Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the Speaker in waiting, reportedly has promised to shift some power over policymaking back to committees. This is good to hear. The history of the House of Representatives over the past 50 years is a story of power flowing upward to the Speaker.  As Don Wolfensberger recently pointed out in this publication, for much of the 20th century, the House was a place where members of both parties had opportunities to bargain with one another to forge bipartisan compromises that pleased voters generally. The process was often messy with bills being debated and amended in committee and then on the floor, but it tended to work. Legislators got to be lawmakers, and the Speaker was very much a facilitator who partnered with the committee chairs to get things done…. (Read more)