House G.O.P. Promises Open Amendment Process on all Spending Legislation

By Dan Joseph | November 5, 2010 | 1:32 PM EDT

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), head of GOP House transition team. (AP photo)

( - Once Republicans take control of the House of Representatives this January, even minority Democrats will be able to offer amendments to reduce spending for all spending legislation that comes before the chamber -- something that was not allowed under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

This promise was reiterated on Thursday by Rep. Greg Walden(R-Ore.), who has been put in charge of the G.O.P House transition team, which will oversee the transfer of power from the Democrats to the Republicans.

In a press conference held Thursday in the Capitol, Walden said that Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the expected new speaker of the House, plans to treat the Democratic minority far differently than the Democratic caucus treated Republicans in recent years.

“He [Boehner] has been very clear to us, to our conference, and I think to you all, that he intends to open up this House and have open rules,” said Walden. “I’m not here to say it’s going to be every single item -- that’s not my role -- but that’s his view and he’s made it clear to us.”

In September, the GOP included a promise in its “Pledge to America” to open up the rules process.

“By forbidding amendments on spending bills, Democrats have denied lawmakers the opportunity to tighten Washington’s belt and slash wasteful and duplicative programs,” the Pledge reads. “Structure dictates behavior, so we will let any lawmaker — Democrat or Republican — offer amendments to reduce spending.”

This promise represents a change from the last four years under Democratic control when Republican members were often blocked from offering amendments by Democratic leadership.

Walden is in the process of putting together a team made up of 22 GOP House members who will oversee a restructuring of House rules intended to increase House efficiency both legislatively and procedurally. A transition Web site has been created.

Walden said that Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) had been “helpful” and “accommodating” in assisting with the early stages of the transition process.