Jan 4, 2015
by Congressman Thomas Massie
Washington is broken, and the public knows it. Many have attributed our government’s dysfunction to factors such as campaign financing, gerrymandering, lack of transparency, career politicians, disregard for the Constitution and hyper-partisanship.
I concede all of these contribute to the problem. But after coming to Washington, I discovered a bigger, less obvious source of congressional dysfunction. The House of Representatives has devolved into a theatrical stage for congressmen to perform for their constituents, while most legislative power is vested within the office of speaker.
To understand the power that today’s speaker wields requires understanding how the House works. All legislation ostensibly passes through committees. The chair of each committee should in theory have the authority to make decisions regarding which bills will pass through his committee and receive a vote on the House floor.