By The Hill Staff - 02/15/05 12:00 AM EST
Reps. Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) are forming a caucus aimed at elevating the level of discourse in the House.
Johnson said it would be difficult to form a consensus on contentious social issues like gun control, so the caucus instead would to focus on issues such as Social Security and veterans’ benefits.
The Center Aisle Caucus will focus on both process and policy, Israel said, because “a vindictive process leads to poor policy.”
Israel said he wants to eliminate “martial-law rules,” which he defined as “when a bill that needs time to age is just thrown on the floor for a quick glance and vote.” He said the group would like to see the House adopt rules more similar to those in the Senate, which give the minority much more power than in the House.
No members have yet been invited to join, but Israel said interest among members is strong.
Johnson and Israel will hold a press conference tomorrow morning with former House Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash.) and former Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.) to discuss the new caucus.
Mark H. Rodeffer