Bob Livingston: The Need For Regular Order

I was first elected to the US. House Of Representatives In a special vote September 1977. Were I still in Congress Today, I would be the senior member of the Senate to any other sitting member. House. 46 years of being a member and a close observer of the institution have led me to a simple conclusion. Congress is broken. The Vision of James Madison It is enshrined by the U.S. ConstitutionThe world’s most important document, second only after the Bible blurred, distorted and almost forgotten.

Partisanship It has surpassed any notion of working together in the national interest. Party Loyalty is sacrosanct. Any deviation in either Party This is frowned upon, and sanctioned. Gone These are the days when members Congress Could reach across the aisle to create legislation based on common sense and not sheer will. Party dogma. “Negotiation” It does not necessarily mean “capitulation.” But The insistence on “my way or the highway” often yields what we have seen too often in recent years: nothing … or much worse.

It’s difficult to determine exactly where the problems began. Democrats They became arrogant during their 40-years of virtual control over the country House Of Representatives almost equal dominance of the U.S. Senate. They 1995 saw a cataclysmic turn in the country. Newt Gingrich led Republicans To seize control House. Their They filed over 200 frivolous ethics complaints about the new because of outrage. SpeakerYet? Republicans They were successful in restraining President Clinton’s profligate agenda leading him to declare, “The era of big government is over.” The The nation was benefited by the Republican Congress Worked with the Democrat-controlled White House to reduce spending and eventually balance the discretionary buget for the first and last time in decades. Mandatory entitlement spending was left unrestrained and is today the chief cause of our nation’s ongoing march to fiscal disaster.

The Future of America It is uncertain. Numerous Every day, columns and opinion letters in the press proclaim that the end of the world is near. I don’t believe them to be true, but our government does need a drastic overhaul. The It is unacceptable to politicize our executive agencies. The Biden Administration ignores the thousands of people who are flooding our borders from all over the world.

The world brings drug trafficking, sex commerce, and threats to terrorism to every city in America. Our The fiscal agenda is disconnected from reality. Inflation It is at a 40-year high, with rising interest rates

Our fiscal integrity is at risk “Wokism” Our colleges and universities have been a magnet for our elementary and high school students, as well as our government agencies, and even to our own schools. Defense Department.

These Trends cannot be ignored and must be reversed. God If you are willing, 2024 will bring about a change in administration in the White House A new direction for the nation. Only The American It will be decided by the people. But Congress You can start making changes right away. The Republicans Have retaken control House Even though the majority is very small. My Their message is simple: “Do not repeat the mistakes of your predecessors!”

Much There has been much written about the effectiveness Nancy Pelosi As Speaker. GrantedShe was a very successful autocrat. A true believer of her leftist agenda. Mrs. Pelosi The committee process was emasculated and the entire legislation was under their control. No amendments or bills were allowed on the Senate floor.

Floor Without her endorsement. She Rarely have I worked with the Republican Minority, if any. Her The president’s unrestricted support and the whole executive branch of government have been a blessing to her. Silicon Valley In her home state of California; and the adoring, bleating of Sycophantic Journalists were in philosophical lockstep Pelosi’s agenda; all these enabled her to command absolute loyalty from her fellow Democrats Regardless of how they may have felt about her radical left-wing agenda.

Mrs. Pelosi wasn’t the only Speaker In recent years, she was able to abuse system but has now made her abuse an art form. Speaker Hastert The process may have been initiated by the imposition of the “Hastert rule” A majority vote is required Republican conference before allowing the committee legislation to proceed. Rules Committee The Floor The House Of Representatives. Much later, under Speaker BoehnerThe “Freedom Caucus,” A rump group with 40 members demanded a higher percentage of consent from their members before they would vote for any specific legislation. Many Many of them refused ever to vote. “must pass” Annual appropriations bills refer to the annual budgets Speakers Boehner Ryan We had no other choice than to negotiate with Democrats for votes to pass funding of the cost of government inclusive defense.

The The process became so complicated for leaders of both sides that it became impossible to pass the appropriations bill. Therefore, they waited until the last minute. Instead Instead of passing smaller, more manageable bills in an accepted process, they combined all 12 appropriations bill into one. “Omnibus” Bills packaged in thousands of pages that are difficult to understand. Failing For this reason, you should continue to seek resolutions. “CRs” CRs became the most common fallback. CRs are among the worst options because they simply duplicate the previous year’s spending and add new spending authority to compensate inflation. Both Omnibus Bills and CRs are used to deny individual members the right to vote and to block constituents from the legislative process.

The American The legislative process is broken. It It can be fixed, but only when leaders from both sides work together to make it possible. Philosophical These positions can’t be abandoned, but must be contained in a way that is readily foreseeable by the prime author. Constitution, James Madison.

Few Current members Congress Learn the meaning of this term “Regular Order.” But When I came to Congress under Speaker Tip O’Neill, Regular Order It meant something, and it worked. Members Both parties were most definitely partisans, but the system kept them from their worst excesses. It’s time to restore Regular Order. To To that end, I offer these suggestions:

  1. 1) The Speaker The HouseThe third highest-ranking officer of land should be the Speaker The whole HouseNot just his or hers Party. CertainlyThe Speaker Partisanship is not a good thing. However, it should be done by both the majority and the minority leaders. The Speaker He or she is not only representing his or her party, but also represents the entirety of the Congress And the nation. The The country owes the speaker dignity and respect. House. When Nancy Pelosi Tore up President Trump’s State The Union speech, she embarrassed herself, her Party, Congress, and the nation. It It was a shameful act.
  2. 1) 2) Committee Chairman and minority ranking members should hold oversight meetings and guide legislation from subcommittees through the committees. Rules Committee To the Floor The House. They The should not dictate what they should do Speaker Or any member of the leadership. Their Product should be evaluated and passed on to the Rules Committee It consists of twelve members, seven of whom are appointed by the majority. Speaker, and five to the minority leader. Rules The committee members should listen to the wishes of their respective parties but should exercise independent judgment instead of adhering to leadership directives.
  3. 3) No A committee should not have more than 50 members. Members should not serve on more than two or six committees. The It is common for members to be placed on multiple committees, without paying attention to their effectiveness. This results in lower commitment to matters that fall within their jurisdiction. If If a member is assigned more committees or subcommittees that he or she can physically handle then the member will rarely become proficient in the assigned subject matter. Committees Like Ways Means, Appropriations, Energy Commerce Multiple subcommittees require more attention than other committees. AccordinglyLeadership should recognize that members should only be allowed to participate in one major committee, so that they are not stretched too thin.
  4. 4) The Schedule for the Congress The following shall be applied: Majority Leader. Congress This is a full-time job that requires the full attention of all members. There Proxy voting should not be allowed. Members should be present for the entire week. Suspensions You can also handle nominal legislation such as the naming and designation of roads, bridges, and office buildings. Mondays Fridays. Committee Hearings should take place in the mornings Tuesday, Wednesday, ThursdaySometimes, Friday. Sessions Except for emergencies, you should always be done by 7:00 PM. Wednesday These evenings are reserved for late night sessions.
  5. 5) Fundraising It took me far more time to do this than it did when i was in. Congress. But Members weren’t sent to Washington To raise money only for their campaigns. The Business of Congress fundraising should be prioritized over fundraising. Members should be forbidden from making fundraising calls. Tuesday Through Thursday While Congress It is currently in session.
  6. 6) Members Should be encouraged to travel with bipartisan groups for the sake of committee assignments. LikewiseIt is important that members are encouraged to participate in bipartisan social events. It’s an unfortunate reality that far too many members of a single Party don’t know one another; contact with members of the other Party It is rare indeed. That Should be modified whenever possible
  7. 7) Members They should not be allowed to live in their offices or other congressional facilities. Capitol Hill. Given Living expenses are more difficult for those with less income. Congress Should be able to pay a housing allowance to help with off-campus housing.
  8. 8) Former Members should be allowed to attend important events such as Opening Sessions, State The Union Speeches and receptions of foreign dignitaries can be held provided that former members’ private business affairs are not discussed. House Floor. Violation Public banishment from the community should be used to sanction this principle House For the rest of your life.

1) These Here are some suggestions to restore. Regular Order. This This list is not exhaustive. But It is crucial that there are changes made and that members feel proud to have been elected to one the most important institutions in human history. The United States House Of Representatives deserves no less.

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