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Democrats earlier had sought to alter the House rules on motions to recommit in May — an unusual step, given that the chamber’s rules are rarely reopened mid-session — but Republicans rebelled on the House floor, and Democratic leaders agreed to forgo the changes, at least temporarily.
Democratic leaders suggested in August that they planned to offer legislation on the House floor aimed at dissuading Republicans from offering contentious procedural amendments tied to such hot-button issues as immigration. At the same time, Democrats hoped to provide insulation to their own Members with a separate vote on those topics, but have yet to produce any such resolutions.
Republicans have succeeded in winning 21 motions to recommit — the majority of which would not shelve the legislation they amend — in the past 10 months, a point that President Bush praised in a Tuesday meeting at the White House with Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), according to a GOP aide.
“Republicans and Democrats alike have lived under the very same germaneness rules since 1822, and changing them won’t solve the majority’s inherent inability to govern,” Boehner spokesman Brian Kennedy said. “This isn’t a question of rules, it’s one of competence.”