Tags: paul ryan | obamacare | regular order | speaker newt gingrich

Ryan Not Using Regular Order as Successful Speaker Gingrich Once Did

Ryan Not Using Regular Order as Successful Speaker Gingrich Once Did
U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) explains the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act during his weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol March 9, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By Friday, 10 March 2017 04:36 PM Current | Bio | Archive

After my blog last week about the necessity of Congress proceeding under Regular Order, my friend and former colleague in Congress Gil Gutknecht (R-MN) wrote me with some additional thoughts. He encapsulated the spirit of operating under regular order, that is, under the approved rules of the House without Leadership excepting itself from the process.

He reminded me of a quote originally from Margaret Thatcher but one Newt Gingrich used regularly, "first you win the debate then you win the vote." That is to say that you get the people on your side and then after that the vote is easy.

Newt lived this axiom. The now-famous "Contract with America" was a collection of pre-polled, 60-percent-plus popular issues of which votes in favor would be encouraged by the American people. The Contract sailed through the "100 days" and all measures were brought to a vote.

Through hearings, mark-ups, open and unrestrained committee votes, and exhausting Floor action, each measure wound its way to a vote by regular order. The American people watched the whole way. They were entranced by a process that they had not seen in decades and they overwhelmingly approved of that process, Democrat and Republican alike.

The Republican Majority has a chance to do this again. ObamaCare reform/replacement/repeal is equally as popular as the "Contract with America" was and the House should proceed similarly under regular order.

Instead, Leadership in the House wrote a bill in secret and then presented it to the body (perhaps even only in part as we are discovering this week). Then, in order to appear to keep its promise to follow regular order, Leadership then rammed and jammed the bill through its relevant committees.

It passed the committee votes (to no one’s surprise) and it is on its way to the Floor unmolested. It was quick, painless, efficient and, sadly, doomed to failure.

The bill will meet strong opposition within the Republican Conference and then again by the Democrats. This is so because each detractor did not get a fair shot to change the measure to his or her liking which regular order would have allowed — in fact required.

This is a real loss because there are more than a few Democratic members who would like to support "repeal and replacement" but will not support a bill produced in this way. Any hope at bi-partisanship is pretty much lost by this Leadership-driven process.

Even if the measure should pass the House, it is dead on arrival in the Senate.

The measure will fail because it will be a flawed product of a very bad process. This bill, should it become law, will work no better than the Pelosi-Reid product we are stuck with now.

Instead, the House Leadership should offer its bill and then allow other, competing measures to be considered along with that bill. Leadership should allow substantial friendly amendments to its product in Committee. Leadership should encourage a Democratic "repair" bill to the current system. Leadership should also allow a complete repeal to be offered as well.

In short, Leadership should allow and encourage any and all ideas for our healthcare system to be offered in both bills and in amendments.

Once all of the bills are offered then hearings can take place. Hearings which will: exhaustively discuss the current system and its tragic flaws; expose the supporters and detractors of the various ideas for substitution; allow the people to understand the possibilities; and, in the end, to win the debate.

This process would be messy, noisy, hard, and filled to the brim with partisan rancor. There will be crying mothers, crying children, crying poor people, and crying Democrats everywhere.

There will be constituents asking to better understand what is what and the members will be required to understand both the process and the various proposals — and to explain them.

There will be ersatz support groups paid for by Soros and others disrupting and demanding all manner of things which will have to be resisted.

There will be legitimate support groups on both sides fighting hard for their version.

After all of that, vote after vote will follow as the committee embraces solutions, compromises and good ideas.

Ultimately, a passage vote will result and the members on both sides will be able to make that vote safely and happily representing their districts having seen the opposition and the support at home and knowing what the real score is.

The victory will be hard and fairly won and the bill produced will be much better than the bill offered by Leadership this week. The bill will also be bi-partisan and supported with a much larger margin.

This process is what our House of Representatives was elected to do. Regular Order is a process which I as an American want and demand.

Michael Patrick Flanagan represented the 5th District of Illinois in the historic 104th Congress. Prior to his Congressional Service, Michael was commissioned in the United States Army Field Artillery. Michael and his firm, Flanagan Consulting LLC, have represented both large and small corporations, organizations, and associations. In 2009, Michael entered public service again with the United States Department of State in Iraq as the Senior Rule of Law Advisor on the Maysan Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Maysan, Iraq. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Regular Order is a process which I as an American want and demand.
paul ryan, obamacare, regular order, speaker newt gingrich
Friday, 10 March 2017 04:36 PM
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