Your Ad Here

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dem Takeover Would Offer 'Opportunity,' Headaches

A Democratic takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives would offer an "opportunity to recapture some of that sense of regular order, of deliberation, of oversight, of a new and significant role for the first branch," according to a noted congressional scholar.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat in line to become speaker should her party win control, will find governing in a bipartisan way to be difficult, adds Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

"Nancy Pelosi has said and means it that if she is Speaker, she will be Speaker of the whole House, not, as Speaker Hastert has been in his self-declared way, Speaker of the majority of the majority, and she will reach out to moderate Republicans to try to create bipartisan coalitions," Ornstein says. "Of course, the first problem is if she is Speaker of the House, there will be no moderate Republicans left."

Democrats, too, have their own troubles, Ornstein says.

"Consider the reality that when ethics and lobbying reform came up, first with a rule for a bill that was a sham bill that did not allow any amendment, 16 Republicans voted against the rule, an extraordinary display of independence, given the lockstep unity in which they found themselves on most issues, and this was a procedural vote, but a number of Democrats voted for the rule, thereby keeping the bill from being amended to make it stronger during the formal legislative process," he says.

Some 20 Republicans voted for the Democratic alternative, a reasonably strong lobbying reform package and a modestly strong ethics package -- 20 Republicans, but four Democrats voted against their own party’s package, thereby killing that reform, Ornstein says. One of them, Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, candidate for majority leader who The New York Times says did so in exchange for getting more earmarks from Republicans, Ornstein adds.

"If that is what we have to expect from the Democrats if they take a majority, then this branch stays deeply broken, and they have some thinking to do in the meantime," he says.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home