New House rules end official commendations
Republicans said there still will be chances next year to praise accomplishments during the time offered at the beginning of the legislative day for one-minute speeches.
It’s rare, but the resolutions have been occasions for partisan fights in the past.
In March, Republicans led a revolt and defeated a seemingly innocuous resolution to recognize National Public Works Week. Democrats said the GOP was angered by the resolution’s praise of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Republicans argue has been a failure, not a success.
Then-Rep. James L. Oberstar, Minnesota Democrat, who chaired the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and had sponsored a similar resolution the previous year, said the defeat was “an insult to thousands of public-works professionals.”
One area that won’t be touched by the new rules is the practice of naming post offices. Those actually require a change in federal law, and lawmakers view them as special plums to be doled out.
In the 111th Congress, 71 post office buildings were renamed, including one in Portland, Ore., in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.; one in San Diego after Cesar Chavez; and one in Indiana, Pa., for actor Jimmy Stewart. All told, they accounted for nearly 20 percent of the bills presented to President Obama over the past two years.
Still, the 71 post offices renamed represented a drop from the 109 post offices named in the previous Congress.
Mr. Bishop quipped that there is an eventual ceiling on those resolutions, too, once all of the tens of thousands of post offices in the country have been named.
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