If Republicans win the House in November, John Boehner and his top lieutenants say they’re ready to spread the power.
Look for a return of committee influence in preparing legislation — re-establishing the authority of diminished chairmen — and an easing of the hammerlock that leaders of both parties have exercised.
They make clear that they plan not only to change the top-down management style of Speaker Nancy Pelosi but also to pare back the excesses and power plays that occurred during the 12 years of Republican control under Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay.
“We will restructure the House,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). “We will empower the public. We will have more open debate.”
For a preview of the freshman class:
Yet Boehner would be different from the past three speakers in that he is a former chairman — he held the Education and Workforce Committee gavel for five years — so he would come to the speaker’s office with a more sympathetic view of the traditional authority of committee chairmen.
Several factors are pressing to make the House more open. Committee leaders and rank-and-file members in both parties have been chafing under the leadership dominance that increasingly has ruled the House since Democrats lost their majority in 1994. That pressure will be reinforced by a rambunctious Republican freshman class that could exceed 60 members if the GOP takes control.