Democrats Dictate Plans for Congress, GOP Says

Reps. Adam Putnam, outgoing Majority Leader John Boehner, Kay Granger, John Carter and Roy Blunt. i i

Back in the Shadows? Reps. Adam Putnam (R-FL) (from left), outgoing Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Kay Granger (R-TX), John Carter (R-TX) and outgoing Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) discuss the coming sessions on Capitol Hill. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Alex Wong/Getty Images
Reps. Adam Putnam, outgoing Majority Leader John Boehner, Kay Granger, John Carter and Roy Blunt.

Back in the Shadows? Reps. Adam Putnam (R-FL) (from left), outgoing Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Kay Granger (R-TX), John Carter (R-TX) and outgoing Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) discuss the coming sessions on Capitol Hill.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats hope to start the 110th Congress off with a bang, passing an ethics overhaul, stem-cell research legislation, and raising the minimum wage, among other proposals. But Republican House members complain about being shut out of the planning process.

When the new Congress is sworn in Thursday, for the first time in 12 years, the Democrats will be in control. In addition to a historic first — Nancy Pelosi will become the first woman speaker of the House — the new Democratic majority plans to bar Republicans from offering amendments to bills the House will take up in its first 100 hours.

Republicans employed a similar tactic in their 12 years as the House majority, barring Democrats' amendments, not letting them see bills until they were to be voted onm and giving them little input in committees.

But Florida Republican Adam Putnam says the situations are not similar.

"The difference is the important point here is that the American people were promised a new way of doing business in the 110th Congress," Putnam says. "There was clearly a high level of frustration in the heartland about the way people viewed the workings and procedures in this building, and they were promised a fresh approach, a fresh start."

Democrats have defended their stance on the first 100 hours, saying the legislation to be taken up, which includes raising the minimum wage, has been through the committee process. And Democrats promise that once the opening week's rush has ended, they will allow more input from Republicans.

Meanwhile, Democrats met behind closed doors to discuss the final details of the first measure they'll bring to the House floor Thursday, a package of ethics rules changes, including a ban on gifts, meals and travel from lobbyists.

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