“After this deal was crafted behind closed doors with only a few members of leadership at the table, we were given less than 12 hours to read and review this extremely important legislation,” the Georgia Republican said. “More time is needed to make an informed decision about legislation of this size and scope.”
Minority Democrats also challenge whether Mr. Boehner has lived up to his inclusiveness pledge.
“While an open-amendment process has been allowed in some cases, much more often the Republican members of the committee have chosen to block all amendments,” the four Democrats on the House Rules Committee said in a report looking at the first six months of Mr. Boehner’s rule.
Mr. Boehner’s pledge to eliminate targeted “earmarks” from spending bills, however, was kept, said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a spending-watchdog group.
“By and large, the moratorium held. They really didn’t do earmarks,” Mr. Ellis said, adding that he preferred a competitive, merit-based earmark system as the next phase of reform rather than an outright ban. “Until you do that, there’s always a risk they’re going to come back.”
Such benefits and pork-barrel spending often crammed into legislation make up an insignificant amount of the overall federal budget, but the crackdown sent a symbolic message that the House would take spending seriously, no matter how small the amount.
On Thursday, members didn’t feel quite the same. When Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rogers, from Washington state, mentioned that Mr. Boehner ended earmarks in her introductory floor speech, there was a smattering of laughter and throat-clearing in the chamber from both sides of the aisle.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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