Who will be chosen to replace David Dreier as the Chairman of the House Rules Committee?
This is a fairly important question because of the way in which the Rules Committee is essentially the master rule of controlling Congress.
The House Rules Committee is perhaps the free world's outstanding bureaucratic abomination ─a tiny, airless closet deep in the labyrinth of the Capitol where some of the very meanest people on earth spend their days cleaning democracy like a fish. The official function of the committee is to decide which bills and amendments will be voted on by Congress and also to schedule the parameters of debate. If Rules votes against your amendment, your amendment dies. If you control the Rules Committee, you control Congress.
The committee has nine majority members and four minority members. But in fact, only one of those thirteen people matters. Unlike on most committees, whose chairmen are usually chosen on the basis of seniority, the Rules chairman is the appointee of the Speaker of the House.
Dreier was essentially a human appendage of Tom DeLay, which explains a lot. He was also a staunch opponent of tax increases for any reason, which could well explain the 112th Congress's militant position on the issue, and how they managed to oppose it so effectively.
But now, he is gone. The next ranking member is Pete "sponsored by CIA asset and drug money launder Allen Stanford" Sessions*, but of course, that doesn't matter. It's all down to who John Boehner decides to pick. And that choice will tell you pretty much everything about how the next two years are going to work in the House.
*Also known for his comments about how the Republicans can learn from the example of the Taliban, his connections to Abramoff, receiver of funds from the fraudtastic Wyly brothers, receiver of bribes from Countrywide Financial and the principal member of government involved in "Blimpgate". He's not exceptionally
corrupt, but only because he hasn't yet managed to become a Senator.