Posts Tagged ‘legislation’
January 4th, 2011 at 3:09 pm
House GOP Advancing ‘Rule of Law’ Agenda

When it comes to how a bill becomes a law, the route popularized in most textbooks and School House Rocks is of little value.  Instead of clear procedural steps the process is rife with secret votes, waived rules, and last minute amendments that completely change a bill hours before final passage.  The failure of the Pelosi-Reid Congress to abide by any semblance of a consistent process made lawmaking into nothing more than the personal whims of liberal elites.

No longer.  The incoming majority of House Republicans is poised to pass House Resolution 5, a fundamental overhaul of the way the House does business.  Today, the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry Blog teases out the five most important changes.

(1)   Members introducing new legislation must provide a statement of what powers the Constitution grants to Congress to enact the bill.

(2)   Any bill that increases mandatory spending must adhere to a “Cut-As-You-Go” rule requiring the legislation to cut an identical amount of spending elsewhere.

(3)   All bills must be posted online in their entirety three days before the House votes on them.

(4)   The text of any amendment must be publicly available for at least 24 hours before the House votes on it.

(5)   Vote avoidance maneuvers like “Deem-And-Pass” are eliminated.  If members want to raise the debt ceiling – or socialize medicine – they must do so on the record.

Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) is fond of saying, “process is substance,” by which he means that how a bill becomes a law is just as important as what is in the bill.  Passing House Resolution 5 will go a long way towards restoring the public’s confidence in Congress’s ability to play by a set of fair, easily understood rules.  If House Republicans go further and insist on restoring the lost constitutional limits on federal power, they will enjoy a long ride in leadership.