The last two Republican speakers of the House have massively shut down votes on bipartisan amendments on the House floor over the last eight years. Now that Paul Ryan is on his way out and Nancy Pelosi is on her way in, suddenly everyone wants to know what she’s going to do about it. “Will Pelosi open the floor to bipartisan ideas,” the New York Times asked, a headline putting the onus on Pelosi even though the article makes clear who shut the floor:
A ProPublica analysis of congressional voting data shows that from 1991 through 2010, amendments approved with bipartisan majorities made up one of every six amendment votes in the House. Since 2011, they have been only one of every 20 such votes.
Republican Rep. Justin Amash (MI) called on Pelosi to “do better than @SpeakerRyan.” Conservative Democrats pushed her to reverse this Republican trend … to give themselves a tool to push the Democrats to the right.
Republicans have been ruthless with the tools of leadership to advance their agenda and their power. Once again, only Democrats—and Nancy Pelosi in particular, go figure, wonder why people target her specifically—get pressure to do anything about it. It would be bad if Democrats adopted the overarching Republican policy of seeking power for its own sake, but the constant calls for unilateral disarmament are tough to swallow.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.