Four years ago, the then-Minority Democrats promised a “new direction.”  Today, they have become the “Wrong Way Congress.”  Today, my Rules Committee Republicans and I released a report with the same title explaining the procedural abuses and failures of the 111th Congress.  They have pursued the wrong bills in the wrong way at the wrong time.  The House Rules Committee Democrats have been in the driver’s seat through it all, planning and executing the strategy.  At the direction of Speaker Pelosi, they have rewritten much of the major legislation passed by this Congress, sometimes in the middle of the night.  They have engineered the exclusion of opposing viewpoints and steered around the regular legislative process to meet the ends of a Majority driven by partisan concerns.

Most notably, it has also been the Rules Committee Democrats who have protected this Majority’s record-setting spending increases by virtually eliminating the opportunity to amend spending bills.  The 111th Congress is the first in 221 years that has not allowed one bill to be considered under an open amendment process.  This fact alone makes the “Wrong Way Congress” the most closed Congress in history.

Speaker Pelosi’s agenda of the failed “stimulus,” the unsuccessful Cap and Trade, and healthcare “reform” bills is well known for its negative economic impact, but this trio of job-killers is also known for the procedural abuses employed to guarantee their passage.  The final version “stimulus” bill was available for only an hour when it reached the Rules Committee.  Fewer than 18 hours later, Members were voting on it.  The rush, we were told, was necessary to keep the unemployment rate below eight percent.  It now stands at 9.6 percent.  The Cap and Trade energy legislation ignited the “Read the Bill” movement when, at 3 a.m. on the same day as the House vote, it was rewritten by a 300 page amendment in the Rules Committee.  The Democrats’ wildly unpopular healthcare “reform” legislation also remains tainted by the procedure used to force it through.  They tried to pass it with the “Slaughter Solution,” named for Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter.  This extreme abuse of the House Rules would have allowed the Democrats to “deem and pass” the Senate’s version without an actual up or down vote.  It was eventually abandoned after an open rebellion from members of the Democratic Caucus and the American people.

These and other black eyes have brought the “Wrong Way Congress” to the point of parody.  Last week, comedian Stephen Colbert brought national attention to the arrogance of this Congress, rather than the issue on which he was invited to testify.  As Mr. Colbert explained in his “testimony,” just like Members of Congress, he hadn’t read the bill in question.  Unfortunately, the record of this Majority is no joke.  Rather than focusing on job creation, the “Wrong Way Congress” pursued an agenda based on reckless spending, increased regulation and higher taxes.  They did so by employing heavy-handed tactics, parliamentary maneuvering, and by ignoring the will of the American people.  It has led them, and most important the American people, to a dead end.

There are important lessons to be learned from the “Wrong Way Congress” — Less debate does not convey more credibility.  Attempts to micro-manage the legislative process often create bigger problems than they solve.  Fundamentals, like budgets and spending priorities matter.  The American people deserve and expect a say in how the Congress conducts its business.  Despite Speaker Pelosi’s assertion that their work is done, important decisions still lie ahead before the conclusion of the 111th Congress.  It’s not too late for the “Wrong Way Congress” to make a U-turn and take these lessons to heart.