Republicans Play Politics As Usual….Though They Promised A Change

During elections I do not heed any of the promises made when it comes to the process of governing.  I know that the simple act of campaigning is to make certain voting demographics moved to the point of voting.  But once the elections are over….well……

Candidates can make promises about this or that issue , but they should not promise that the actual levers of power will be manipulated any more or less than the party they are hoping to replace.  Governing and the use of power are not like a light switch that can be turned on or off.  The art of using power is far more complicated, and for candidates to make promises that if elected they will produce a better set of rules for governing is laughable.

Too often politicians talk more in an election season than they stop to ponder and think. Too many use the electorate for their own ends.  Those are just the facts.

Such is the case with the Republicans and the promise they made that if elected the House of Representatives would be more open and ‘democratic’.

I smirked when the fall elections were underway….and the reason I did became reality this week.

Just hours after taking control of the House, Republicans passed a sweeping set of rules promising transparency and reform.

But the new majority is already showing these promises aren’t exactly set in stone.

After calling for bills to go through a regular committee process, the bill that would repeal the health care law will not go through a single committee. Despite promising a more open amendment process for bills, amendments for the health care repeal will be all but shut down. After calling for a strict committee attendance list to be posted online, Republicans backpedaled and ditched that from the rules. They promised constitutional citations for every bill but have yet to add that language to early bills.

Republicans say there are subtle reasons for these moves and that they certainly will follow their own rules throughout the 112th Congress. But the hedging on some promises shows just how hard it will be to always match the sharp rhetoric of the campaign with the ugly and complex work of running the House.

The promise of full debate in committees, for example, was inspired by Republican complaints that Democrats abused their power in bypassing regular debate. Republicans such as Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rules Chairman David Dreier of California all have complained that Democrats in the last Congress didn’t bring a single bill under a process called the open rule — a mechanism that allows for nearly unlimited amendments and debate. None of the bills that will be brought to the floor this week will be brought under open rules. When asked directly whether he would bring the repeal bill to the floor under an open rule, Cantor dodged the question.

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