Two Former House Members’ Plea to Return to Regular Order

Former Reps. Cliff Stearns, R-FL, and Martin Frost, D-TX, write in The Hill:

“The average rank-and-file member, which means the vast majority of senators and representatives, no longer has any true input when it comes to major bills. Committee hearings where both sides of the aisle can invite and interview experts now mostly happen to produce hyper-partisan sound bites to satisfy the 24-hr cable news cycle.

“Our experience was different, professionally much more satisfying, and produced better results. Via regular order members could introduce legislation, which then would be referred to committees with jurisdiction. Then, the members of Congress serving on those appropriate committees—who had a certain degree of expertise on the subject matter and were supported by professional staff that dealt with corresponding issues on a daily basis—would examine the strengths and weaknesses of proposed legislation. The process allowed for Democrats and Republicans, in a vigorous clash of ideas, to debate the merits of each piece of the bill, examine expert witnesses, and offer amendments during markup….”