Who’s Running the Floor, Anyway?

House Republicans are relevant after all. And they appear to be running the House floor.

For the sixth time in three weeks, they have won a motion to recommit, which is the last chance for the minority to amend a piece of legislation. It is usually viewed as a pro-forma, procedural vote, but because of some very clever work by the minority leadership, and some very nervous members of the majority party, these votes have become more important.

In fact, losing motions to recommit rarely, if ever, happened when the Republicans ran the House. And it rarely happened the last time the Democrats ran the House.

Why is this happening?

First, Democrats aren’t used to running the House with this slim of a majority. In 1994, they had a huge advantage and could run roughshod over the minority. Not so this year. But the old bulls that run the committees for the Democrats haven’t adjusted to the new leadership.

Second, the Democratic leadership isn’t trusted by many of its rank-and-file members. To the liberals, they aren’t liberal enough. To the moderates, they are way too liberal.

Third, it is a center-right country, and the House still has a center-right majority. Look what happened to the gun vote yesterday. The Democrats can’t allow the NRA to win, but they can’t beat them.

Fourth, House Republicans are unified and they have adjusted well to their new minority status. They have decided that it is a good strategy to win on the floor, and they are making decisions that may not please certain constituencies, but will help them win.

Take note, Washington. House Republicans are relevant, and they are winning time and time again on the House floor.

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