January 15, 2011

A Promise to Watch For

Justin Katz

Among the articles on my list to mention is this profile of House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R, CA) from the December 20 National Review. To be honest, I haven't had a chance to investigate the progress of the following promise (and it's not something that I'd expect the mainstream media to promote), but it's a worthy one, and it's worth watching:

"When I was in the minority, I saw what the majority did to destroy debate on the floor," McCarthy sighs. "Bills got written in the back of a room by a select few. In the last two years, we haven't even had an 'open rule,' which enables amendments to be offered. That model is over: My job is to ensure that good policy gets through — encouraging an honest debate, where all members, Republicans and Democrats, are equal."

McCarthy promises to immediately usher in a new operating culture on the House floor. "Any member will be able to offer an amendment on a spending bill," he says. "We will open up the floor, not only for both parties, but for the American people to get involved in the process. That'll lead to the best legislative product. From cameras in the Rules Committee to putting bills online at least 72 hours before a vote, we will enable people to know what's happening, read the bills, and understand the debate. Better ideas will emerge, and the process will keep leadership power in check. It'll be a healthy change."

McCarthy emphasizes that both Boehner and Cantor have been nothing but supportive of his sunshine-centric approach. "Looking at how many freshmen there are, and knowing so many of them, it's clear that they are the closest thing to a direct message from the American people. We get that," he says.

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When have we heard this before?

Don't tell me what you're going to do, show me.

Posted by: Patrick at January 15, 2011 2:23 PM

"Any member will be able to offer an amendment on a spending bill,"

Aren't these the bills that have to gvet passed, so that even the most abhorent amendment has a good chance of passing.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at January 15, 2011 4:00 PM

I don't think that is necessarily true. All amendments also need to be voted on individually. If someone votes in favor of an abhorrent amendment, then we should show our disapproval.

Posted by: Patrick at January 15, 2011 4:25 PM


I thought it was normal "parlimentary procedure" to allow such amendments to purchase a member's vote on the spending bill. Or, is the purchase made by incorporation in the original bill?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at January 16, 2011 4:52 AM
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