As the 112th Congress begins, the “new” House Republicans are starting off by returning to their old ways. Their Rules Package shows that while they made promises to the American people that they would govern differently and cut the deficit, they are already failing to live up to their pledge.
Republicans promised they would have an open and transparent process in the 112th Congress:
DAVID DREIER: "I regularly wanted more open debate, an opportunity for bipartisanship to proceed through regular order on the House floor… It's very important to recognize that we want to use the Rules Committee to ensure that more members can have the opportunity to participate." [NPR, 11/18/10]
KEVIN MCCARTHY: “When you look at the Pledge to America that the Republicans have laid out, there is a cultural change in there. There is something that opens up the floor that hasn't been done for quite some time, where bills won't be written in the back of the room, where the bills have to be laid out for 72 hours, where bills actually have an open rule, where people can bring amendments up on the floor…” [CNN “State of the Union” 10/10/10]
PAUL RYAN: “We're going to restore regular order. We're going to have open rules on appropriation bills. We're going to have an open and transparent process and allow any member of Congress to amend bills in committees and things like that.” [Kenosha News, 11/29/10]
But already they have shut Democrats out of the process in developing the Rules package:
- Number of Democrats in the room when package was written: 0
- Hours of discussion with Democrats: 0
- Number of Democratic amendments allowed: 0
And they promised that they would immediately start to cut the deficit:
JOHN BOEHNER: “We need to cut spending, That's what the American people want. That's what the economy needs…Beginning on Jan. 5, the American people are going to watch their Congress do something differently.” [CBS News, 12/17/10]
ERIC CANTOR: “The American people are waiting for this body to step up in a responsible way to stop the spending, which brings on the need for yet even more debt...and get back to a fiscal path that makes sense … It is time to stop taxing, stop spending, and stop borrowing." [Congressional Record, 5/6/10]
PAUL RYAN: “We're going to come out of the gates going after spending ... spending cuts, spending controls, reforms of the structure of spending.” [The Hill, 12/12/10]
HAL ROGERS: “Enough is enough. The time to waste opportunities to reign in spending is over. Congress needs to pass a budget that reflects what each and every American family is doing back home- cutting back on spending and reprioritizing for the years ahead. Sticking our heads in the sand will only further our economic challenges and encumber the success of our future generations.” [The Foundry, 7/11/10]
SPENCER BACHUS: “The American people have told us to cut spending… and that is what everyone in Washington should work to accomplish next year. That is what Republicans will be fighting to do.” [CNBC, 12/17/10]
JERRY LEWIS: “Republicans on the appropriations committee know that we must be at the forefront of the fight for our nation’s economic future. With fresh energy and additional fiscally responsible voices on our panel and in the House in the 112th Congress, we can rein in out-of-control spending, curtail burdensome and unnecessary government regulations and earn the trust of the American people. We are ready, willing, and able to fight these battles, and are resolved to bringing our nation back to fiscal sanity.” [Politico, 10/28/10]
But instead their Rules package does just the opposite. It clears a procedural path to explode the deficit, adding nearly $5 trillion, and makes it easier to pass budget busting bills.
While Republicans turn their back on the promises they made, Democrats will move forward holding them accountable and remain committed to priorities of the American people: creating jobs, growing the economy and restoring fiscal responsibility.