

·         Provide 3 days notice for all markups

·         Circulate the text of legislation to be marked-up no less than 24 hours before the markup

·         Post online all votes in the committee 48 hours after a markup

·         Make available online the text of any amendments adopted in a markup

·         Post online “truth in testimony” information, “with appropriate redactions to protect the privacy of the witness” so that any conflicts of interest with hearing witnesses are made public

·         Make available online the member attendance record for each hearing and markup within 24 hours

·         Webcast and make available online their hearings and markups


Another proposa, advanced by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), would replace the Democrats “pay-as-you-go” rule with ‘Cut-as-you-go'.


"After six years of pushing for this commonsense legislation, I am thrilled that the new Republican Leadership has included the ‘Cut-as-you-go' language in the House rules for the 112th Congress,” said Conaway. “Congress should refrain from passing any legislation that would create new Federal programs without providing for direct dollar-for-dollar and program-for-program offsets.  Increasing the size of government with new Federal programs will defeat any effort by Congress to reduce Federal spending.” The ‘Cut-as-you-go' language states that tax increases cannot be used to pay for new mandatory spending. 


The package also reinstates a six-year limit on the tenure of committee chairmen, changes the names of several committees and allows for the entire Constitution to be read aloud on the House floor on Jan. 6 -- the second day of the new Congress.


For a summary:

For the full proposal:

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