The 'Learning Curve': Comparing Boehner's Record As Speaker With Pelosi's
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WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has struggled to project an image of serenity in the opening weeks of the 112th Congress while working to rein in nearly 90 freshman lawmakers.
Some Republicans have suggested that the difficulties that Boehner and the rest of the new House leadership have encountered, such as a backlash over spending cuts, are part of a natural learning curve. But when Democrats took control of the House under President George W. Bush in 2007, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn't have that experience.
Gaveled in on Jan. 5, 2011, Boehner presided over the passage of four bills during his first month as speaker, with a total of just 25 votes. The most notable of those was a repeal the president's signature health care law -- a move that was viewed as a strictly symbolic gesture, as it is not expected to pass or even get a vote in the Senate.
By contrast, Pelosi, gaveled in on Jan. 4, 2007, led the Democratic Congress in passing 19 bills during her first month as speaker, including all six of the bills targeted in her "First 100 Hours" agenda.
Why the discrepancy? Well, part of it is that Democratic Congress of 2007 spent more of its first month in session: As of Feb. 1, 2007, Congress had been in session for 16 days, 134 hours, and 50 minutes, according to the Congressional Record.
By contrast, this year Republican leadership determined the House would be in session for only 11 days, 62 hours, and 5 minutes of its first month, according to the Congressional Record. Some of that time was spent reading the U.S. Constitution on the House floor; original parts of the Constitution that were later amended, including sections referencing slavery, were omitted.
Florida Rep. Bill Young (R), a 38-year veteran of the House, has insisted that the GOP's legislative difficulties can be chalked up to growing pains. "The new majority has different leadership than the last time we actually were the majority. [They] have to make their own way, they have to make their own decisions, set their own policies," Young recently told Politico. "There's a learning curve for leaders. There's a learning curve for members."
HuffPost has compiled a slideshow of the top six achievements (or missteps) of Pelosi's and Boehner's first six weeks as speaker. Which do you think is the most significant accomplishment?