House

Ryan sets record for closing down debate in House: report

House Speaker Paul Ryan has reportedly set a record for closing down floor debate in the House.

Politico reported the House Rules Committee, controlled by Ryan, has not allowed lawmakers to give amendments on a bill for the 49th time — breaking a record for the most closed rules in a session.

“The Republican Majority has now made history for all the wrong reasons,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) in a statement.

{mosads}“Under Speaker Ryan’s leadership, this session of Congress has now become the most closed Congress in history.”

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said when lawmakers offer amendments, they “have to be approved by leadership before we get a vote on them.”

“And that’s not how our system is supposed to work,” he said.

“Our system was designed to reflect the will of the people … And the Speaker’s job is to ensure the system is open and [lawmakers] are given a fair opportunity to present their amendments,” he continued.

“Right now that’s really broken and it seems to me that people in power here prefer a system where you have as few votes as possible and you attach everything to one or two votes and then everyone has the excuse that they had to vote for it because it has everything in it.”

The report comes after Ryan in 2015 promised an open process.

“We’re not going to bottle up the process so much and predetermine the outcome of everything around here,” he said at the time, during his first news conference as Speaker.

Ryan told reporters Tuesday there is an “open process.”

“We’re going through the committee process,” he said. “All these bills are going through the committee.”

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) also pushed back against the idea that there is an open process.

“Open process my foot,” he said Tuesday in response to Ryan’s comments.

“I guess in the age of Donald Trump words simply don’t matter anymore. Black is white. Up is down. Open is closed. And politicians can say whatever they think sounds good and think they can get away with it — facts be damned.”

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he thinks the process has “improved,” but he would like to see more items reach the floor.

“Let’s fight it out,” he said. “If the idea can win on the floor then that’s what the American people want. That’s what the representative government is about.”

Tags amendments Donald Trump House Justin Amash Morgan Griffith Paul Ryan Speaker

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