The Friday Faxline Issue 489
Democrats keep rule limiting terms for committee chairmanships
Democrats officially took power in the House on Thursday. After electing Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the first ever female Speaker of the House, they quickly moved to institute a number of changes to House rules. One change many expected was ending a rule that placed term limits on committee chairmanships. Republicans first implemented the rule in 1995 - limiting committee chairmanships to three consecutive terms (six years) for any one member. But, despite broad distaste for the rule among Democrats, they voted to keep the term limit measure in place for the time being. However, some senior Democrat members, as well as some top aides, have indicated that a move to eliminate the rule may come sometime later in the year after Democrats complete their "100 hours agenda."
Five bipartisan initiatives reintroduced in 110th Congress
With the change of power in the newly convened 110th Congress, Republican Members of Congress will have a much tougher time getting their bills considered in committee and on the floor. However, I have been working on a number of bipartisan issues for several years that should be acceptable to a Democratic Congress. This week I highlighted five such initiatives that I plan to reintroduce in this session of Congress: open space preservation, flexibility in local public transit funding, access to quality health care, help for the working poor, and protecting vulnerable refugees. I'm hopeful they will become law in the new Congress. You can read more on these initiatives on my website: http://www.house.gov/pitts/press/releases/07-01-05r-BipartisanAgenda.htm
Former Bush Press Secretary ends rumors of possible political bid
President Bush's first White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer, earned respect in political circles for his deft handling of the daily on-camera briefings with the Washington press corps. Since stepping down from that position in July, 2003, Fleischer has maintained a much lower profile. However, rumors had been circling in Washington and elsewhere that Fleischer might make the move back into public life with a run for Congress in 2008. Fleischer put down those rumors this week, however, telling Human Events that he has no interest in running right now. He cites his successful work in the private sector and his desire to spend time with his family as reasons for staying out of any Congressional contest. He also added, "I don't want my children to grow up to be Redskins fans."
House Republicans seek to retain rule protecting taxpayers
One of the first actions taken by the new Republican House majority in 1995 was to pass a House rule requiring a three-fifths supermajority vote in order to raise taxes. The idea was to put a major hurdle in the way of Congress taking more money from hardworking Americans. This week, the new Democrat majority's House rules package implemented a provision that would allow this rule to be waived with a simple majority vote. Republicans offered an alternative that would keep the supermajority requirement in place, without a waiver provision, but it was defeated on a party-line vote. The Bush tax cuts have stimulated the economy and reduced unemployment. Increasing taxes on Americans would deal a blow to our economic performance and should be strongly resisted by Congress.
Quote of the Week
"To know Jerry was to know a Norman Rockwell painting come to life."
-President George H.W. Bush, speaking at Tuesday's funeral service for President Gerald Ford.