Week Of Change 

Posted: 1:00 pm Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

By Jamie Dupree

It is a big week in the House of Representatives, as a new Congress arrives with Republicans ready to take charge, with Rep. John Boehner becoming the new Speaker on Wednesday.

Some of the change will officially occur today, as new members of the House and Senate get the keys to their offices, and Republicans are officially in charge of House operations at 12 noon today, even though the Congress does not convene until Wednesday.

That’s because of the provision in the 20th Amendment, which says the “terms of Senators and Representatives (shall end) at noon on the 3d day of January.”

When I took my kids to the Capitol one day during the Christmas Break, there were already signs up for various new Senators and House members, as the office buildings were a beehive of activity in recent days, with all of the prep work for the 112th Congress.

There are 94 newly elected House members and 10 new Senators who will be taking the oath on Wednesday, as Republicans take over the House and Democrats see their majority trimmed in the Senate.

If you are looking for the state with the biggest change, that may be Florida, which has eight new members coming into the House along with one new Senator, Marco Rubio (R).

One of the big goals for the GOP is to reign in the budget deficit, which has run over $1.3 trillion the last two years.

“We feel strongly that the best way to do that is to reduce the size, scope and reach of government,” said Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), who will again be the Chairman of the House Rules Committee.

Last week, Dreier’s name was already on the front door of the Rules Committee, which is located in tight quarters just up the stairs from the House floor on the 3rd floor of the Capitol, as he replaces Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY).

Dreier and other Republicans say they will be different from Democrats of the past four years, who routinely brought bills up for consideration on the House floor under very restrictive rules.

“We’re going to have a more open process than we’ve had in years,” said Dreier.

Dreier though had to acknowledge that this was a promise we heard from the GOP back in January of 1995, when Republicans denounced restrictive Democratic rules.

And yet when they got into power, the GOP fell into the same trap as the Democrats, putting their boot on the neck of the minority with restrictive rules that allowed for few if any amendments, and leading to complaints that echoed those of the GOP in the past year.

Over the break, I went back and read through my stories about the Republican transition to power in the House after the 1994 elections.  The similarity in the stories was eerie.  

We’ll see if the GOP can come up with a different outcome.

As I have found over the years, a lot of people talk a big game, but not everyone actually follows through on it.  Complaining is easy.  Governing is not.