New GOP House mi­nor­ity com­plains of lit­tle voice for first 100 hours

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jon Ward

HouseRepub­li­can­lead­er­son­Jan. 3 said they will de­velop an agenda as the new Demo­crat-led Congress pro­ceeds and de­cried plans to pass a se­ries of mea­sures im­me­di­ately with lit­tle in­put from the mi­nor­ity.

“We think we need to have an op­por­tu­nity to of­fer al­ter­na­tives,” said Rep.RoyBluntofMis­souri,whobe­camethemi­nor­i­ty­whipas­the110th Congress con­vened on Jan. 4.

Mr. Blunt, new Mi­nor­ity Leader JohnA.BoehnerofOhioand­sev­eral other Repub­li­can lead­ers said Democrats promised vot­ers “a new way of do­ing busi­ness” on Capi­tol Hill.

“The im­por­tant point here is that theAmer­i­can­peo­plew­ere­promised [. . . ] a fresh start,” said Rep. Adam H.Put­namofFlorida,thechair­man of the House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence. “This is a missed op­por­tu­nity to re­ally change the way the House does busi­ness.”

The spokes­woman for House Speaker-des­ig­nate Nancy Pelosi, Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat, said Repub­li­cans will have more op­por­tu­ni­ties “to put for­ward their pro­pos­als and have their ideas con­sid­ered than Democrat­sever­didun­derRepub­li­can ma­jori­ties.”

In the first 100 hours, Democrats will pass mea­sures that “weren’t given a fair hear­ing in pre­vi­ous Con­gresses,” Pelosi spokes­woman Jen­nifer Crider said.

Boehn­er­spokesman­Kev­inSmith said Repub­li­cans did not shut out Democrats af­ter tak­ing lead­er­ship in 1995.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the Mary­land Demo­crat who was sworn in as ma­jor­ity leader, said that his party re­gained con­trol of the House by promis­ing six spe­cific ac­tions “im­me­di­ately.”

“We view the first 100 hours es­sen­tially as a man­date from the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” Mr. Hoyer said. “We told ev­ery­body: If you elect us, this is what we’re go­ing to do im­me­di­ately.”

Democrats pro­pose to en­act rec­om­men­da­tions from the Na­tional Com­mis­sion on Ter­ror­ist At­tacks Upon the United States, in­crease the min­i­mum wage, ex­pand fed­eral fund­ing of em­bry­onic-stem-cell re­search, ne­go­ti­ate for lower pre­scrip­tion drug prices, cut stu­dent loan in­ter­est rates and re­duce gov­ern­mentsub­si­dies­foroil­com­pa­nies.

Those mea­sures also will have to pass­theSe­nate,an­difthey­don’t,Mr. Hoyer said, “the Amer­i­can peo­ple will make a judg­ment on that.”

Mrs. Pelosi pre­sented a rules pack­a­geonJan.4that­in­clude­saseries of ethics pro­vi­sions that will ban gifts to and trips for con­gress­men funded by lob­by­ists.

The rules pack­age is tra­di­tion­ally the first mea­sure passed each Congress.

Repub­li­cans com­plained that Mrs. Pelosi shared the rules pack­age with them less than 24 hours be­fore the vote.

The first 100 hours is un­der­stood to mean the first 100 hours of leg­isla­tive ac­tiv­ity. Even though Congress con­vened on Jan. 4, the Democrats are not sched­uled to com­plete the last of their six mea­sures un­til Jan. 18 or 19.

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