Reed pushes for congressional sanity
Published July 29 in the Buffalo News.
The editors seem to accept Reed’s sincerity, which is a dubious assumption at best.
The politically polarized U.S. House of Representatives is often the place where legislation goes to die.
Yes, and many bills introduced deserve to die and do die with never a chance of becoming law.
Among the top reforms, Reed and the Problem Solvers are pushing for an end to the so-called Hastert Rule, which blocks a bill from getting a hearing on the House floor unless it has the support of a majority of members of the majority party, which currently is the Republicans.
The “Hastert Rule” is no more than a Republican Party practice, which they can abandon whenever they like. No House rule change is needed.
Politics could be at play, of course. Reed’s seat is up for re-election this year. And there is a real possibility that the midterm elections in November could flip the House to a Democratic majority. A Hastert Rule under a Democratic speaker would be mightily uncomfortable for Reed and his Republican colleagues.
The party in power in the House makes the rules. This is unlikely to change. No doubt Republicans don’t want to live with their past practices if the Democrats control the House. Paul Ryan promised reform when elected Speaker. That was quickly forgotten once he took office.
The Problem Solvers have vowed to withhold their vote for a new speaker candidate unless getting a pledge from him or her to support the reform package.
Tom Reed supports Jim Jordan for speaker, a Freedom Caucus leader who opposes the proposed reforms.
But, for too long now, extremists have made Congress barely functional, while turning “compromise” into a dirty word.
True if the Republican leadership and the entire Republican party are recognized as extremists, which is a reasonable view.