John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Open Rules Good For Democracy

Posted on February 3, 2011

John Boehner

You win some.  You lose some.

Earlier this week, the Senate voted to repeal Obamacare.

The amendment failed, but that is not how either Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid saw it.

McConnell saw it as a victory for his long-term strategy of taking back the Senate.  Next year, 23 Democrats are up for re-election, and now McConnell has them on record supporting a law that he thinks is politically toxic.

But Harry Reid also claimed victory.  He kept his team unified and stopped the Republican momentum on this big issue.

You win some.  You lose some.

Over in the House of Representatives, John Boehner is about to lead his troops into a months-long debate about the fiscal future of the country.

The debate will start with a continuing resolution, which is short-hand in Congress-speak for a law that keeps the government open.  That debate will eventually lead into a vote on whether we should keep extending our national debt limit and then conclude with a vote on the budget plans for the next year.

Boehner has promised an open process.

What does that mean?

It means that members of Congress, especially new members, are going to have the chance to offer amendments to cut spending.  Lots of amendments.

And they are going to offer all kinds of amendments on all kinds of spending, from small projects to big entitlements.

Boehner doesn’t promise that all of these amendments are going to pass.

In fact, he is guessing that many of them won’t pass.

But unlike in recent years, Boehner as Speaker would rather have an open process than have a pre-determined result.

He is going to let the House work its will.

And he is going to win some and lose some.

This is a refreshing departure from the days of Nancy Pelosi, Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay.

DeLay would boast that he never lost a vote as whip, and while that was an impressive accomplishment, democracy is not about always getting your way.  It is about letting the people be heard and letting the House work its will.

Hosni Mubarak always had to have his way in Egypt, and after a while, that caught up to him.

Revolutions come to autocrats.  Evolutions come to democracy.

John Boehner is going to win some and he is going to lose some in the upcoming budget battle, and I for one am fine with that.

The people will have a voice in John Boehner’s House, and they are going be heard long and clear, one way or another.

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