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Congressional Hostages

One of the things new House Speaker John Boehner said he intended to do was to give up some of the power the majority holds in the House, to spread around some of the power he and his party holds. He didn't give out too many details, but the general idea was to make the House a bit less of a pure democracy, and more of a republic -- majority rule, but recognition of the rights of the minority.

Kind of like the Senate, in a sense, where a simple majority isn't enough to do much, but needs a supermajority to get things done when the minority puts up a stink.

This is happening at the same time when the Democrats who run the Senate are talking about changing their own rules. Initially, they were discussing the abolition of the filibuster entirely, but now they are just proposing changing it a bit -- making it a wee bit tougher to sustain, requiring that filibusterers actually put some work into their efforts, but preserving it as an institution.

Which makes me wonder if there's some interesting back-deal negotiations going on within Congress. I've no inside sources, or even access to vague rumors and innuendos, but I find myself speculating: could Speaker Boehner or his people reached out to Majority Leader Reid and his people, and said, in effect, "you take it easy on our people in your House, and we'll take it easy on your people in ours?" Could Boehner's offer of granting more rights and powers to the House minority party been in exchange for the Senate cutting back on how much they wanted to curtail the power of their minority party?

I have no idea. But I think that it's a distinct possibility -- and if it wasn't, it should have been. It would demonstrate a bit of pragmatism and bipartisanship, and set a good tone -- that this Congress is willing to go beyond strict partisanship and find ways to get along and get things done over the next two years.

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Comments (12)

You can bet anything you ow... (Below threshold)
oldpuppymax:

You can bet anything you own or can borrow that, if this notion is true, Beohner is being snookered by or selling out to the left. It is not possible to negotiate with these thugs. Being NICE will only result in far fewer Republicans in office after 2012. Voters did not elect Republicans to be nice. They were elected to do away with the leftist agenda of Hussein and his cronies.

I wouldn't trust Harry Reid... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I wouldn't trust Harry Reid with anything.

This is a very smart post -... (Below threshold)
Edward Sisson:

This is a very smart post -- I bet this is exactly what is going on.

Won't these people (Republi... (Below threshold)
Joe:

Won't these people (Republicans) learn. You can't make deals or play nice with the Democrats. They will turn on you in a heartbeat. Spreading the power around is all fine and dandy with this current congress. What happens at a time when the Democrats hold the majority. Do they actually think they will reach out and provide this sort of benefit? Nope.

Time will tell.

Ditto joe... (Below threshold)
G.:

Ditto joe

Jay, I don't buy it. Negoti... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Jay, I don't buy it. Negotiating with Reid? The guy that told Boehner yesterday to not waste time with a repeal bill for Obamacare?

If there is a deal I'd look to the House itself. There are Dems to be pealed off from SanFanNan. Nineteen voted against her in her bid to become Minority Leader. Subtract the CBC members and consider the others enlist-able on a case by case basis when searching around for key votes.

That's my guess, no evidence to support it.

Actually, I would like to c... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Actually, I would like to change the fillibuster rules back to what they were. 2/3rds to stop a filibuster but the person conducting the filibuster has to take to the floor of the Senate and stay there. Both sides are abusing the rules on this one.

I do agree with some of the commenters. You cannot deal with Reid. He cannot be trusted. And Durbin is worse. ww

Of course, it's never been ... (Below threshold)
Don L:

Of course, it's never been about insufficient "getting things done" that's been the problem. It is precisely the fact that there's been 'too much done" that allowed the rascals to have brought this nation to the point of being an international farce.

I dream about a candidate that will undo what has been abusivly done and take down three laws for every one that is passed -and not 2,000 page nightmares with hidden triggers and covert politics inside.

"..that this Congress is wi... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"..that this Congress is willing to go beyond strict partisanship and find ways to get along and get things done over the next two years."

You lost me there. It will not work that way, because as you say in your earlier Stimulate This post : " The Democrats, in general, seem to think that the best way is to find those who still have money, take it away from them, and then spend it in ways they think will best help the economy. " The Dems have shown no indication of changing their goal of more govt. Hell, many RINOs haven't either.

You cannot reconcile the two views of the Statists and the Tea Partiers. The Statists are entrenched and powerful, but gluttonous and slow. The TP'ers are energetic and growing, but haven't quite got enough members yet.

Get along and get things done means only one thing : more govt.

We either fight to drastically reduce the size, scope and cost of govt or we will collapse, soon.

As I understand it, the pas... (Below threshold)
James H:

As I understand it, the past couple decades (since about Gingrich's time, actually) have seen a lot of the House's power accumulate in the office of the Speaker. Gingrich's reforms were originally sold as a way to decrease the power wielded by committee chairmen, but they eventually became a way for the Speaker to wield greater control over the agenda.

And Nancy Pelosi did not change that at all. I expect that Boehner may try to lessen that influence a bit as a way to curry favor with members of his majority. Give them a little bit more power, and they're more likely to stand by him when politics get difficult.

And they will get difficult. Pundits from Ed Morissey and leftward recognize that the GOP's came back into the congressional majority propelled by moderates disappointed with Obama and with passionate Tea Party voters. Boehner's got a hell of a tightrope to walk, and people without the gavel more power lets him spread around the responsibility a little.

Over on the Senate ... I do think it's time to rein in the filibuster, which, we should recall, appears nowhere in the Constitution. It's been overused to the point of abuse. I favor curtailing it BTW, fully realizing that should Republicans gain power, that will lead to a GOP agenda more easily passed.

But at this point, honestly, I'm ready for that to happen. I'd prefer to judge a congressional majority for what it does, rather than for what it stops from happening.

I probably should have clar... (Below threshold)

I probably should have clarified: by "getting things done," I meant things like repealing or defunding or gelding ObamaCare; passing a budget with some real cuts; reasserting Congress' role in writing regulatory laws from the bureaucracy; and the like. In other words, "changing the status quo" -- which is what we'll be stuck with if all they do is obstruct.

You can say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

J.

Unless they specifically an... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Unless they specifically and emphatically state that 'changing the status quo' means deliberately 'getting things UNdone' (reduce spending, reduce regulation, reduce govt size), then frankly the status quo wouldn't be the worst thing.
Because many (most?) of Congress still sees 'getting things done' as 'Congress has to make more laws and regulations (and most of the time more spending)'.




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