Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
Soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner promised throughout the campaign season to run the House of Representatives differently from the way Democrats have run it for four years and from the way the last Republican regime conducted business.
Now that his party has won enough seats to retake power in the chamber, Boehner began making those changes Wednesday.
First on his agenda was the way the speaker travels to and from home: Boehner said he will fly commercial to his Ohio district as he always has.
Boehner's decision would be a change in protocol from Nancy Pelosi, who came under fire for using Air Force aircraft
to fly home to her San Francisco district. Her predecessor, former Speaker Dennis Hastert, also used military jets to travel back and forth to Chicago.
Beyond changing travels arrangements, Boehner also said he wants the House of Representatives to be more open and transparent than in years past. To tackle that job, he has tapped Rep. Greg Walden to lead a group of GOP members to propose changes to House rules and procedures. The group began meeting Tuesday and will keep talking throughout the week.
Finally, Boehner said he wants changes in federal government pay. A USA Today analysis
found that the number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office.
"There ought to be a freeze on the hiring of new federal employees and, frankly, we ought to freeze the pay," Boehner said. "It's gotten to a point where the average federal worker makes twice as much as the average...private-sector worker."
The House convenes next week for an organizing session, in which Democrats and Republicans will select their new leaders and new members will go through orientation. The House and Senate will both return to Washington after Thanksgiving for a lame duck session to complete any unfinished legislative business.