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