Problem Solvers Caucus Break the Gridlock Rules Reforms Pass House

Jan 04, 2019

For First Time in Two Decades, Rules Package receives Bipartisan Support

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, a bipartisan group of Members in the Problem Solvers Caucus voted to support the Rules package to organize the House of Representatives, which included commonsense rules changes proposed by the Problem Solvers Caucus. These rules changes will help “Break the Gridlock” in Congress and enable progress on much-needed legislation to move the country forward. Republican Members Tom Reed (NY-23), John Katko (NY-24), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-8) voted for the Rules package. 

Since June 2018, The Problem Solvers Caucus has advocated for changes to the House Rules that will enable Members to truly govern and deliver important results. After months of constructive negotiations, Democratic Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus reached an agreement with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern.

Yesterday, Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus kept the their word and voted to support a bipartisan Rules agreement – marking the first bipartisan passage of a Rules agreement in nearly 20 years. 

In the 116th Congress, the Problem Solvers Caucus will continue to work on a bipartisan basis to find solutions to the critical issues facing the country.

“Yesterday, the House formally passed a rules package that will help move broadly supported, bipartisan legislation to the House floor for a debate and vote. Especially in this era of divided government, to solve problems, we will have to work together to deliver legislation that can get signed into law — from cutting taxes, to lowering heath care costs, to fixing our infrastructure.  Incredibly, we passed these reforms with support from both sides of the aisle, for the first time in nearly two decades. This progress wouldn’t have been possible without Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus taking bold steps, and I’m grateful for their work for bipartisan governing,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). 

“The reforms the Problem Solvers Caucus were able to include in this rules package go a long way to empower the people we represent, enable rank-and-file Members to govern and make it easier for bipartisan bills to pass,” Tom said. “I was proud to vote ‘yes’ as a show of good faith to my Democrat colleagues and look forward to working together to pass bills to help the American people,” said Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23). 

“We can and must bring bipartisanship and consensus building back to the United States Congress. Today, I upheld my commitment to the principles set by the Problem Solvers Caucus and I voted to support the House rules package. Under the new rules, bills with broad bipartisan support will be considered quickly and more transparently. I am hopeful these new rules create a more effective and bipartisan institution,” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-8). “I continue to strongly oppose the attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in federal court, which threaten patient protection provisions. Last Congress, I supported The Maintaining Protections for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, which protects Americans with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage. The rules package that I voted for today allows the House to defend Americans with pre-existing conditions, and Democratic leadership must use this authority to protect patients with pre-existing conditions. I will continue to fight for affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare for all Americans.”

The Rules Package includes the following “Break the Gridlock” Proposals. Other changes will be in rules protocols being release in the coming days:

  • Reform the Motion to Vacate the Chair – In order to prevent the Speaker from being held hostage by a single Member, this package reforms the motion to vacate the chair to a more thoughtful process.
  • Create a Consensus Calendar – Creates a new procedure to expedite consideration of measure with broad support. Once a bill receives 290 cosponsors, a clock begins for consideration of the bill.
  • Strengthen the Three-Day Rule for Committee Markups – Require committees to provide three business days’ notice for committee markups.
  • Modernize the Discharge Petition – Allow discharge petitions to be considered under a three-day notice process similar to privileged resolutions in order to facilitate their use and effectiveness, while still requiring 218 signatures.  
  • Return to Regular Order – Require bills that go through the Rules Committee to have a hearing and a markup before they go to the floor.


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