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House Republicans Study Transition Proposals

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Members of the House Republican transition team will hold a conference call Tuesday to sift through dozens of rules, schedules and other proposals offered by Members last week. But don’t expect decisions anytime soon.

Team members said last week that they expect to have any proposed changes to House Republican Conference rules ready for Members to vote on during the week of Dec. 6. Republicans said the rule package for the full House will not be completed until mid- to late December.

The 22-member transition team, led by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), began the process of soliciting ideas, taking questions and hearing concerns in three different working groups last week. Of the topics discussed by the three groups, which met Thursday and Friday, the House schedule and House rules have been the most popular and most controversial. 

Rep. Jim Jordan said he thinks the transition team’s process of gathering and vetting ideas has been “well-received.”

Committee jurisdiction has been the hot topic in the House and Conference Rules Working Group, the Ohio Republican said, adding that Members have been responding well to the dialogue. Jordan did not comment on specific committee disputes, but a turf battle created by Rep. Doc Hastings’ proposal that the Energy and Commerce Committee relinquish energy issues to the Natural Resources Committee has caused unrest. The Washington Republican is expected to be Natural Resources chairman in the 112th Congress. 

Jordan also said the Republican leadership’s commitment to keeping the rules process open has been an important part of the transition team’s discussions. House Republicans spent much of their tenure in the minority blasting the Democratic majority for barring their ability to offer amendments to major legislation on the House floor.

“Members know that there are going to be Democrats who are offering amendments that may be a tough votes,” he said. “Republicans will be offering amendments that are tough voting issues. That’s healthy.” 

Rep. Steve King, who has proposed allowing Members from either party to request and receive an up-or-down vote on line-item cuts in the budget, praised the open process. “It’s hard to keep me satisfied,” the Iowa Republican said. “I’m always checking the fences because I think somebody else builds the fences and I don’t like them. I like open range.”

After King presented his proposed change to House rules, members of the working group asked questions and debated its merits, he said. “We are discussing how things actually function, and that idea had a very good hearing,” he said.

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