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Pelosi to change germaneness rule? [BONUS - Gas price hearings discussion]

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Pelosi to change germaneness rule? [BONUS - Gas price hearings discussion]

Old 05-16-07, 05:15 PM
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Pelosi to change germaneness rule?

According to Drudge..

After losing a string of embarrassing votes on the House floor because of procedural maneuvering, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has decided to change the current House Rules to completely shut down the floor to the minority.

The Democratic Leadership is threatening to change the current House Rules regarding the Republican right to the Motion to Recommit or the test of germaneness on the motion to recommit. This would be the first change to the germaneness rule since 1822.

In protest, the House Republicans are going to call procedural motions every half hour.
Can someone please explain this? How do you lose a vote because of procedural maneuvering? Is this like throwing out a court case because someone forgot to read someone their rights? I'm trying to make sense of this..

Last edited by VinVega; 05-17-07 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 05-16-07, 05:19 PM
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Here's what I found..

http://www.rules.house.gov/archives/pop052499.htm

"No motion or proposition on a subject different from that under
consideration shall be admitted under color of amendment."
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Old 05-16-07, 05:33 PM
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i think they need to get rid of germans as well
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Old 05-16-07, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
i think they need to get rid of germans as well
You're a lot um.....taller than I imagined.
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Old 05-16-07, 11:29 PM
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The Republicans (when they were in the majority) used the germaness rule to defeat (actually not vote on) motions to recommit.

Until the Republicans started using this practice, germaness was seldom considered on motions to recommit.

There's a much simpler way to do it without changing the germaness rule. The Rules Committee simply would not permit a motion to recommit. This was a common practice until the Repubs gained control of the House in 1994. To the Republicans' credit, they allowed a motion to recommit on every bill brought to the floor.
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Old 05-16-07, 11:50 PM
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Help me out more...does this basically mean that a bill must stand on its own and not have a bunch of unrelated amendments tacked on, or am I reading that wrong?
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Old 05-17-07, 12:47 AM
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I seem to recall that the Democrats said they weren't going to shut out the Republicans like the Republicans had done to them.

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/showthread.php?t=485150

So how are those 5 day workweeks going?

At least the public seems to approve...

http://www.galluppoll.com/content/?ci=27589
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Old 05-17-07, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
Help me out more...does this basically mean that a bill must stand on its own and not have a bunch of unrelated amendments tacked on, or am I reading that wrong?
A Motion to Recommit is simply a means by which the minority can oppose a bill. The motion is voted on in the full House or Committee of the Whole. If it receives a majority, the bill is returned to the committee of jurisdiction, which in effect means killing the bill.

Compare the number of days the House has been in session with the same period of times in the last Congress.

Last edited by classicman2; 05-17-07 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 05-17-07, 08:54 AM
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Compare the number of days the House has been in session with the same period of times in the last Congress.
You probably track these things better than any of us, what's the number?
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Old 05-17-07, 09:07 AM
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So recommit sends the bill back to committee only if it gets a majority vote...how does that help the minority party? If the majority wants to send it back to committee, wouldn't the majority vote against it?

what is germaneness?
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Old 05-17-07, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Venusian
So recommit sends the bill back to committee only if it gets a majority vote...how does that help the minority party? If the majority wants to send it back to committee, wouldn't the majority vote against it?

what is germaneness?
I would guess that sending it back to committee would not be what you wanted if you wanted to vote on the bill, but I'm not really up to speed on Congressional proceedures. I defer to the c-man on that one.
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Old 05-17-07, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Venusian
So recommit sends the bill back to committee only if it gets a majority vote...how does that help the minority party? If the majority wants to send it back to committee, wouldn't the majority vote against it?

what is germaneness?

germaneness: pertinence by virtue of a close relation to the matter at hand


It's not meant to 'help the minority party.' It's purpose is to allow the minority more access to the legislative process. Sometimes Motions to Recommit are successful - not often.
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Old 05-17-07, 09:19 AM
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I thought this said Pepsi to change germaneness rule when I first saw the title. After reading the thread, I still have no clue what is going on.
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Old 05-17-07, 09:22 AM
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I read that definition of germaneness, but you'll have to explain what that means in the legislative sense. How do you have germaneness on a motion to recommitt? wouldnt that always have a "close relation" to the original bill?
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Old 05-17-07, 09:42 AM
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When the Rules Committee does not allow the minority to offer (on the floor) an amendment, in the nature of a substitute, to the bill that the majority is proposing, but does allow the minority a single Motion to Recommit, the minority sometimes uses that to propose their version of the bill which was not allowed by the Rules Committee.

The chair (the majority controls) will rule that 'procedure' is not germane to the the bill that was being debated.
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Old 05-17-07, 09:46 AM
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btw: the Democrats frequently used this same tactic that the Republicans are now using when they were in the minority.

The Republicans yesterday really used the rules. They would demand a quorum call when a quorum was obviously not present. That's a roll call vote. It takes time. They also made a number of motions for the committee to rise (adjourn) will also requires a roll call vote which takes more time. These delaying tactics are used generally when there is bills of real importance that are on the floor. Yesterday it was a defense bill.
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Old 05-17-07, 10:05 AM
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As silly as these motions are by the minority, I think they should be allowed to use them if the Dems had the opportunity to use them when they were in the minority. Having seen the other side where the majority tries to crush the minority, I don't like that brand of politics.

So basically I don't like the fact that Pelosi is trying to do this. And if there is an established way to handle this with the Rules Committee as c-man stated, what's wrong with that?
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Old 05-17-07, 10:12 AM
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VinVega,

I agree.

Why go all this? If Pelosi really that 'concerned,' simply tell the Chairman of the Rules Committee not to permit Motions to Recommit. It was frequently done before 1/95.

I personally think that allowing one recommit motion on a bill is a good idea.
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Old 05-17-07, 10:36 AM
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I like giving the minority rights to have its voice heard (even though I happen to not particularly like the voice of the minority right now.

Here's an article that more fully explains what was going on (sort of):

House members call temporary truce on procedural battle
By Jackie Kucinich
May 17, 2007
Democrats will not change House rules governing the minority’s ability to use parliamentary procedure to alter bills, according to House Republicans who fought the effort.

House Republicans met with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) yesterday afternoon, as they were successfully slowing House business by calling a series of procedural votes. They had threatened to keep on going until the Democratic leadership assured them that it would not change the rules governing the germaneness of an amendment to a bill.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) met with Hoyer, who assured them that the Democrats will make no changes to the rules in the next two weeks, and would not do so without consulting the minority thereafter.

“They are not likely to go into that direction again,” Boehner said.

Rules Committee ranking member David Dreier (R-Calif.) called the prospect of the change “horrifying,” adding that it was one of the most important distinctions between the House and the Senate.

Republicans began their assault mid-afternoon after hearing that the Democratic leadership planned to change the germaneness rule, which would effectively limit the minority’s ability to challenge provisions in a bill on the floor.

According to the Republican Study Committee, the Democrats would have attached the rule to the budget resolution, which is expected to come to the floor today. If the rule had been changed, GOP members wishing to amend pay-as-you-go rules would have been limited in what type of offset they could introduce.

Just after 2 p.m., Blunt sent out an alert to members.

“Members are advised that the Democratic leadership is threatening to change the current House rules regarding the Republican right to offer the motion to recommit and/or the test of germaneness on the motion to recommit,” the message said.

But Hoyer disputed that claim. In a statement late yesterday, he said that “no rule change … has been formally proposed.” He charged that Republicans have exploited pay-go rules by offering motions to recommit on bills that do not have any relevance to the legislation itself.

A spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also criticized the GOP tactic, charging that “Republicans are abusing the rules of the House and finding any excuse to score political points and today is no exception.”

By press time, Republicans had called almost a dozen procedural votes.

A GOP leadership aide said if the rule was changed, Republicans were prepared to continue the procedural votes and begin to thwart progress on the committee level as well through parliamentary procedure.

Republicans have successfully passed 11 motions to recommit on the House floor, including one in March that caused Hoyer to threaten to change the rule.

On March 23, Republicans effectively postponed a vote on a bill that would give District of Columbia residents a voting member of the House by offering a motion to recommit that would have lifted gun restrictions in Washington.

The bill was quickly yanked from the floor until further announcements by Pelosi, leaving House Democratic leaders stunned.

Following the move, Hoyer hinted that the rules may have to change, causing a flurry of angry statements from Republican leaders.

“If the majority leader’s reported comments are accurate, House Democrats can expect a vigorous fight from House Republicans, and a lot of criticism from the American people,” Boehner said.
http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/...007-05-16.html

Basically, it seems that the Democratic leadership is angry that Republicans have obstructed a dozen or so bills, and so they tested the waters by hinting that they would scale back minority rights in a very limited area. Linking it to PAYGO was a good idea, IMO -- I think most people support it in theory, and it allows the Democrats to look like they are simply fighting for fiscal conservatism against profligate Republicans. But the reaction was strong enough that the Democrats have quickly backed down.

This strong a reaction should not have been unanticipated, which suggests to me that either 1) the Democratic leadership is up to something bigger (e.g., they are setting themselves up to talk about fiscal responsibility while the Republicans are blathering on about the rights of the minority party), or 2) there was disagreement in the ranks of the Democratic leadership, and this got floated in public by someone high enough up to credibly float it, but not high enough that Hoyer and Pelosi backed it.
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Old 05-17-07, 11:20 AM
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So Democrats are for minority rights when it suits them. What a shocking revelation.

I do like the idea of less getting done. It also gives the Democrats time to get on with hearing on oil companies like they said they were going to. Whatever happened to that? Classicman?
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Old 05-17-07, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
So Democrats are for minority rights when it suits them. What a shocking revelation.

I do like the idea of less getting done. It also gives the Democrats time to get on with hearing on oil companies like they said they were going to. Whatever happened to that? Classicman?
They had them already I thought.
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Old 05-17-07, 11:45 AM
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They did?
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Old 05-17-07, 11:50 AM
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The sneaky Repubs are now using another delaying tactic in the House.

After the roll call vote (electronically) completed & before the results are announced by the chair, the Repubs are coming to floor and changing their votes.

At least some of the time the Democrats respect minority rights. That's something the Republicans never do.

btw: The granting of a motion to recommit is not a right. I understand that's not understood by some of our more conservative Republican members. They seem to have a great problem distinguishing what is a right.

Last edited by classicman2; 05-17-07 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 05-17-07, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
At least some of the time the Democrats respect minority rights. That's something the Republicans never do.
With all the shenanigans the Repubs pulled over the past decade as the majority in Congress I'd have to agree with this statement.
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Old 05-17-07, 12:23 PM
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Democrats respect minority rights when they do what they behave properly.
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