This resolution would adopt the rules of the House of Representatives for the 116th Congress, covering matters such as how long a bill’s text has to be available before it receives a vote, how a bill’s cost is analyzed, what members can wear, and requiring members’ offices to have anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies. It’d also establish certain special committees, give the House power to take legal action in cases related to Obamacare, and change the names of certain standing committees. A breakdown of its major provisions can be found below.
Legislative text would have to be available for a full 72 hours before a bill receives a vote on the House floor (in the last Congress the rule was parts of 3 days, so a bill would only need to really be available for 24 hours and two minutes).
Traditionally non-voting delegates from territories (such as Puerto Rico or Guam) would be allowed to vote when the House is in the “Committee of the Whole”. But if their votes would have a decisive impact on the outcome the vote would be re-conducted without them.
The Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rule would establish a budget point of order against any measure that has the net effect of increasing the deficit or reducing the surplus for the current fiscal year, the budget year, and up to nine fiscal years following that budget year as determined by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). There would be exemptions for emergency designations, or if a measure is added to another and the budgetary impact of the entire package doesn’t increase the deficit or reduce the surplus. (Under Republican control, the House had a different version of the rule called “cut-go” that required for budget or tax cuts to offset new spending instead of tax increases.)
A “Consensus Calendar” would be created to force the consideration of bills that have 290 cosponsors and haven’t been reported by committee. Members would be able to file a Consensus Calendar motion to place a bill on the calendar, and after 25 legislative days of maintaining at least 290 cosponsors the bill would be placed on the Consensus Calendar (those days wouldn’t have to be contiguous, so days below 290 cosponsors wouldn’t count). It would remain on the Consensus Calendar until it is considered by the House or reported by committee. Every week that there is an eligible item on the Consensus Calendar, the Speaker would be required to bring at least one eligible bill up for a floor vote.
When the House adopts a budget resolution, it will consider a bill raising the debt limit through the end of the fiscal year passed by the same margin and send such legislation to the Senate.
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity would be prohibited by the Code of Official Conduct. Non-disclosure settlement agreements couldn’t preclude communication with the Ethics Committee, members would have to personally repay discrimination settlements, there would be mandatory anti-harassment training for all offices, and statements of employee rights & protections posted in all offices.
The Speaker would be authorized on behalf of the House to intervene, otherwise appear, or take any other steps in legal cases related to the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), such as Texas v. United States.
Other rules adopted by the House would include:
The existing ban on wearing hats in the Hall of the House would continue, but religious headwear would be excluded from the ban.
The existing term limits for committee chairs and members of the Budget Committee would be eliminated, so committee chairs don’t have to give up control of their committee.
The requirement that the Congressional Budget Office & Joint Committee on Taxation use “dynamic scoring” (which projects the impact of legislation on the economy) in its cost estimates would be eliminated.
Sexual relationships between members and committee staff would be prohibited.
Members under indictment for a felony punishable by at least two years in prison would step aside from their committee or leadership positions until they’re acquitted or charges are reduced or dismissed.
Members, officers, and employees would be prohibited from serving on the board of any public company.
Committee legal counsel would be authorized to take depositions without members being present.
A Select Committee on the Climate Crisis would be established to investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, and innovations to achieve reductions in pollution that contribute to the climate crisis. It will submit policy recommendations to relevant committees by March 31, 2020, and all reports to the House by the end of the 116th Congress.
In a similar vein, a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress would be established to investigate recommendations on modernizing Congress, including looking at its rules, scheduling procedures, leadership development, staff recruitment, compensation, and diversity.
Two committees would be renamed: the Committee Education and the Workforce to the Committee on Education and Labor; and the Committee on Oversight and Reform to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Further, this rules package would grant the House “same day” authority (aka martial law) to consider legislation making or continuing appropriations for agencies impacted by the partial government shutdown on the floor the same day it’s reported from the Rules Committee.
As a simple resolution that adopts the House’s internal rules, this bill wouldn’t advance to the Senate or go to the president’s desk.