It’s an unlucky strike for congressional smokers.
While female representatives may have been pleasantly surprised by Rep. John Boehner’s decision to build a more convenient bathroom for them near the House floor, the speaker-in-waiting’s fellow smokers won’t gain any such conveniences.
Boehner’s transition team told The Daily Caller that the House’s legendary chain-smoker will not reverse the Speaker’s Room smoking ban, put in place by Nancy Pelosi in 2007.
The Speaker’s Room, which lies just outside the House hall itself, had for years been the primo spot for smokers. The ascent of Boehner to the speaker’s position meant he had the power to reinstate a puffer’s paradise.
Boehner’s smoking prowess is well-known around Washington, D.C. In that respect, he’s very bipartisan and a special area behind the Capitol Hill Club was even built for him after the city’s smoking ban went into effect. Earlier this year, Bill Schieffer reproached the minority leader for his habit on Face the Nation. Channeling a hardcore libertarian, Boehner coolly blew off Schieffer’s chiding.
The changes (or lack thereof) are part of a slew of tweaks Boehner’s transition team will make to House rules in the next few weeks. Before a new speaker takes the gavel, he or she generally makes changes to the House and Conference rules, House operations, and builds the House schedule.
Boehner’s changes suggest the speaker-in-waiting means business.
Apart from making sure no one is wasting time by running down the hall for a bathroom break, Boehner hopes to place significant restriction on time-consuming and frivolous “commemorative resolutions,’” according to those on the transition team.
“No more congratulating the UCLA volleyball team for winning the national championship or recognizing the 150th anniversary of some town in Vermont,” said one transition team member.
Other possible rule changes reflecting Republican’s no-frills mentality include:
A rule that suspension bills that create a new program must be offset by eliminating another program of equal size.
A rules that if one increases the authorization of a program, it must be offset by other spending cuts.
All these House rules circulate internally and in the past have not been available to the public. The Republican-led house, however, plans to make their internal Conference rules available online for the first time.