house rules

After 181 Years of No Hats in Congress, Dems Eye Exception for Religious Garb
Ilhan Omar will become the first federal legislator to wear a religious headscarf

Member-elect Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., will be the first member of congress to wear a hijab. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hats have been banned from the House chamber of the Capitol for nearly two centuries — 181 years, to be exact. Under a new proposal from Democrats, the rule would be relaxed to allow religious headwear, like a hijab or kippah. 

The change was proposed jointly by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Incoming Rules Chairman Jim McGovern and member-elect Ilhan Omar as part of a larger overhaul package.

Democrats’ Draft House Rules Would Return Some Regular Order
All major bills going through committee is just one of many rule changes proposed

Incoming Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., presented draft proposals for overhauling House rules to the Democratic Caucus on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats’ draft proposals for overhauling the House rules would return at least some so-called regular order processes to the lower chamber by ensuring major bills go through committee before hitting the floor. 

The requirement that all bills being brought to the floor under a rule must have gone through a committee hearing and markup is just one of several notable changes Democrats are floating to House rules now that they’ll be in the majority. 

House Republicans Propose Punishments for Indicted Members
Chris Collins, Duncan Hunter cases pushed issue to the fore

House Republicans propose to strip indicted colleagues of committee and leadership roles. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call).

Selfies on the Floor: Members-Elect Break the Rules While They Still Can

Members-elect took tons of selfies in the House chamber, breaking the rules before they're bound by them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman orientation has been full of selfies as the newly elected members of the 116th Congress get to know their classmates and surroundings on Capitol Hill. But many have been breaking a well-known House rule against photos in the House chamber.

At least eight incoming House members posted selfies in the House chamber to their social media accounts on Tuesday. Maybe the newcomers haven’t been briefed on the rules of decorum in the House, or maybe they got a pass during the exciting orientation tours.  

Democrats Win House Majority; Here’s What They’ll Do With It
Government overhaul first legislative item, followed by quick action on Dreamer protections, gun control

Now that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her party are back in power, they have several legislative priorities they wish to pursue. (Margaret Spencer/ CQ Roll Call)

Democrats have been abundantly clear about the top items that would be on their agenda if voters were to put them in the House majority, ranging from a campaign finance overhaul to legislation designed to reduce health care costs. 

Now that the midterm results have confirmed Democrats have won the House, here’s what you can expect with them in control next Congress. 

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.