As a process democrat (small ‘d’) I am in favor of what is termed ‘regular order’ when it comes to how congress conducts business with bills on the floor. What happened this week with a much-needed and non-controversial water bill has again forced the question if this is the best way to get business done in Washington.
I think an open process where amendments from either party can be offered for debate is a fair way to proceed. Up or down, let the issues be raised and the votes taken. It will show either the strength of an argument or the weakness of a party.
This week regular order underscored the bigotry and bile that is front and center in the Republican Party when a Democratic offering to protect gay people was voted down, and with it the entire funding measure.
What makes this so compelling a story for political junkies like myself is that the background to this week’s events shows that what the GOP House wanted they now are having a hard time living with.
Well, democracy can be a rough road at times.
We need to recall that former House Speaker John Boehner was ousted in part due to the style he used when controlling what amendments and bills would be allowed in floor votes. The caucus wanted a greater say in the fate of legislation. Ryan did just that and now allows committees to send bills to the floor and opened many of them to amendments. But what we are witnessing is the fact that too many conservatives who won election to the house are not able to govern and have no concept of what it takes to make their body run in an effective manner.
Many times in politics one has to embrace a large portion of what is liked while at the same time accepting portions that is not desired. Too few of the conservative rabble-rousers are able to understand that foundation of politics. That was most evident this week.
Partisans will say that Democrats played unfair with the amendment. Honest Republicans, however, will have to admit that they would have done the same. And have done so for years.
Regular order should not be blamed for the failure of this funding bill to pass. Instead the content and character of Republican conservatives need to be examined and changed.