Monday, January 31, 2011

Democrats in House Trying to Force Republicans to Take Difficult Votes

Up on the Hill, it's not unusual for either party to try to force the opposite party to take unpopular votes. With their return to minority status in the House of Representatives, it appears as though the Democratic leadership is trying to come up with ways to force the GOP to take unpopular votes.
House Democrats have launched a floor strategy aimed at forcing freshman Republicans to take tough votes on politically sensitive topics, mirroring a tactic that the GOP deployed when it was in the minority.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) is consulting with her leadership team, including Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.), on how to use a procedural tool known as a motion to recommit to force Republicans to take politically challenging votes.

Under House rules, the minority party is allowed to offer one motion to recommit, which functions much like an amendment, for each piece of legislation as the last step before final passage. With their return to the minority, Pelosi and her leadership team are trying to be more savvy about using the motions to put Republicans on the politically unpopular side of issues that Democrats want to champion ahead of the next election.
While I definitely understand the desire to force Republicans to take unpopular stances if they aren't willing to work in a bipartisan manner, I certainly hope that these tactics don't become the focus of Democrats on the Hill. With Democrats controlling the White House and the Senate, there is still some possibility of passing good legislation. And if the GOP controlled House is the only thing standing in the way of producing results (which they claimed would happen during the 2010 campaign), then they will be held responsible for those actions.

In other words, I happy to see the Democrats looking for ways to hold Republicans accountable, but let's make sure we get some productive action done as well.

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