procedural-politics

GOP Rebels Orchestrate Ex-Im Bank Job | Procedural Politics

Fincher is at odds with House Republican leadership over his bill that would reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank for five years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Last year in this space, I wrote about House discharge petitions as “useful minority tools,” even though they seldom gain the requisite 218 signatures to force floor consideration of the targeted legislation. The subject of that column was the Democrats’ attempt to force consideration of a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. That effort had stalled at 197 signatures (all Democrats) when the clock ran out on the 113th Congress.  

In this Congress, a different phenomenon is unfolding: A discharge petition launched by 42 majority party members on Oct. 9 hit the 218 signature mark that same day, thanks to 176 Democratic co-signers. This year, the subject of the discharge petition is a five-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. (On July 1, it lost its authority to make new loans to companies to finance the export of U.S. products abroad.)  

Why the Senate Plays Legislative Bait-and-Switch | Procedural Politics

Very few people take the time to follow major legislation as it wends its way through the congressional maze. For those who do, Congress’ two online bill tracking services, THOMAS and Congress.gov, make that easy to do, at least most of the time. Nevertheless, those who track the big bills sometimes find themselves ensnared in what appears to be a legislative bait-and-switch, with no public explanation of when or why the trap was laid. The hapless citizen is left stuck in a web of diversion — be-switched, bothered and bewildered.  

On two major occasions this year, language from Senate-numbered bills has been transplanted into totally different (and minor) House-numbered bills: the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act and the Bipartisan Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (aka trade promotion authority). Two other instances of bait-and-switch occurred on lesser bills passed as bargaining chips for the trade bill’s passage (Procedural Politics, “Senate Trade Bill, ” June 4).