We have heard about the rules package that was forced on new House Speaker McCarthy by the brave Conservative House members who decided to “stand in now.” What are the key elements of these new rules?
Motion to Vacate the Chair
It allows a single House member to make a “motion to vacate the chair,” meaning any member of the majority party can force a vote to remove the House speaker. It actually restores a longstanding rule. Mark Meadows used to this rule to force the removal of Boehner. Pelosi had the rule changed to ensure that only a member of party leadership could bring a “motion to vacate the chair” to the floor for a vote, with the support of the majority of the caucus to take the vote.
Controlling Spending and Taxing
Though it’s not in the rules package, McCarthy agreed to cap government spending at the fiscal year 2022 level for the next decade. The new rules require a separate House vote to increase the debt limit, and to allow House members to vote separately on spending bills for separate Cabinet-level departments such as Agriculture and Defense, to avoid forcing members to take up or down votes on omnibus packages such as the $1.85 trillion bill passed by Congress in December.
The new House rules also call for a resolution to establish a select subcommittee on the weaponization of the federal government, in order to look into alleged politicization of the FBI, the IRS, and other government agencies.
Tackling the Swamp
The rules package also reinstates the “Holman Rule” to rein in the federal bureaucracy. The rule allows amendments to spending bills to cut certain programs, reduce the salaries of federal employees, or fire specific employees.
Reviewing Bills for 72 Hours
The new House rules require 72 hours of notice before voting on new legislation, as a means to try to eliminate backroom deals. This also would give lawmakers time to read legislation.
In May 2020, Democrats’ House majority adopted “same day authority” to force a vote on a bill the day it was introduced.
There are other parts of the “rules package” but these will actually change how the House operates. Pelosi ran the House with limited input from the elected representatives. These changes return more control to the representatives. No longer having huge omnibus bills with no time to read and everything included in them should end. This alone is a major step forward.
None of these changes would have happened if not for the brave 20. We owe them a huge thank you.
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