House Democrats are making changes to decentralize power


EXCERPT: House Democrats have released their new proposal to change rules for how the House of Representatives conducts its business for the next two years — and there’s a lot in it. Democrats are doing a number of things to decentralize power from leadership and open up the process of legislating.

The rules package is an important statement that shows what issues Democrats are elevating in their first few weeks of the session and how they intend to govern over the next two years. Basically, Democrats are trying to show they will behave much differently than House Republicans have over the past eight years.

With public trust in Congress at historic lows, Democrats are taking a number of steps to strengthen ethics rules and bring back regular order to the legislative process — giving bills with broad bipartisan support a chance to go through committee even if they don’t have leadership’s blessing. They are also making it much easier to raise the debt ceiling and are getting rid of a rule that allows any member of Congress to move to get rid of the current House speaker.

There are new rules pertaining to the budget and a number of progressive priorities — a commitment to establish a select committee to tackle climate change, and intervening to stop President Donald Trump’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act.

“We asked every Member for their ideas, from the longest-serving to the newly elected, and spent months vetting ideas,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), incoming chair of the House Rules Committee, in a statement. “This package is stronger because of such a collaborative process.”

The new rules package will be among the first orders of business when Democrats gavel in the new session on Thursday....

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