House members caucus for greater civility

Feb. 14, 2005 at 1:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Fed up with a breakdown of civility in the U.S. House, Reps. Tim Johnson, R-Ill., and Steve Israel, D-N.Y., have formed a caucus to do something about it.

The Center Aisle Caucus, its founders said, will meet regularly to find ways to improve decorum, a process that will include analyzing and recommending changes to House rules and procedures that will improve relations between Republicans and Democrats.

Johnson and Israel are set to join Wednesday with former House Speaker Tom Foley, D-Wash., and former House Minority Leader Bob Michel, R-Ill., to announce the group's formation, Roll Call said Monday.

"We are going to take a look substantively at things like the rules that make people feel disenfranchised or disempowered. We want to look at fostering fairer debate," Israel said.

Johnson echoed Israel's assertion the idea was hatched during their time in the House gym.

"We both have felt that the level of animosity and rancor and bickering has exponentially increased, and we mutually agreed that we needed to do something about it," he said.

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