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

Congress Has Tried More Than 200 Times to Pass an Anti-Lynching Law. This Year, It Could Fail Again Congress
Congress Has Tried More Than 200 Times to Pass an Anti-Lynching Law. This Year, It Could Fail Again
December 9, 2018
by Christina Paulos

It was nearly a century ago that Rep. Leonidas C. Dyer, a Republican from Missouri, introduced a bill to make lynching a federal crime. With vigilante slayings of African-Americans rampant, it promised to force the federal government... Read More

After CIA’s Khashoggi Briefing, GOP Senators Say It’s Clear Saudi Crown Prince Was Complicit Congress
After CIA’s Khashoggi Briefing, GOP Senators Say It’s Clear Saudi Crown Prince Was Complicit
December 5, 2018
by Christina Paulos

After a closed-door CIA briefing about the slaying of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, key Senate Republicans sharply contradicted President Donald Trump on Tuesday and said there was no question that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman orchestrated the killing. Read More

Congress Looks to Delay Fight Over Government Shutdown Until Right Before Christmas Congress
Congress Looks to Delay Fight Over Government Shutdown Until Right Before Christmas
December 4, 2018
by Christina Paulos

Consumed by the funeral of President George H.W. Bush and still divided over funding for border security, Congress is moving to push back Friday’s government shutdown deadline until Dec. 21. The delay could provide... Read More

Comey Ends Resistance to Subpoena, Will Testify Privately Friday Congress
Comey Ends Resistance to Subpoena, Will Testify Privately Friday
December 3, 2018
by Christina Paulos

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify Friday at a closed House Judiciary Committee hearing, his lawyers said after ending a legal fight to quash their subpoena. Comey sued to block the summons last week, contending... Read More

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Selects Joaquin Castro as Next Chairman Congress
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Selects Joaquin Castro as Next Chairman
December 1, 2018
by Christina Paulos

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro was elected Friday as the next chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which will begin the next Congress with its largest membership since the group’s founding. The CHC had 31 members this Congress and will grow to 39 members next year... Read More

Problem Solvers Secure Reforms to House Rules: What Are They and What Do They Mean? U.S. House
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. Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top