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house Bill H. Res. 8

Adopting Democrats' House Rules for the 117th Congress: Banning Gendered Language & Blocking Minority Amendments

Argument in favor

This rules package reflects the priorities of the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. It takes steps toward deeper inclusion by banning the use of gendered phrases, and prohibits members from sharing manipulated media meant to mislead the public. Further, it will reform the House’s procedural rules in a way that will protect vulnerable Democrats from being forced to take difficult votes on amendments offered by minority Republicans using the motion to recommit.

jimK's Opinion
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01/04/2021
<< 15 days, 19 hours, 12 minutes: EDALT >>. … … … I have no problem shutting down rules that can be and have been misused by minority trumpublicans who have no regard for for norms or for extending those rules beyond their intended use as a means for suppressing the majority. I believe that there are many structural and procedural changes needed in all three branches of our government to get our country back on track to bring as ‘great’ as what it used to be and the even ‘greater’ country that we could still become. The legislature needs the greatest changes to remove the corrupting influence of big money - to keep our legislators focused on finding compromise and legislating solely for the benefit of the country instead of using their offices to raise campaign funds and other funds for political purposes, toeing the party ‘line’, managing their personal investments or peddling their political influence. … … … I consider these rules to be a minor step in the right direction; a pathway to continued dialogue leading to further changes for a more effective, focused, and less corruptible by big money influence Congress that can focus solely on the needs of the country instead of their self-serving needs to support benefactors and/or raise political and reelection campaign funding.
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larubia's Opinion
···
01/04/2021
Finally! It has taken years for Democrats to figure out that the Republicans are not going to negotiate. They either get their way or make it impossible for anything to get done (then, blame it on the Democrats!) The ones who get hurt are all of us! This needed to be done. A word of caution to the Democratic leadership ...don’t become the minority!!!
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Leslie's Opinion
···
01/04/2021
@Brian: Agree with your concern about blocking amendments from the minority party which is eerily similar to what McConnell does in the Senate and I don’t like that either. It would be better to author bipartisan legislation that doesn’t need amending like the Problem Solvers Caucus does. Partisanship legislation (authored by one party with their lobbyists without negotiations, with thousands of pages, and only one copy delivered 24 hours before a vote) needs to stop if we are going to get legislation passed to improve things in the US. It’s a my way or the Highway style of negotiating (or not), operating & governing. @MarilynF: Agree that there should be other ways to handle amendments for the reasons you so clearly identified. Instead of restricting the minority party the restriction should be against unrelated amendments to create more focused legislation and block anyone’s pet projects from being added on.
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Argument opposed

The Democrats’ rules package would effectively gut the motion to recommit, a procedural tool that has been part of the House since its inception and has allowed the minority to force a vote on a final amendment for more than 100 years, in a deeply cynical effort to stifle debate over opposing ideas. Given that Democrats may find themselves in the minority in the future, eliminating the motion to recommit is shortsighted. Further, banning the use of gendered phrases like “father” or “daughter” is a pointless effort at political pandering.

TDJCatholicBlogger's Opinion
···
01/04/2021
I heard recently a member of the House finish a prayer by saying “awoman” after “Amen”. That isn’t even a word, but that’s what the gender jabberwocky brings to all of us: imbecilic neologisms. Vote against this crap, please.
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Thomas's Opinion
···
01/04/2021
Amen and A-Women? Amen translates to “So Be It”. The word has nothing to do with Gender Identity. The rules in regards to Gender Identity makes me sick to my stomach. Rev. Cleaver owes this House of Representatives and the people it represents an apology for that despicable prayer. I do not agree on the rules with regards to the use of non-gender pronouns. Our Founding FATHERS must be turning in their graves. I fear for what is ahead for this country. God help us. God help this Nation.
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Cmhaggar's Opinion
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01/04/2021
I am a Woman, wife, Mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother, granddaughter, aunt, niece, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, stepmom, woman, mighty woman of God – and you will never ever take that from me!
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What is House Bill H. Res. 8?

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.

Impact

The House of Representatives, including its members and their employees; and the CBO.

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 8

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) offered the following statement on the introduction of this rules package:

“These future-focused proposals reflect our priorities as a Caucus and as a Country - including crushing the coronavirus, addressing economic disparity, combating the climate crisis, advancing inclusion, and promoting integrity in government.”

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) added:

“This proposal doesn’t tinker around the edges of ethics reform. It contains historic ideas to protect whistleblowers and prevent everything from the undue influence of lawbreakers on the House Floor to the dissemination of deepfakes on government accounts. This proposal also shines a light on those struggling to get ahead in America today and ensures we remain focused on the most pressing issues facing our nation.”

Rules Committee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) offered floor remarks in opposition to this package, particularly the changes to the motion to recommit:

“These changes are some of the harshest and most cynical that I have experienced during my time in Congress. Democratic leadership is suppressing minority rights and paving the way for the Green New Deal by intentionally removing budgetary checks that have been in place for over a decade. The most egregious of these changes is the complete gutting of the motion to recommit. The motion to recommit, or the MTR, is the minority’s right to propose a final amendment before moving to passage. This is a right that has been guaranteed to the minority for well over a century. With today’s changes, the majority is seeking to silence views they are afraid of with no regard for this institution or the American people’s trust in our constitutional responsibility to govern, and govern well. They are taking away the ability to debate a motion to recommit and the ability to offer a motion to recommit with instructions. This completely guts the minority’s ability to offer a last amendment on the floor prior to passage…

Madam Speaker, the motion to recommit has been around since the beginning of the House as an institution, and it has been in its present form since 1909. In fact, in 1919, Representative Abraham Garret of Tennessee noted that “the Motion to Recommit is regarded as so sacred it is one of the few things protected against the Committee on Rules by the general rules of the House.” And when Speaker Pelosi herself was in the minority, she equated the motion to recommit with the right to free speech enshrined in our Constitution! How this majority can now decide that a procedure that is so important it is on par with the guarantee of free speech must be eliminated is beyond my understanding.” 

During the 116th Congress, Republicans prevailed on eight motions to recommit that amended Democrats’ legislation, which prompted Democrats to begin considering changes to the motion: The first was a 424-0 vote (with two voting present) on a “forthwith” motion to recommit that amended a bill to withdraw U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to include language expressing that it’s in the national security interest of the U.S. to combat anti-Semitism around the world. It came about as a way to rebuke anti-Semitic comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who apologized and voted in favor. On another occasion, a motion to recommit to require the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement when unauthorized immigrants attempt to buy firearms succeeded despite Democratic leadership’s objections.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / mrod)

AKA

Adopting the Rules of the House of Representatives of the One Hundred Seventeenth Congress, and for other purposes.

Official Title

Adopting the Rules of the House of Representatives of the One Hundred Seventeenth Congress, and for other purposes.

simple resolution Progress


  • The house Passed January 4th, 2021
    Roll Call Vote 217 Yea / 206 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Rules
    IntroducedJanuary 4th, 2021

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    << 15 days, 19 hours, 12 minutes: EDALT >>. … … … I have no problem shutting down rules that can be and have been misused by minority trumpublicans who have no regard for for norms or for extending those rules beyond their intended use as a means for suppressing the majority. I believe that there are many structural and procedural changes needed in all three branches of our government to get our country back on track to bring as ‘great’ as what it used to be and the even ‘greater’ country that we could still become. The legislature needs the greatest changes to remove the corrupting influence of big money - to keep our legislators focused on finding compromise and legislating solely for the benefit of the country instead of using their offices to raise campaign funds and other funds for political purposes, toeing the party ‘line’, managing their personal investments or peddling their political influence. … … … I consider these rules to be a minor step in the right direction; a pathway to continued dialogue leading to further changes for a more effective, focused, and less corruptible by big money influence Congress that can focus solely on the needs of the country instead of their self-serving needs to support benefactors and/or raise political and reelection campaign funding.
    Like (103)
    Follow
    Share
    I heard recently a member of the House finish a prayer by saying “awoman” after “Amen”. That isn’t even a word, but that’s what the gender jabberwocky brings to all of us: imbecilic neologisms. Vote against this crap, please.
    Like (89)
    Follow
    Share
    Finally! It has taken years for Democrats to figure out that the Republicans are not going to negotiate. They either get their way or make it impossible for anything to get done (then, blame it on the Democrats!) The ones who get hurt are all of us! This needed to be done. A word of caution to the Democratic leadership ...don’t become the minority!!!
    Like (59)
    Follow
    Share
    Amen and A-Women? Amen translates to “So Be It”. The word has nothing to do with Gender Identity. The rules in regards to Gender Identity makes me sick to my stomach. Rev. Cleaver owes this House of Representatives and the people it represents an apology for that despicable prayer. I do not agree on the rules with regards to the use of non-gender pronouns. Our Founding FATHERS must be turning in their graves. I fear for what is ahead for this country. God help us. God help this Nation.
    Like (53)
    Follow
    Share
    I am a Woman, wife, Mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother, granddaughter, aunt, niece, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, stepmom, woman, mighty woman of God – and you will never ever take that from me!
    Like (51)
    Follow
    Share
    @Brian: Agree with your concern about blocking amendments from the minority party which is eerily similar to what McConnell does in the Senate and I don’t like that either. It would be better to author bipartisan legislation that doesn’t need amending like the Problem Solvers Caucus does. Partisanship legislation (authored by one party with their lobbyists without negotiations, with thousands of pages, and only one copy delivered 24 hours before a vote) needs to stop if we are going to get legislation passed to improve things in the US. It’s a my way or the Highway style of negotiating (or not), operating & governing. @MarilynF: Agree that there should be other ways to handle amendments for the reasons you so clearly identified. Instead of restricting the minority party the restriction should be against unrelated amendments to create more focused legislation and block anyone’s pet projects from being added on.
    Like (38)
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    This is ridiculous. We are not a gender neutral country. The two pro dominant are male and female and that us not ever going to change. While there may be other variations along the way . This change is not necessary and it is ridiculous and costly
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    Nancy's House Rules = Marxist Doctrine Create Chaos & then Control the Chaos with Spuriously Invented Incoherent Pseudo-Legal Gaslighted Distractions to ensure that nothing with Constitutional Common Sense gets done in Congress. Obstruction of Due Process at every turn.
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    I like most of these rules, but I do wonder if banning the minority from making amendments will cause more division. I don't want the minority party to be able to block legislation, but I also don't want to steamroll them with every opportunity. That said, maybe the whole point of the Senate is to deliberate and the House should just worry about the other party in power over there.
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    You people are seriously insane
    Like (22)
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    The proposed rules on language changes are asinine and can lead to ambiguity. Science has shown me (through dna) that there are differences between people with XX and XY chromosomes. There is nothing wrong with accepting, understanding and having language that identifies these differences.
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    Nooooooooooooooooooooo...absolutely ridiculous..People need help
    Like (18)
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    So this is the first act of the House? If this is indictive of what's to come, we are in trouble. To begin with, blocking amendments from the minority party is not supportive of discussion and negotiation. Democrats: Be aware - This will come back and bite you on the ass. As far as gendered phases, stop it already. What happened to using science as your guide. I guess it only matters when it suits your agenda. Useless.
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    This shouldn’t pass, I now know that I will be voting Republican from now on
    Like (17)
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    Senators Rubio and Scott, I expect to see you stand for TRUTH in this election. You must object to the electors being counted from all the states with extensive voter fraud!!! This is all garbage - crumbs for stimulus, lock down the country and hate thrown at the American people at every turn. Political correctness my eye!
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    I have a novel idea, how about instead of lumping multiple, completely unrelated, votes into a single piece of legislation you submit each change separately! Why are we voting on gendered text and minority blocking at the same time. You people want changes made but by combining things like this you force people to vote for/against something else. Want non gendered wording? Fine vote on that. Want minority blocking? Fine vote on that. When you force someone to vote on something they don't agree with in order to get something they do agree with you are more likely to get a nay than a Yay.
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    Both these rules are shameful. The entire Gender narrative is Rediculous and the "Science" does not support the Lunatic Left/Dem an for the USA. And not using He, She pronouns is just plain Stupidity.
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    Just a quick comment on the utter ignorance of the “pastor” who used the word awomen along with amen. Amen is a Latin word that means “so be it.” It is not gendered. Maybe he needs to go back to seminary.
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    The Rules Committee of each Congress has the right and responsibility of confirming and adjusting the House Rules at the start of each new Congress. The Rules, as approved by that Congress, apply for the duration of that Congress. Custom and precedent has almost always prevailed, at least in times free of major national conflicts, and most Rules Committees have simply recommitted the Congress to the previously established Rules of the prior Congress. However, there is no Constitutional requirement that they do so. It has always been an accepted practice. Under the current circumstances, however, the dangerous precedent that the administration of Donald Trump has set in motion calls for a clear, strong and deterrent action on the part of all branches of government to confront and shine a light on the perpetrators and the actions they have undertaken to dismantle and undermine the institutions of our democratic republic. We can not contribute to sweeping anything under the carpet if we hope to regain any measure of control over the forces set in motion by those I prefer to call traitors and seditionists! That does not mean, however, that those who have managed to save our institutions from complete destruction should take revenge. And I believe the Democrats and those Republicans who have sided with them understand their obligations in the face of this travesty. If we fail to uncover and reveal all to the American people, and to punish both the perpetrators and the Party they dragged into this treason, future generations of Americans will not have a strong history to rest their actions against future attempts of a similar nature, which will most certainly arise. They will arise anyway because the existence of fascist elements within our society is permitted by our Constitution. However, their control of our government cannot be permitted if we wish to maintain a democracy. I am, therefore, committed fully to the decisión of the 117th Congress changing the Rules as needed to ensure that accountability prevails with regard to the Republicans and the GOP. Holding them accountable is an absolute must. I trust the Democratic leaders of both branches to do so carefully and wisely. The Rules now adopted can, and likely will, change with the next Congress. In the meantime, such changes strengthen the hand of Congress to reassert its proper role in the triple-branch balance of power.
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    I’m sick and tired of all the crap being done in Congress and no value. Seems to be a lot of self serving going on. I vote in person every time. I show ID all I can do. I’m tired of other countries being given handouts. Our country is changing and not for the best.
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