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New House Rules Would Limit Frosh Influence, Grease Skids for Suspension Bills

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The House Republican Conference will vote on new rules next week that would limit the influence of freshmen at the leadership table and make it easier to bring up bills under suspension of the rules.

After the record GOP wave of 2010, leadership made sure that two Members of the freshman class became part of leadership. Reps. Tim Scott (S.C.) and Kristi Noem (S.D.) were elected by their peers to become part of leadership and sit on the Republican Steering Committee.

But both of them will not be able to remain in leadership next year. The proposed rules, obtained by Roll Call, would afford one leadership slot to the sophomore class and would take the number of spots available to the incoming freshman class back to one.

Proposed leadership changes would also make it easier for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) to bring up bills under suspension of the rules, which means amendments are prohibited and the bill must pass with a two-thirds majority.

Cantor must currently clear the bills with the minority party, but under the rules change, he would simply have to notify the minority.

Previously, a bill would have had to clear a committee with a two-thirds majority to be considered under suspension, but the new rules would allow a bill to be brought up under suspension even if it passed through committee with a simple majority.

The new rules would also allow suspension bills to extend an authorization whose originating statute contained a sunset provision, but it would prohibit bills that authorize appropriations without including a sunset provision.

The rules will be voted on Thursday, Nov. 15. More may come, as Members are allowed to submit their own amendments for approval.

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