Republicans in the US House of Representatives set a record, in 2013, for most closed sessions in history, a report says.
The House majority, Republicans, adopted 44 closed rules over 12 months – the highest number on record for any year, The Huffington Post reported Monday. A closed rule is a procedural tactic used by the majority to block any amendments to bills that are up for vote on the House floor, unless those recommended by the committee reporting the bill. Historically, the maneuver has been used by both parties while in majority. Democrats revealed that Republicans set a record in the use of closed rules to further their own political agenda and accepted the least input from the minority party in the lawmaking process, according to officials who previewed the strategy for The Huffington Post. The statistics are laid out in detail in a "Minority Views" article that Democrats will submit to the House record. The numbers show that Republicans adopted 19 closed rules during the government shutdown in October, the most in a single week; the House GOP approved 11 closed rules on Oct. 4, also during the shutdown and the most in a single day; and House Republicans approved 20 closed rules for appropriations bills over the last year, more than any other year on record for the typically open appropriations process. "Under this closed regime, the majority pursued a partisan agenda with vigor, holding 46 votes to undermine the Affordable Care Act, taking the full faith and credit of the United States hostage and shutting down the government in order to placate an extreme faction of the majority," House Democrats wrote. "Meanwhile, important national priorities such as reforming a broken immigration system, preventing gun violence and extending emergency unemployment benefits went unaddressed." Doug Andres, a spokesman for Republicans on the Rules Committee, however, defended the numbers. "Openness cannot be judged solely on the number of closed rules," Andres told HuffPost. "Further, when you consider that the House has returned to consideration of most of the regular spending bills under a completely open process, combined with a more favorable treatment of all members offering amendments, Speaker Boehner's record of openness eclipses the Democrats' record when Nancy Pelosi was speaker." Democrats are hoping to benefit from the public frustration with the Republicans highlighting GOP obstructionism and subsequent inaction on immigration and tax reform, gun control and other spending measures in the run-up 2014 midterm elections.