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JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE ORGANIZATION OF CONGRESS
[Authorized by H. Con. Res. 192, 102d Congress]
JIM SASSER, Tennessee
DAVID L. BOREN, Oklahoma, Co-Chairman
GEORGE J. MITCHELL, Maine, Ex Officio
G. KIM WINCUP, Staff Director
Hon. John A. Boehner, a U.S. Representative from the State of Ohio
Hon. Charles H. Taylor, a U.S. Representative from the State of North
Hon. John T. Doolittle, a U.S. Representative from the State of California......
Hon. Jim Nussle, a U.S. Representative from the State of Iowa............................
Hon. Rick Santorum, a U.S. Representative from the Commonwealth of Penn-
Hon. Karen Shepherd, a U.S. Representative from the State of Utah
Hon. Eric Fingerhut, a U.S. Representative from the State of Ohio.
Hon. Ronald K. Machtley, a U.S. Representative from the State of Rhode
Hon. Jack Quinn, a U.S. Representative from the State of New York..
Hon. Martin T. Meehan, a U.S. Representative from the Commonwealth of
Hon. Roscoe G. Bartlett, a U.S. Representative from the State of Maryland..
Hon. Paul McHale, a U.S. Representative from the Commonwealth of Penn
Hon. William Zeliff, a U.S. Representative from the State of New Hampshire..
Hon. Tillie Fowler, a U.S. Representative from the State of Florida.
Hon. Charles T. Canady, a U.S. Representative from the State of Florida.
Hon. John Linder, a U.S. Representative from the State of Georgia.
Hon. Jay Kim, a U.S. Representative from the State of California.
Hon. Gerald Solomon, a U.S. Representative from the State of New York .....
Hon. Mac Collins, a U.S. Representative from the State of Georgia.
OPERATIONS OF THE CONGRESS: TESTIMONY OF CURRENT REPRESENTATIVES ON STRUCTURE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1993
UNITED STATES CONGRESS,
The Joint Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:00 a.m., in room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Lee H. Hamilton (co-chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. LEE H. HAMILTON, A U.S.
Chairman HAMILTON. The meeting of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress will come to order. Today we will be hearing from 44 Members of the House. We have asked the Members to appear in response to an open invitation from the Joint Committee to all of the Members, asking for their testimony; and we are asking them today to appear roughly in the order of seniority, although, clearly, we will have to make some adjustments as we go through the day's schedule to try to accommodate activity on the Floor and the schedule of Members.
We did want to hear first from David Price, however. He is a nationally recognized scholar of the Congress, has written a book about it, taught congressional politics at Duke for two decades, and I guess has written not just one, but several books on the subject of congressional operations. So as a Member and as a scholar, he has an extraordinary view of this institution, and we welcome him here today to begin the testimony of the Members.
In several cases as we move along, Members have indicated to us that they would be testifying on the same topic, so we have tried to group some of these Members together in order to give coherence to the testimony.
Mr. Dreier, do you have any opening comments?
Mr. DREIER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me first congratulate Mr. Price for not only being here, but for Duke's great victory, and also to say that I would like to extend apologies from my colleague from Missouri, Mr. Emerson, who very much wanted to be here, but unfortunately, due to the fact that he was one of the co-chairmen of the prayer breakfast, he is meeting with
a number of delegates from around the world here in town, and he is unable to be here this morning, but is hoping to be here later.
I also, Mr. Chairman, would like to enter into the record at this point an opening statement from my colleague, the distinguished Ranking Republican on the Rules Committee, Mr. Solomon.
Chairman HAMILTON. Without objection, that will be entered into the record.
[The statement of Mr. Solomon is printed in the Appendix.] Chairman HAMILTON. Mr. Price, welcome, and you may begin.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. DAVID E. PRICE, A U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Mr. PRICE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Dreier. I appreciate your warm welcome and also the congratulations, although I would have to say that whenever Carolina plays Duke in central North Carolina, we win either way. And I particularly feel that way as a Representative from that area.
I am glad for the chance to appear before you today and to discuss with you the way Congress might be more effectively organized. Your committee is taking on a critical task at a critical time. The American people are experiencing great frustration with governmental ineffectiveness and paralysis. We know we can do better, and an important part of doing better is to improve the performance of this institution.
This morning I have one main purpose in mind, and that is to urge you, as you begin your work, to take care to distinguish genuine congressional reform for much of what is being peddled these days under that label.
I also will highlight a few areas of needed change, mainly pertaining to the House of Representatives, the chamber in which I
Prior to my first election to the House, I worked as an aide to the late Senator Bob Bartlett of Alaska, I wrote a lateral dissertation, and then spent some 17 years as a political scientist writing and teaching about Congress. These were the years, early on, that produced books with titles like Obstacle Course on Capitol Hill and House Out of Order by our own champion of reform in the House, Richard Bolling. The policy frustrations and failings of the early 1960s in particular suggested the need for a performance-based critique and reform agenda, a need that was lessened, but not totally removed by the post-1964 spate of congressional productivity.
This strain of reform, which was kept alive by such Members as Bolling and Morris Udall, helped produce positive changes, particularly after the arrival of the post-Watergate class of 1974; the reining in, for example, of the House Rules Committee and its establishment as an arm of the leadership; strengthened leadership control over committee assignments on both sides of the aisle; strengthened leadership control over bill reversals, Floor operations, and a measure of accountability by committee chairs to the party caucus.
The reforms of the 1970s were not driven solely by a desire for efficient and responsive policymaking, but there were other goals: a desire to democratize the chamber, a desire to distribute authority