Monday, November 9, 2015

Morgan Griffith on Changing the House Rules

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

Congressman Griffith's Special Edition E-Newsletter 11.6.15
Friday, November 6, 2015 –

Though we will be sending our weekly e-newsletter on Monday, November 9, I hope you are interested in this special edition e-newsletter in the meantime.

Changing the House – Continued

Those who have followed my public statements for the last several years know I have been concerned about the rules in the House and in the Senate. The rules we have been working under are not working for the American people or towards an efficient legislative body. I have great hope that we may be seeing the beginning of a change towards a better process, particularly over the last couple of months.

I believe that a more transparent rules process and greater input on legislative action from the Republican Conference membership at large will better represent and serve the interests of the American people.

Over the last couple of months, I have engaged in discussions with various groups within the House Republican Conference to make changes to our Conference Rules and House Rules. About a month ago, I was asked to serve on a working group to propose rules changes. This group has been regularly meeting in the evenings to review rules change proposals. In fact, one day last week, I had a proposal in my left breast pocket, a proposal in my right breast pocket, a proposal in my back pocket, and a proposal tucked into my copy of Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice.

Then this week, I was named by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) to serve on a new task force working to reform the House Republican Steering Committee, which determines committee chairmanships and helps to set policy. It is too early to tell if these changes will bring about the desired effect, but even if these are just baby steps, I am proud of the fact that finally there is hope of reforming this body. Stay tuned.

Changing the Senate – A First Step

Speaking of baby steps, the Senate may be willing to make changes to one of its rules – the modern filibuster/cloture process.

Those of you who have been following my column and public statements are aware I have been urging the U.S. Senate to abandon its modern filibuster/cloture rules and revert to the historical processes since 2012. Doing so I believe would allow more bills to be considered, debated, and voted on, more compromises to be reached, and more progress to be made on the important issues of the day such as growing jobs and our economy.

I am pleased by a recent POLITICO story indicating that some Republican Senators are starting to agree with me on this, at least when it comes to government spending measures, given that Senate Democrats filibustered “…all funding bills and ultimately [forced] budget negotiations that led to a sweeping fiscal deal last week.” The story also notes that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has assigned a group of Senators to see what rules changes are possible.

This is an encouraging first step. I will update you on any developments."