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.

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.