This resolution would adopt the rules of the House of Representatives for the 117th Congress, including matters such as prohibiting the minority from having an opportunity to propose an amendment, banning the use of gendered language, and extending the use of proxy voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. A breakdown of its various provisions can be found below.
A motion to recommit (or commit) a bill or joint resolution to committee could only be made without instructions and would not be debatable. Historically, the motion to recommit (MTR) has served as the final — and sometimes only — opportunity for the minority party to offer an amendment to legislation while it’s on the floor before passage or send the bill back to committee. If adopted, these rules would ban the ability of the minority to force a vote on an amendment to the bill.
The rules package would require the use of pronouns, familial relationship terminology, and other references to gender that are inclusive of all gender identities. For example, the words “mother” and “father” would be banned and replaced with “parent”; “daughter” and “son” would be banned in favor of “child”; “brother” and “sister” banned for “sibling”; while “aunt” and “uncle” would be banned and replaced with “parent’s sibling”.
Proxy voting would continue in the 117th Congress with minor changes to the rules from 116th Congress that governed the process. Proxy voting was established in 2020 to allow for participation by members who are unable or unwilling to travel to the Capitol during the coronavirus pandemic.
House committees would be required to include discussions of how their work will address issues of inequities on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or national origin in their oversight plans.
Audio and video of committee proceedings could not be used for any partisan political campaign purpose regardless of the specific technological device or recording medium used. The rules package would also make it a violation of the Code of Official Conduct to electronically disseminate any image, video, or audio file that has been distorted or manipulated with the intent of misleading the public.
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 and protections would be posted in all offices.
Legislative text would have to be available for a full 72 hours before a bill receives a vote on the House floor (in the 115th Congress the rule was parts of 3 days, so a bill would only need to really be available for 24 hours and two minutes).
This rules package would strike the “PAYGO” rule for budget resolutions, amendments to budget resolutions, or a conference report on a budget resolution that includes reconciliation directives that would have the effect of increasing net direct spending if the policies relate to climate change or the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Speaker would be authorized to continue to intervene on behalf of the House in ongoing legal cases, including those related to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) like Texas v. United States.
Committees would have authority to issue subpoenas for documents or testimony related to any person or entity, whether governmental, public, or private, within the U.S. That includes current or former presidents and vice presidents in their official or personal capacities, the White House and related presidential offices in the executive branch.
Lawmakers and House employees would be prohibited from preventing a whistleblower from providing information to congressional ethics bodies, and from retaliating against them for doing so.
Former members, delegates, commissioners, parliamentarians, elected officers of the House, or minority employees nominated as an elected officer of the House would be barred from the Hall of the House if they have been convicted of a crime related to their election to, or service to, the House.
The following select committees would be reauthorized or established:
Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress,
Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis,
Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth.
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.