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Speaker Nancy Pelosi Gets Tough, GOP Miffed

January 6, 2009

This is the type of political move that needed to be done in order to insure that the nation’s business gets done without the Republicans attempting to derail legislation.  Too often we have seen efforts by the GOP in Congress to slow down needed legislation, not in order to make the bill in question better, but to totally torpedo the intent of the proposed bill.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear those days are over.

House Democrats are poised to approve new rules that will significantly increase their authority while taking the bullets out of the few legislative weapons Republicans have in the lower chamber.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has approved the changes from the last Congress, when House GOP members frustrated their Democratic counterparts by winning over two dozen amendment battles on the floor.

Pelosi’s move has set up a divisive mood on the first day of the 111th Congress, which Republicans say runs counter to the tone set by President-elect Obama.

Republican leaders intend to fight the rules changes, which would curtail their ability to delay legislation by forcing Democrats to take politically difficult votes.

“This is not the kind of openness and transparency that President-elect Obama promised,” the GOP leaders wrote Monday in a letter to Pelosi.

Republican leadership aides say the changes will make it easier for the Speaker to run the House and protect vulnerable House Democrats.

But Democratic leadership sources dispute the GOP characterizations, noting that Republicans will still have an opportunity to offer an amendment to bills on the floor, though they won’t have the ability to invoke an arcane rule that would in effect kill the entire underlying measure.

Democrats say GOP assertions that Republicans would not be able to offer a “motion to recommit” are false. They say they are removing the “Catch-22” that Republicans have exploited to force embarrassing votes on issues such as gun control and illegal immigration.

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