It's not a good idea to give the Rules Committee the power to block amendments to the appropriations bills. For example, consider last week when Representatives Thomas Massie and Walter Jones tried to offer an amendment to the legislative branch appropriations bill to stop the use of taxpayer funding for private offices of ex-speakers.
The Rules Committee did not make this amendment in order, so there was no vote on ending taxpayer subsides for ex-speakers.
For more on this amendment see here and below:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Thomas Massie and Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC) introduced an amendment to the legislative branch appropriations bill to defund the post-speaker office that retired speakers enjoy for up to five years after they leave office. The practice started in 1971 when former Speaker John McCormack retired. In the past 45 years, the perk has grown to include office allowances, franking privileges, and staff help for the former speaker. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert spent $1.9 million in taxpayer money running his post-speaker office. Meanwhile, he was making big money as a Washington, D.C. lobbyist and had the disposable income to pay $1.7 million to someone who was blackmailing him over allegedly molesting young boys. Late last night, the House Rules Committee blocked the amendment from receiving debate and a vote on the House floor.
“This federal expense benefits a constituency of one – the ex-Speaker. While this amendment would eliminate a relatively small amount of federal spending, we have to start somewhere if we are serious about addressing our national debt,” said Congressman Massie. “I am confident that if we ever get this legislation to the floor, every member of Congress will vote with us to eliminate this waste of taxpayer dollars.”
“It is ridiculous that a former speaker needs 5 years and millions of taxpayer dollars to maintain an office in the Capitol building,” said Congressman Jones. “They are no longer a member of Congress. Upon leaving office, former speakers have access to many perks and opportunities, including government pensions, book deals, lobbying, speaking engagements, and consulting. If they want an office, they can pay for it themselves. We need to cut this unnecessary taxpayer-funded perk and deal with our $19 trillion debt.”
Last year, Congressmen Massie and Jones introduced a bill de-authorizing the post-speaker office, and sent a letter to Speaker Ryan about the need to de-authorize the office.
Tags: thomas massie, Congress, Walter Jones