CHC Letter to Pelosi Apparently Won’t Be Mailed

Posted February 12, 2009 at 3:43pm

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus was for sending the letter before they were against it.

A majority of the 24-member caucus voted Thursday to send a missive to Democratic leadership urging a return to regular order.

But a hiccup in their internal rules is keeping the group from telling leaders how most of them feel: The letter failed to gather the necessary two-thirds support from the Hispanic members.

The vote count was never announced at the group’s meeting, prompting some present to think it had passed — including one who later vented about “a general frustration in the House that was manifested today at the caucus meeting. [Speaker Nancy Pelosi] had to hear from even more people on this issue.”

Apparently, at least for now, she won’t.

Pelosi nonetheless brought up the process issue herself at a Thursday afternoon press conference, telling reporters, “I do think it’s important for us to now return to regular order.”

Frustration has been mounting among rank-and-file Democrats about what some have complained is a top-down leadership style that has squeezed them out of the legislative process. That sentiment was exacerbated in recent weeks over the fast-tracking of the economic stimulus package.

Last week, before Democrats left town for their annual retreat, 68 mostly moderate lawmakers penned a letter to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) asking leaders to loosen their hold on bills and allow committees to work their will.

Pelosi moved to soothe raw nerves on the issue as she welcomed the Caucus to their retreat. In her opening remarks to Democrats, she pledged to restore regular order.