Better Late Than Never: Boehner Swears Off Secret Deals

We have been arguing for a long time that Congressional Republicans should stop negotiating secret, back-room deals that are announced at midnight and voted on unread (which happened again with the “fiscal cliff” bill; Senators reportedly received a copy of the bill minutes before they had to vote on it). We and many others have said that, rather than taking the Democrats off the hook with jointly-sponsored back-room deals, the GOP should proceed through open, transparent processes that, among other advantages, will highlight the differences between the parties. Today, The Hill reports that John Boehner–who was-reelected as Speaker a few minutes ago, with only ten dissenting votes–has finally seen the light:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is signaling that at least one thing will change about his leadership during the 113th Congress: he’s telling Republicans he is done with private, one-on-one negotiations with President Obama.

During both 2011 and 2012, the Speaker spent weeks shuttling between the Capitol and the White House for meetings with the president in hope of striking a grand bargain on the deficit. Those efforts ended in failure, leaving Boehner feeling burned by Obama and, at times, isolated within his conference.

In closed-door meetings since leaving the “fiscal cliff” talks two weeks ago, lawmakers and aides say the Speaker has indicated he is abandoning that approach for good and will return fully to the normal legislative process in 2013 — seeking to pass bills through the House that can then be adopted, amended or reconciled by the Senate.

Congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina adds: “We have a Republican majority. We need to pass Republican bills out of the House.” That seems rather elementary, but let’s let bygones be bygones. As far as Speaker Boehner is concerned, better late than never.

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