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Reed’s Problem Solvers Caucus Break the Gridlock, Implement House Rule Reform

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Washington, D.C., November 28, 2018 | comments

Today, Rep. Tom Reed announced Democrat members of the Problem Solvers Caucus struck a deal with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern to change the House rules, break the gridlock in Washington and make it easier for bipartisan bills to pass.

“These rule changes represent a hopeful and substantial breakthrough to empower the people we represent, enable rank-and-file Members to truly govern and make it easier for bipartisan bills to pass.” Republican co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus Tom Reed said. “We look forward to continuing to work across the aisle to find common ground in order to get things done for the American people.”

“Finally we’re getting some constructive bipartisan changes to make this place work. I am proud of our efforts for more transparency and accountability,” Rep. Fred Upton said. “After all, this is the People’s House.”

The commonsense rule reforms will help deliver real results for the American people on their most important priorities which have been bottled up in Congress for too long.

Rules and Reforms Agreement

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.      Reform the Motion to Vacate the Chair:  Adopt a rule stating that a resolution causing a vacancy in the Office of the Speaker will be privileged if offered by the direction of a major party caucus or conference.

6.      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.

7.      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.

8.      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. 

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