The constitutional role of the House of Representatives to police its Members for misconduct has been been non-functional for most of the last two years due to partisan in-fighting. Putting the system back on track for the good of the House and nation will require a commitment by leaders of both parties. Exactly what procedural changes are necessary may still be a matter of contention.
Over the last three decades majority parties in Congress have come to dominate the policy agenda, often at the expense of committees and deliberative lawmaking. In this article from Roll Call's Procedural Politics column, Wolfensberger finds evidence of this power shift in the growing prominence of leadership staff over committee staff and in the number of unreported bills given major status by the party leaders.
October 15, 2007 By Don Wolfensberger,Roll Call Contributing Writer
A recent study credits Congresses of the last decade as being more civil than their predecessors in the 1990s. However, the study is based on the narrow metric of how often House Members are called to order for uttering unparliamentary language questioning the character of a colleague. Wolfensberger maintains that such acts of incivility may be down but the “uncivility” of depersonalizing and ignoring Members of the other party is on the upswing.