I know, I know, it is man bites dog.
I certainly have been critical of the House Republican leadership and their domination by retrograde tea partiers.
Yet the leadership, Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor and the rest (take a deep breath) deserve praise for fulfilling a key promise.
That is, liberalizing (if they don’t choke on that word) the House floor procedures.
Today, the House of Representatives takes up amendments to the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Appropriations Bill.
Under an open rule.
That means most any amendment can be offered, as long is it is not legislation on an appropriations bill and does not add money to the bill.
This is free range time. Amendments can be offered on weapons programs, Afghanistan, Libya, passing audits, aid to Pakistan, Pentagon bands, a new nuclear bomber, missile defense, you name it.
Maybe free range chickens cooked in Pentagon ovens.
The same thing happened earlier this year on the Fiscal year 2011 Continuing Resolution when literally hundreds of amendments were offered, and the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Authorization Bill in May, where again, many amendments were discussed and voted upon.
Next up in the House will be the Fiscal Year 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. Again, it will be brought up under an open rule.
Moreover, the Republican leadership is willing to have amendments offered that they don’t buy into.
The House killed the second F-35 engine, much to the discomfort of the Speaker who supports the program. But he let the vote go forward.
Past leadership of both parties has insisted on tight control of the House floor, and limited debate.
The new team in the House promised openness, and has fulfilled that promise in many instances.
Another word of praise – the ridiculous slew of non-binding resolutions the House has adopted in the past in praise of all sorts of worthy birds, holidays, sports teams and the rest have been severely limited.
They were a colossal waste of time.
So now I would propose a resolution endorsing some positive contributions by Boehner, Cantor and their friends.