Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is blaming two major legislative losses this week on his party's lack of committee organization.
The top-ranking House Republican told reporters on Thursday that leaders wanted to “get off to a fast start,” which meant moving bills that had not been vetted by committees.
Earlier this week, Republican leaders suffered several legislative setbacks when measures to extend the Patriot Act and to defund a United Nations security project failed on the House floor.
Upon claiming the House gavel, Boehner, who previously served as Education and Workforce Committee chairman, promised to move most bills through “regular order” to allow the committees to write and mark-up bills considered on the floor. Boehner said that until this week — five weeks into the start of session — not all committees had the chance to formally “organize.”
“I think the committee process is important because you can work out the kinks of a bill … and because a lot of these committees weren’t organized we weren’t able to do our work through the committee process,” Boehner said.
Earlier this week, Boehner told reporters that GOP leaders are “not going to be perfect every day,” after 26 Republicans voted against extending the Patriot Act under an expedited floor maneuver that required two-thirds of those voting to support the bill for passage.
“I really do believe that it’s early in the process — the House worked its will under the suspension bills and the bill failed,” Boehner said on Thursday.
The measure that would have defunded the United Nations, however, was called up as a part of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) signature “You Cut” program.
Asked if Cantor’s “You Cut” items would also go through the committee process, Boehner responded that it was up to Cantor to make that decision.
To date, so-called “You Cut” measures have not been subject to committee mark-up.