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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

LaTourette to hold gavel today in U.S. House of Reps.

U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette is slated to hold the gavel this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in the U.S. House of Representatives.

LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, will preside over the rules package changes.
Here are some of the new rules:

n Members will not be able to introduce a bill or joint resolution without a “statement citing as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact” it. This will serve to refocus members of Congress, with every bill they introduce, on the Constitution that they take an oath to support and defend.

n No bill will be voted upon without being available online for at least three calendar days. This will ensure members, the media, and the American people have an opportunity to read the bill before any vote.

n For the first time under the House rules, “in electronic format” will be the standard by which are made bills available. Placing bills and other texts online for the American people to see will increase public scrutiny and accountability and yield a better legislative process.

Committees must:

n Post online their committee rules

n Provide 3 days notice for all markups

n Circulate the text of legislation to be marked-up no less than 24 hours before the markup

n Post online all votes in the committee 48 hours after a markup

n Make available online the text of any amendments adopted in a markup

n Post online “truth in testimony” information, “with appropriate redactions to protect the privacy of the witness” so that any conflicts of interest with hearing witnesses are made public

n Make available online the member attendance record for each hearing and markup within 24 hours

n Webcast and make available online their hearings and markups

The House rules package preserves the Office of Congressional Ethics with no changes made to its structure. The language included in the rules package is identical to that included in the rules for the 111th Congress.

Cut-as-you-go will be included in the House rules.

n The new rule states that if mandatory spending is increased, spending must be cut by an equal or greater amount elsewhere.

n Tax increases cannot be used to pay for new mandatory spending.

n This rule will, in practice, replace the Democrats’ “pay-go” rule.

Under new House rules, each appropriations bill will be required to have a “spending reduction account.”

The rules package reinstates a six-year term limit on committee chairmen, one of the central congressional reforms of the 1994 Contract with America. The term limit on committee chairmen was under Democratic control of the House.

-- John Arthur Hutchison

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