13 January 2005 - Orange County Register
Last week the House Republican conference decided what procedural rules the House will use in the upcoming 109th Congress. The rules are voted on by the whole House, but the majority party can dictate the alterations they want because itís almost always a straight party-line vote.
Fiscal conservatives must really be scratching their heads about some of the rules the GOP leadership voted down in the closed-door session before the House vote:
- a 3/5 majority requirement to increase existing mandatory entitlement spending or create a new entitlement program
- a requirement to trigger a stand-alone vote to increase the debt limit when proposing a budget that breaks the existing limit (seemingly every new budget these days)
- a similar proposal that would send budget-busting spending bills back to the Budget Committee
- a requirement for a roll-call vote (rather than a voice vote) on bills costing over $50 million
After a decade of Republican control of Congress and numerous assurances that at last, now, this year, federal spending will finally be reined in, weíre treated to another disappointment as these fiscally responsible and eminently sensible rules changes are voted down. And they werenít killed by the GOPís monster du jour of filibustering Democrats Ė but by the very ones promising to get spending under control.