Cantor’s proposals to change Congress

Last week Eric Cantor, the House Minority Whip, announced his intention to run for House Majority Leader and simultaneously released a 22 point proposal on how to change Congress. Most of it seems procedural rather than substantive, along the lines of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America. But some of it is substantive, like a proposal to do away with legislation recognizing individuals, groups, events and institutions. In other words, no more symbolic celebration of various interest groups and causes, a completely gratuitous and inappropriate activity of Congress which has been going on as long as I can remember.

Politico reports:

Cantor, currently the GOP whip, began calling colleagues to shore up his support and wrote a letter promising to change Congress—saying he wants to “drain the swamp rather than learning to swim with the alligators.” [Video]

The document is entitled “Delivering on Our Commitment” and promises a broad range of sweeping initiatives ranging from spending cuts to to bringing each item of the Pledge to America to the floor for a vote. It’s a bold plan that shows Cantor wants to be taken as a serious House reformer and policy leader as he ascends to the no. 2 slot in the new GOP hierarchy.

Cantor is not expected to face serious challenge from fellow Republicans for majority leader.

One major reform he’s facing is scheduling the House floor, which POLITICO reported last week. Cantor is proposing committee hearings be uninterrupted by votes, and is also urging committee reports to be brought to the floor for debate.

Cantor says he wants to do away with legislation recognizing “individuals, groups, events and institutions.” In the past, Congresses in the past have passed legislation that honors entities such as baseball teams and universities. Republicans, the Virginian thinks, should only name post offices once a month.

He’s also taking aim at oversight, urging individual members to conduct oversight on their own, asking committees to write quarterly oversight reports and boosting field hearings.

Spending, a major priority of Republicans’, also gets top billing from Cantor. He says he will try to ensure that all new spending has “explicitly” listed how it will be paid for and how the legislation fits into the constitution. He’s likely going to upset some appropriators, because Cantor re-iterated his plan to end earmarking, promising to “not consider House legislation that includes” the member directed spending. He is also vowing to defund piece by piece Democratic health care overhaul.

On jobs, Cantor is planning to “conduct an immediate and comprehensive review of existing and proposed government rules and regulations”—echoing a major complaint of Republicans over the last year.

In a throwback to the past, Cantor is aiming to bring rescission bills to the floor under an open rule so members could cut federal spending they deem as wasteful. In addition, he plans to continue the YouCut program—a plan much maligned by Democrats which put spending cuts in the hands of online users. In the beginning of the last Republican majority in 1995, the GOP had internal clashes over spending cuts, especially when members sought to slash items in other Republicans’ districts.

Entitlement reform is also in the crosshairs of the Virginia Republican. President Barack Obama, Cantor says, wont work with Republicans to “enact real entitlement reform unless it includes major tax increases.” But Republicans, he said, should lay out their plan and encourage Democrats to do the same.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 09, 2010 07:30 AM | Send

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