As it turns out, Regular Order wasn't such a good idea.
Before Paul Ryan became the Speaker of the House, he promised to return to "regular order" by opening up the amendment process with the intent of giving the
Flying Monkey Freedom Caucus a greater say in legislation that reaches the floor for a vote. That was key to gaining their support for his speakership.
What we already knew and what Speaker Ryan discovered, however, is that giving the Nutbag Caucus a greater say is a very bad idea.
Speaker Ryan is now changing the rules to ensure that all amendments are routed through committee before they're ever even considered on the floor of the House. Ryan says this change is intended to prevent House Democrats from gumming up the process, but members of the Freedom Caucus know full well that it will also prevent their amendments from reaching the floor.
“Our leadership is using this as an excuse to close down the process,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said after the meeting.
“Ostensibly, it would protect Republicans from Democrats. What they could try to do is protect all Republicans from taking difficult votes, which may be conservative issues,” Massie said.
Even if you take Speaker Ryan at his word when he says this is about streamlining the process, it's not a good look.
Ryan and other Republican leaders say this change was prompted by House Democrats successfully introducing and passing an amendment that affirms President Obama's executive order against LGBT discrimination among federal contractors.
In other words, they're upset because the House was poised to vote against discrimination. In the view of House Republicans, an amendment that affirms a stance against discrimination is a "poison pill."
The inclusion of the anti-discrimination measure prompted House Republicans to vote against their own spending bill. Because of this, House Republican leadership will now steer all amendments through a committee they can exercise control over.
Amusingly, I doubt this change will actually enable the House to start passing great amounts of legislation. Democrats are still going to vote against Ryan's agenda and the Freedom Caucus will vote against anything that doesn't have their mark on it.