Hoyer Endorses Return to Regular Order

Posted February 3, 2009 at 10:23am

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) enthusiastically agrees with a plea by moderate and fiscally conservative Democrats to restore the House to the regular order process of legislating.

“I think that is a very important pursuit,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “Our committees and Members are served on both sides of the aisle by pursuing regular order. Regular order gives to everybody the opportunity to participate in the process in a fashion which will affect, in my opinion, the most consensus and best product.”

Hoyer’s remarks came in response to a letter being circulated by fiscally conservative Blue Dogs and centrist New Democrats urging the Majority Leader to end the process of expediting major bills to the floor without input from subcommittees and committees. The letter has not been sent yet but reportedly has more than 50 Member signatures.

Asked why he thought lawmakers are appealing to him instead of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has regularly scratched regular order in the name of legislating efficiently, Hoyer said, “Because I’m in charge of scheduling and things of that nature, I suppose.”

According to an early draft of the letter, Members are concerned that the lack of regular order means that lawmakers often have “little opportunity to work together in a bipartisan basis, to find our common purpose.”

Without thorough hearings on key issues or opportunities to amend bills, Democrats run the risk of isolating their power into “the hands of a very few,” which translates to the same unfair practices employed by Republicans when they controlled Congress, the letter states.