The Washington Post

House GOP’s priorities: They’re still working on it

House Republican leaders have some primo legislative real estate available. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

And indeed, their first bills — numbered H.R.1-5, in wonky parlance — represented the GOP’s biggest campaign talking points, like reversing the health-care law and a pared-down spending plan. But, curiously, the bills H.R.6-9 are blank.

It’s the legislative equivalent of an empty billboard lining a highway that reads “Your Ad Here!” or a sign in a store window that promises a new establishment is “Coming Soon!”

“Reserved for the Speaker,” is the only description one gets when looking up these bills.

And if this were real estate, it would be some sweet beachfront property: Low-numbered bills are important — at least symbolically — and are usually used to highlight congressional leaders’ top priorities.

Democrats, for example, in the past have used the lofty perch of H.R. 1 for the stimulus bill and for legislation enacting the findings of the 9/11 Commission.

And it’s not like the GOP is short of ideas: members of Congress (of both parties) have introduced more than 3,600 bills this session.

Members of Congress have until the end of next year to use those bill numbers — they start from “one” every odd-numbered year, at the start of a new Congress.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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