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May 3, 2015

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Rules? What rules?

Republicans said they’d bring reform, but all they’ve offered are excuses

Republicans took over the House of Representatives on Wednesday and quickly implemented a new set of rules, which they trumpeted as “reforms.” They said the rules would increase transparency in government.

When Democrats were in charge, the GOP had a litany of complaints about the way Speaker Nancy Pelosi ran the House. They said legislation was pushed through, and lawmakers didn’t have a chance to debate it or even consider it. Bills on the floor weren’t often open to amendments, they said, and proposed legislation wasn’t posted on the Internet in enough time to give the public a chance to see it before a debate.

So the new Republican rules mandate that bills go through committees, be posted on the Internet three days before a vote and be open for debates and amendments. The Republicans also implemented some pet proposals, including a requirement that bills have a statement citing its constitutional authority. They also enacted a “cut as you go” rule, requiring that most spending bills pay for themselves with budget cuts.

But, flush with their new power, Republicans started breaking their own rules — the day they implemented them.

For example, the first piece of major legislation the Republicans want to consider is a provision to repeal the health care law. But Wednesday House leaders said that bill won’t be going through a committee, where it would be debated under the GOP plan. Instead, it will go directly to the House floor. And the so-called open rule, which allows any member to add an amendment, won’t be in effect.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that by 2019 the health care law will reduce the federal deficit by $143 billion, which means that Republicans should offer cuts to make up for that amount under their “cut as you go” rule. Instead, House leaders gave the health care repeal bill an exemption.

Republicans made plenty of excuses for their rule-breaking: They just want an up-or-down vote on health care, the committees aren’t ready to hold hearings, not every bill will be covered under the open rule, the CBO estimate is wrong, and on it went. Perhaps the sun got in their eyes or they had first-day jitters.

But the health care bill isn’t the only one breaking rules. reported Thursday that the first three bills the House Rules Committee posted online were missing citations of constitutional authority. Republican aides said they would be added later.

Rules are meant to be broken, right?

Rep. Louise Slaughter, a New York Democrat, said that during her four-year tenure as chairwoman of the Rules Committee, Republicans demanded rules like the ones they just violated.

“You fancy they would let me get away with that?” she told Politico. “It’s the first day, and they’ve violated everything they said they were going to do.”

Republicans seem to think that since they are in power, they can do what they want, which is exactly what they accused Democrats of doing.

They can try to hide behind excuses, but if they can’t follow their own rules on something as big as health care, how can anyone expect they would keep their word on other matters? Don’t forget that this is the party of “fiscal responsibility” whose reckless spending caused the federal deficit to explode during the previous administration.

If the Republicans continue on this path, it’s going to be a long two years.

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  1. Didn't take the LV Pravda long to bash the Republicrats, did it? Oh well, at least we may get a respite from the "blame it on Bush" crowd two years after Osama Obama began taking us down the Socialist path.

  2. I do not know why this surprises anyone. All you have to do is look at the past 10 years of Republican hypocritical rhetoric to see they are not doing what they preach. The only thing they are concerned about is that the wealthy will have to pay taxes like the average U.S. Citizen.
    If it really concerns the wealthy, how about the 58 billionaires that gave away half of their fortune, which incidentally becomes a tax break for them. John Boner cries that the wealthy are over taxed when in fact with all of their tax deductions they end up paying less than working people. Hypocrisy is the Republicans way of life.
    We have a Governor that is planning to soak the taxpayers this year. He refuses to call new fees and costs a new tax. He believes that if Higher Education has to raises tuition rates that is not a higher tax. Does hypocrisy come to mind. We will see a significant increase in fees(taxes)this year and coming years.
    It is just like this last bill the Republicans jammed through for the unemployed and tax cuts. It is going to cost us all in the long run. The Republicans tacked so many earmarks on that bill that doubled in size before passing.

  3. Notice how the hate talk is still prevalent. Progressives and Democrats are not real Americans. They read "Pravda," they want socialism, their leader is not a USA citizen, they have taken America, we have to take it back using "Second Amendment Remedies."

    "Diller is a Killer, reload and target the Democrats..."

    Instead of dealing with specific policies, that the editorial brings up, there is a personal attack as usual.

    The Sun should call for a community forum to deal with the talk radio hate mongering and the monthly hate meeting held at a local country music bar. Bob Agnew and Fred Beasley should be required to respond to the community over what they are going to do about the hate and violence that is pushed by their talk radio stations.

    Fortunately the KDOX radio station that used to call people like war hero Senator John Kerry "traitors" and the like has now switched to music, hopefully KXNT and KDWN will follow suit.