John Boehner's Step Toward Fixing Washington
Changing the political process in Congress.
12:00 AM, Oct 7, 2010 • By GARY ANDRES
He proposes a new level of transparency, committing to make all bills available online at least three days before Congress votes.
Boehner also promises more open rules, allowing the House to work its will and producing more debate over policy than procedure. Lawmakers “should assume that their bills are on the floor, they’ll be subject to an open rule,” Boehner said. “If all committee chairmen and ranking members had this mentality, the result would be better legislation, and better legislators.”
No doubt restrictive procedures are both a cause and consequence of partisanship. But opening up the process along the lines Boehner suggests could help cool things down and actually produce more bipartisan voting on floor amendments and final passage.
Boehner’s procedural reforms won’t heal everything that ails Washington, but he has accurately diagnosed part of the problem – the growing number of fights over legislative procedure. Adjusting the rules so debate focuses more on substance and less on process grievances is a step toward recovery.