Problem Solvers Secure Reforms to House Rules: What Are They and What Do They Mean?

November 30, 2018 by TWN Staff

This week members of the Problem Solvers Caucus reached an agreement with Leader Pelosi and Rules Committee Ranking Member McGovern that they assert will help break the partisan gridlock in the U.S. House of Representatives. Announcement of the agreement comes after months of negotiations with members of leadership in both parties. Many of the Democratic members involved in the discussions vowed to withhold their votes for Leader Pelosi in her bid for Speakership if the rules changes were not adopted.

“I appreciate Leader Pelosi’s willingness to work with the Problem Solvers Caucus to support concrete reforms that will facilitate bipartisan cooperation in what will be a divided Congress,” said Representative Stephanie Murphy, a prominent member of the Problem Solvers Caucus and newly elected leader of the Blue Dog Coalition.

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus argue the new rules are commonsense reforms that will help Congress deliver real results for the American people on their most important priorities that have been procedurally blocked in Congress for too long.

“The American people are tired of hyper-partisan gridlock and want to see Members of Congress working together to solve the major challenges we face today as a nation.  Holding true to the promise I made to my constituents, I’m proud we secured these commonsense rules reforms that will increase transparency and consensus building in the U.S. Congress,” added Murphy.

The rules and reforms agreement includes the following:

  1. Every Member Gets a Voice: Adopt a rule creating a “Consensus Calendar.” Once a bill reaches 290 co-sponsors, a 25 legislative day clock will begin.  If the primary committee of jurisdiction does not report the bill by the end of the 25 legislative days, the legislation will be placed on the new “Consensus Calendar” where it will remain until the bill is considered.  For every in-session week, after February 28th of the First Session and before September 30th of the Second Session, majority leadership will be required to bring at least one bill on the “Consensus Calendar” to the Floor.
  2. Bipartisan Amendments: Create a Rules Committee Protocol that specifically adds a preference to amendments that comply with the rules, and have at least twenty Members of each party cosponsoring the amendment.
  3. Modernize the Discharge Petition: Allow discharge petitions to be considered under a 3-day notice process similar to privileged resolutions in order to facilitate their use and effectiveness, while still requiring 218 signatures. The current process only allows perfected petitions on certain Mondays and only if the House is in session on those days.
  4. Increase Committee Transparency: Require three business days’ notice for committee markups, but preserve the entire “good cause” exception.
  5. Legislative Committee Party Ratios: Commit to a more fair party ratio for committees. Since ratios change throughout the year due to resignations, special elections etc., ratios have never been and should not be set through the standing rules of the House. We are also aware of the Minority’s need to negotiate for seats they need and how setting ratios in the standing rules could inadvertently restrict their needs. However, we agree that to the extent possible party ratios on legislative committees (including Intelligence and Joint and Select Committees, but excluding Rules and Ethics) should reflect the party ratio of the entire House.
  6. A More Inclusive Amendment Process: Commit to a more fair and inclusive legislative process where more ideas and amendments are debated, and there is less of a reliance on closed rules.
  7. Preserve “Majority Markups”:Ensure that a majority of the Members of a committee can request and schedule a markup of the committee they serve on.

Congress

US Military Warns Senate About Foreign Cyber Threats Cybersecurity
US Military Warns Senate About Foreign Cyber Threats
February 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON — Senators at a congressional hearing Thursday thanked the Defense Department’s cyber security force for protecting the 2018 midterm elections but warned that foreign hacking threats are likely to only get worse. Americans sometimes unrealistically convince themselves they have the world’s best defenses against cyber-attacks, said Sen. James Inhofe,… Read More

Marijuana Businesses Ask Congress To Grant Them Banking Services Economy
Marijuana Businesses Ask Congress To Grant Them Banking Services
February 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The lack of legal banking services for marijuana-related businesses is creating unnecessary economic barriers and encouraging crime, the owner of a Washington, D.C. marijuana business told Congress this week. A House Financial Services subcommittee called the hearing to determine whether federal law that bans banking services… Read More

Congress Pauses to Remember John Dingell Congress
Congress Pauses to Remember John Dingell
February 15, 2019
by Christina Paulos

WASHINGTON — In the last 24 hours of his long life, John D. Dingell, 92, was visited by a few old friends and House colleagues. One of them was House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who eulogized Congress’ longest-serving member Thursday, and recalled that even in... Read More

Lawmakers Announce Deal to Prevent Shutdown, But Prospects Remain Uncertain In The News
Lawmakers Announce Deal to Prevent Shutdown, But Prospects Remain Uncertain
February 12, 2019
by Christina Paulos

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers late Monday reached an agreement in principle on border security that would allow them to fund the government beyond Friday, according to congressional officials from both parties. Read More

Congress Tries Again for a Deal on Border Barrier Money Congress
Congress Tries Again for a Deal on Border Barrier Money
February 10, 2019
by Christina Paulos

WASHINGTON –– Congressional negotiators dug in for a weekend of talks on a security plan that includes some sort of barrier on the U.S.-Mexican border, hoping to complete a deal that’s also acceptable to President Donald Trump and avoid another government shutdown. Read More

Net Neutrality: Poised for Bipartisan Action? Bipartisan
Net Neutrality: Poised for Bipartisan Action?
February 9, 2019
by TWN Staff

The 116th Congress ushered in the most diverse freshman class in history. While there are some vocal members on the extremes of both parties, this newly minted group of legislators is also by-and-large one of the most pragmatic in recent memory. The looming question continues to be: will these newly… Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top