UPDATED 10:47 AM PT – Tuesday, January 5, 2021
As newly re-elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looks forward to the Democrats slim chances of retaining the House again in 2022, she’s using her most powerful weapon as speaker. The move comes with majority influence over the House Rules Committee to weaken the power of Republicans who make up the chamber’s minority.
On Monday, Democrat House Rules Committee chairman Jim McGovern and Speaker Pelosi watched as the House passed the new rules package for the 117th Congress. The bill passed in a 217-to-206 vote and has taken heavy criticism from Republican lawmakers, who have gone so as far as to call provisions in the bill “Soviet style.”
Two of the most criticized aspects of the package include alterations to the MTR or Motion to Recommit, which is a tool minority parties can use to push last minute changes to bills on the House floor before passage.
Republicans will now have to send bills back to committees before passage, which will greatly limit Republican lawmakers abilities to advance the interests of their constituents on specific bills. It’s something that was highlighted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on the House floor Monday.
“You cannot pass a motion to recommit on the floor unless you have a majority of the people in the body to vote for it,” he stated. “Are you so afraid that you can’t hold people that you oughta’ take it away? ”
Despite the science not changing, the guidelines that Congress operated under for Nancy Pelosi’s election as Speaker did.@SteveScalise, @RepLizCheney, @RodneyDavis, and I sent her this letter—demanding she stops playing these political games. pic.twitter.com/8fnvK71Pqb
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) January 5, 2021
Another rule change is new exemptions from PAYGO, or Pay As You Go, provisions. The rule previously kept lawmakers from spending more than the budget allowed by requiring spending cuts in other parts of the overall budget.
However, the new rules offer an exception for PAYGO, but only for programs related to public health and climate change. This is specifically consequential as Democrat proposals like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal come with very large price tags.
Republicans have said it’s a clear indication Democrats are trying to push through the Green New Deal and Medicare for all regardless of the cost.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also took aim at Speaker Pelosi by stating the new rules package is an assault on open debate in the chambers of Congress, one in which he will not forget.
“I will promise you this, two years from today when you are no longer in the majority, we will correct the course of history,” he stated. “Because we are not afraid of debate, we are not afraid of ideas, we believe it makes us stronger.”