When votes occur has also been a frequently debated topic, said Rep. John Campbell, a member of the Floor, Committee and House Schedule Working Group. “This deal we have this year, you don’t know if you are going to be in on Friday or not until 6:30 p.m. Thursday night, which means Friday becomes no good for anything,” the California Republican said. “You can’t do anything here and you can’t do anything in your district because you don’t know where you are going to be. Clearly, we want to establish more certainty.”
Campbell said “probably 30 or 40” Members had been through his working group alone to discuss their ideas or ask questions. “We are definitely considering a number of reasonably significant changes, and change is always difficult,” Campbell said. “We’ve gotten a lot of input.”
Rep. Adrian Smith said he visited the House Operations Working Group just to see what proposals were on the table. “I just wanted to see what other Members are saying,” the Nebraska Republican said.
Smith, who comes from a large rural district, said he got the impression that Members’ Representational Allowances — funds for official business, such as travel expenses, in Washington, D.C., or in their district — would be reduced, an idea that he said he supports.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a member of the House Operations Working Group, said the meetings Thursday and Friday were only one way the transition team has been getting information. A survey distributed to Members and staff generated 300 responses in 48 hours, the Utah Republican said.
He said that while committee jurisdictional fights are probably the most pressing matter that needs to be acted upon by the Conference, his group has been busy meeting with nonpartisan entities such as the Architect of the Capitol and the Chief Administrative Officer.
Chaffetz said the notoriously inadequate plastic utensils in the Capitol complex cafeteria have also been a topic. “Forks are big,” he said.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.