112th Congress to Hit the Hill Running

The day is upon us.  It’s been two long months since we gave the Dems a sound shellacking in the midterm elections, following by an insufferably frenzied, liberal-issue-laced lame duck session, but we will now finally see Republicans gain control of the House when the 112th Congress is sworn-in on Wednesday.

Let us rejoice.  <YAY!>

OK, time for rejoicing is over. Now it’s time to hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire.  Will they deliver on their campaign promises to return government to core conservative principles?  Will they follow through on their pledges to repeal Obamacare, cut spending, and adhere to the Constitution? If not, they will be met with angry mobs of voters brandishing not pitchforks, but 2012 ballots (well, there might be a few pitchforks).  Judging from the pre-session press buzz, it looks like the 112th Congress will hit the ground running.

When Republicans take over the House they will do something that has apparently never been done before in the chamber’s 221-year history: they will read the Constitution aloud. The reading of the Constitution is scheduled to take place Thursday, January 6.  I say, “It’s about time!” The entire document, including all 27 amendments, will be read by a procession of lawmakers who will each read a portion.  A spokesman of Congressman John Boehner said Democratic lawmakers are welcome to participate (it will be interesting to see how many do).

As promised in the Pledge to America, House Republicans will now require that every new bill contain a citation specifying the Constitutional authority to enact the proposed legislation.  This is such a departure from the norm that a five-page memo was distributed to lawmakers outlining how to determine a bill’s Constitutional authority, and a training was held for legislative aides.

House Republicans are undertaking another ambitious election promise: they’ve already set a date for repealing Obamacare (Reuters). House Republican leader Eric Cantor said the House plans to vote on legislation to repeal the health care law on January 12.  Even if repeal efforts fail (and let’s face it, they probably will thanks to Senate Democrats), House Republicans will still have considerable influence over funding (or not funding) Obamacare provisions.

Other new rules proposed by House Republicans (to be voted on January 5) include efforts to cut spending and increase transparency. For example, legislation cannot be considered unless it has been available for public viewing for three days.  Also, legislation will not be considered if it has the net effect of spending more money over one, five and 10 years (affectionately called the “cut-as-you-go” provision, meant to replaces last year’s failed “pay-as-you-go” provision).  This proposal includes language allowing for exemptions for “designated emergencies and the continuation of contingency operations related to the Global War on Terror.”

And is anyone else excited to see a new Speaker of the House?!

No doubt about it, this week (and the next two years) will be exciting!  Hopefully the business of the new Congress will be a permanent departure from business as usual. Let us be vigilant in insisting that our elected officials strive to reinstate conservative values in Washington, and when they do, let us back them up with our support.

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