It’s A One Man Show in Washington… And It’s Not Who You’re Thinking

Posted By on June 7, 2014

Here is a hint….The  office (designation) of this one man show was created in 1789 by the United States Constitution. Can you guess what his/her job title is?

It might be a shocking reality to the majority of American voters, but it is a “Stated Truth”, that the most powerful man/woman in the United States government is not directly elected, rather appointed by Congress (in which he or she is member of). It is a common misconception that the President of the United States has the most legislative and influential power, since it is he who gets both the acclaim and the fault. However, if this were true this article would not have been written. Here are the THREE reasons why the seat of the Speaker of the House of Representatives packs the biggest punch when it comes to legislative matters:

1. It’s A Brick Wall

As one of the Speaker’s constitutional powers, he and he alone has the ability to allow for delegates to speak on the House floor. This in turn allows Mr. Speaker to control debates and votes on an issue. So, the power to gridlock any bill whatsoever, whether it be a money bill started in the House, a bill signed by the president, or a law passed in the Senate, if the Speaker does not want to risk it being passed, he has the power to halt it by not allowing a vote to take place… period. This situation is very plausible, as we saw it in October of 2013 when John Boehner, the current House of Representatives Speaker, blocked the House from voting on a budget that allowed for a partial government shutdown.

2. … Controls Committees

Publically, doing what Boehner did in the example above is not ideal. So, a FAR more frequent way to get rid of legislation he doesn’t agree with is to assign it to a committee that will shoot it down. See, Mr. Speaker gets the luxury of appointing the members of select committee’s, and then gets to assign a bill to the committee that will review it. If he knows what the members of the committee support, then he can just assign it to one that will kill it. On top of that, he selects nine of the thirteen members of the Rules Committee (which then must be approved by the majority party), which handles what part of a particular bill can be amended and debated. This is a much quieter way to pass legislation or potentially stop it.

3. Good Luck Getting Him Out

Since the seat of the Speaker has no term limit, it is plausible for him to serve for life. Now will that happen? No, but it’s a very unpleasant idea. Since the majority party can change every two years, so can the speaker. But if the majority party holds power for an extended period of time, then the speaker has the all the influence and virtually unchecked power stated above for a very long time. This can be seen with John Hastert (R-Illinois), who was the speaker for eight years (1999-2007) and established himself quite easily as a major political power. So technically, I guess one could argue you could vote the Speaker out of office, but all the voters across the United States better be on the same page, because you’re going to need to elect 218 members to potentially oust one man.

*Mr. Speaker and the pronouns “him” and “he” were used throughout just for uniformity, since the incumbent is Mr. John Boehner.

Source: IAN Research

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