There was a flurry of actual policy debate on Capitol Hill yesterday, as Republicans, determined to slash $60 billion to $100 billion in spending, waded through some 600 amendments, debating everything from health care reform to wild horses roundups, the Los Angeles Times reports. John Boehner has scrapped rules past speakers have used to limit debate or amendments, leading to a wide open—and somewhat chaotic—process. “We’re into some uncharted waters,” Boehner said. “I’m ready to expect whatever.”
Lawmakers found themselves debating policy as they tried to decipher each amendment, which ranged from cuts to the EPA to cuts to research on the impact of yoga on menopausal women. “I thought it was pretty darn cool,” said one Arizona lawmaker. Democrats decried the effort as “extreme and indiscriminate,” and managed to push Republicans into backtracking on some proposals—like cuts in money to local police and firefighters. But the debate will have a relatively limited effect on the deficit—even cutting 100% of nondefense discretionary spending would leave a $1 trillion deficit.