Louise Slaughter

Louise Slaughter

Here’s the House Rules Committee website. On it right now you’ll find the list of amendments to the financial regulation package.

Before any bill/amendment gets to the floor, it has to go through the Rules Committee, currently chaired by Louise Slaughter. It is Rules that decides what will be voted on and what won’t, and it is one of the principle ways that House leadership controls the agenda. As in, “don’t worry about electing anti-choice Democrats, leadership will never allow anti-choice legislation onto the floor.”

When the Finance Committee was crafting the credit card reform bill, for example, nobody wanted to vote against the amendments putting a cap on interest rates. It would just look bad. But the banks were very intent that no such limitation would be passed. So, although many amendments that would have limited interest rates were passed by the Finance Committee and made it to the Rules Committee, none of them were allowed onto the floor by the Rules Committee. It saved everyone the public embarrassment of having to cast a vote that could hurt them, and allowed them to give the banks what they wanted at the same time.

Kinda sweet.

Anyway, to get an idea of where leadership wants to go with the financial regulation package, you can look at the amendments listed right now. Worthy of note:

Lobbyists are churning through these amendments right now, but the public rarely gets their oar in until debate goes to the floor. By that time, half the battle is already over.

Have a look at the amendments being offered, and let us know which ones you think need to be ditched and which ones should get a vote.