house rules

More Problem Solvers Members Pledge to Tie Speaker Vote to Rule Changes
Bipartisan caucus now has 19 members ready to oppose a candidate for speaker if they don’t back process changes

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and the other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus say they are gaining support for the effort to revamp House rules. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Trying to show their push to amend House rules to create more bipartisan legislative processes is serious, the Problem Solvers Caucus announced Thursday that 19 of its members are willing to oppose any speaker candidate who won’t bring about change.

The bipartisan caucus unveiled a package of proposed House rules changes in July called “Break the Gridlock” and has been coalescing support for it on both sides of the aisle. Some of the caucus members have decided to add some oomph to their sales pitch by pledging not to support a candidate for speaker unless that person commits to enacting the rules package.

15 Members Pledge to Withhold Speaker Vote Without Rule Changes
8 Democrats, 7 Republicans part of bipartisan Problems Solvers Caucus

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., said he will not vote for a speaker who doesn’t back the Problem Solvers Caucus proposed rule changes for making the House more bipartisan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least 15 members of the bipartisan Problems Solvers Caucus have pledged to withhold their vote for speaker if the candidate that emerges as the majority party’s nominee does not back the caucus’s proposed rule changes.

The Problem Solvers unveiled a package of rules changes in late July dubbed “Break the Gridlock.” The proposals aim to open up the legislative process in a way that prioritizes bipartisanship.

Good Government Groups Urge ‘Systematic Reform’ of House Rules
Demand Progress leads letter and white paper to Congress with recommended rule changes

Outside groups want the U.S. House of Representatives to overhaul its rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Twenty outside groups that seek to promote good government sent a letter to House lawmakers Wednesday morning, urging them to take back their individual power and overhaul the chamber’s rules. 

The letter, led by Demand Progress, outlines 10 principles that members should follow in crafting a new rules package

Too Soon for Rules Talk, Uneasy House Members Say
With House up for grabs, some lawmakers prefer to wait until after midterms

House Rules member Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., thinks Democrats should wait until after the midterms to discuss a rules package. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Revisiting the House rules is a normal task lawmakers undertake every other fall, but this year, several members are uneasy about beginning that process ahead of a midterm cycle in which the chamber majority could change hands.

Some Democrats don’t want to get over their skis by preparing a rules package that their party will only have power to implement if they take control of the House in November.

Blue Dogs See Single-Digit Majority as Their ‘Sweet Spot’
Moderate Democratic caucus hoping to regrow its power through midterm gains

Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore, who heads the Blue Dog Coalition’s political arm, says a single-digit majority is a sweet spot for the group, which is looking to rebuild its influence next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The nearly moribund Blue Dogs, the coalition of moderate-to-conservative House Democrats, are looking to rebuild influence in the next Congress — and they think they’re in an especially good position to do so if the November midterms result in a single-digit House majority. 

The leaders of the Blue Dog Coalition, speaking with a small group of reporters Wednesday, said they obviously prefer a Democratic majority, but they think they will have power even if Republicans hold on to the majority with just a handful of seats. 

Bipartisan Duo Proposes Prohibiting House Members From Serving on Public Company Boards
Resolution to amend House rules comes in wake of Chris Collins insider trading

Reps. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., pictured, and Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., are proposing a change in House rules to prohibit members from serving on boards of publicly-traded companies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan New York duo is proposing a change in House rules that would prohibit members from serving on serving on the boards of publicly held companies, the latest fallout from the indictment of Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., for insider trading. 

Collins served on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotechnology company, and allegedly shared inside knowledge about Innate’s drug trial results with his son, who then made timely stock trades. 

Speaker Race Could Hinge on Who Agrees to Change the Rules
House members have an ultimatum for those who covet the top spot: No changes, no gavel

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., is among the members demanding wholesale rules changes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whichever party controls the House in 2019, the next speaker won’t secure the job easily and will likely have to promise major changes to how the institution operates, with members demanding that as a condition for support.

Frustration has grown among rank-and-file members for years as leadership usurped decision-making power from committees. Lawmakers have pushed to change House and caucus rules to return influence to individuals and committees, but with limited success.

3 Ways In Which the House Chaplain Controversy May Continue
Lawmakers still want answers about the speaker’s decision to fire Rev. Patrick J. Conroy

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy is staying is position but lawmakers are still questioning why he was asked to leave in the first place. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy is getting to stay in his position, but that doesn’t mean the controversy surrounding Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s initial decision to fire him is going away. 

Several lawmakers are still questioning what influenced the Wisconsin Republican to make his call and how to prevent future speakers from unilaterally seeking to remove the House chaplain. 

House Members Seek Rules Changes on Ousting Speaker, Moments of Silence
Rules Committee hears ideas from members as it considers changes for 115th Congress

One House rules change under consideration would target the process the House Freedom Caucus used to pressure former Speaker John Boehner to resign. (Bill Clark/Roll Call/Pool)

House members, frustrated by events such as conservatives' effort to oust former Speaker John A. Boehner and congressional inaction after multiple mass shootings, proposed changes to the Rules Committee Wednesday to prevent such scenarios from occurring in the 115th Congress. 

Wednesday's discussion on House rules that should be amended for the next Congress follows an April hearing on proposed changes to the appropriations process. Rules and Organization of the House Subcommittee Chairman Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, said that he may hold another hearing, but that at a minimum he plans to continue discussing ideas with his colleagues.

Quiz: All Fired Up About Gun Control
GOP blasts the opposition

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, right, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a news conference at the RNC in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congressional Republicans are up in arms about the sit-ins , protests and floor fights that Democrats and like-minded activists have employed to spur action on tougher gun control laws.  

While a floor vote remains a long shot , the vitriol keeps flying.