Sunday, March 20, 2005

Stifling debate in the House

Here's an article on how the Republicans are going back on their word to open up debate since having taken control of the House. It seems that consolidation of power is more central to Republican rule than gathering all points of view when legislating.

"The number of bills the Rules Committee allows to go to the floor under 'open rules,' that is, bills to which any member may offer amendments, has dropped steadily. By the count of the then-minority Republicans in the 95th Congress in 1977-78, 85 percent of nonappropriations legislation in the House were offered under open rules.

But the number of bills open to revision dwindled to 57 percent overall and to 30 percent for nonappropriations bills in 1993-94, the last Congress controlled by Democrats, a denial of process so serious that it led the late Representative Gerald Solomon, a New York Republican, to pledge that the incoming Republicans would make the vast majority of bills open. But the opposite happened.

In the current Republican-led Congress, according to statistics offered by both parties, the percentage of nonappropriations bills open to revision has dropped to 15 percent. "

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