GOP Leaders Say House Rules Package ‘Does Not Represent Change’

By Melanie Hunter-Omar | January 5, 2009 | 4:45 PM EST

( – House Republicans are calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reconsider her plan to change House rules to end term limits for committee chairs.
When Republicans were in the majority in 1995, the House adopted fairness rules written in conjunction with Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” which included six-year term limits for committee chairs to encourage fresh ideas and guard against strict longevity.
In a letter to Pelosi on Monday, GOP leaders including Minority Leader John Boehner, Conference Chairman Mike Pence, and Republican Whip Eric Cantor said the rules package that Pelosi is considering would restrict the opportunity for members to offer alternative legislation which Republicans guaranteed to Democrats as “motions to recommit.”
“President Obama has pledged to lead a government that is open and transparent,” the leaders wrote. “This [rules package] does not represent change; it is reverting back to the undemocratic one-party rule and backroom deals that the American people rejected more than a decade ago. 
“And it has grave implications for the American people and their freedom, coming at a time when an unprecedented expansion of federal power and spending is being hastily planned by a single party behind closed doors. Republicans will vigorously oppose repealing these reforms if they are brought to a vote on the House floor,” they added.
“This is not the kind of openness and transparency that President-elect Obama promised,” the leaders concluded. “This change would deprive tens of millions of Americans the opportunity to have a voice in the most important policy decisions facing our country… Changing the House rules in the manner highlighted by recent media reports would have the opposite effect: further breaching the trust between our nation’s elected representatives and the men and women who send them to Washington to serve their interests and protect their freedom.”