Here’s Where the Legislative Coup Took Place

Hello, moderates, liberals, and ticked-off tax-paying non-voters.

Today Politywonk reaches into a former part of her life to take a close look at how the 113th Congress changed the rules of procedure to prevent anyone except Eric Canton, the Tea Party based Majority Leader, from bringing forward a bill to reopen the government or change the debt limit. This was shown to us in a now-viral video, linked here.

Who did this? Well, that would be The House Committee on Rules. They are, literally, the people who make the rules. And as they got organized in 2010, you will notice, they commented among themselves about changes in personnel, both of membership and staff.

So who did we wind up with, when the reorganization was done? You will note, perhaps, that there are more than two Republicans for every Democrat, and the only states they represent are Tea Party states.

And who voted for this new rule? Look and see if your member of Congress took part in this. In particular, if your member of Congress claims that they are a “moderate” Democrat or Republican, you can use this vote for a litmus test. There are substantially more votes in favor than there are Tea Party Republicans, so some folks are telling you today that they were moderates, when, in fact, they are secret enablers of Ted Cruz.

Back when Politywonk was a dedicated young antiwar protester, she was taught by her elders that by the time a bill gets to the floor of the Congress, you have won or lost your issue in committee. Clearly, that still applies.

So perhaps the first step in creating a more balanced House of Representatives begins not with watching C-Span (the most popular channel in my house), but in reading those dull transcripts issued from the House Committee on Rules.

And if your member of Congress voted for this rules change, let them know you’ll be watching to be sure they don’t do so again.


How do you keep them from doing it again in January?


1) Notice that this will be happening right while you’re dealing with Christmas and your end-of-year reports at work. So you won’t be watching the news that much, and not with that much attention.

2) They will have to have a new House Resolution on the budget. Possibly two, depending on how they do the debt limit. That’s what you’re looking at.

3) IN THE RESOLUTION ON FUNDING THE GOVERNMENT AND SETTING THE DEBT, pay attention to the procedures clause. Who can move the measure to full vote? And if it has to come in from the Senate again, who has the power to move THAT to full vote?

So that’s what you’re doing, folks:

You’re watching your rep to see how they vote on this detail, and you’re watching for the new money bills, and you’re looking at the Rules Committee to see who they allow to have the power to bring them to the floor.