• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Top Five New Rules of 112th Congress

    Fulfilling their constitutional power to “determine the Rules of its Proceedings,” this Wednesday, January 5, 2010, the newly assembled House of Representatives will adopt the Rules of the House for the 112th Congress. Speaker-designate John Boehner has proposed a series of changes to the House rules designed to make the House more transparent and help eliminate unnecessary Federal spending. The Top Five New Rules include:

    1. The new rules require a member of the House who wishes to introduce a bill to submit for publication in the Congressional Record a statement of what powers the Constitution grants to Congress to enact that bill. For bills that come over to the House from the Senate, the chairman of the House committee of jurisdiction will submit such a statement. The provision will assist Members of the House in making sure that they carry out the oath every one of them takes to support and defend the Constitution.
    2. The new rules contain a “Cut-As-You-Go” provision that prohibits House consideration of a bill that has the net effect of increasing mandatory spending within the one-year, five-year, and ten-year budget windows. If a bill increases mandatory spending by an amount, the bill must elsewhere cut other spending by at least the same amount. The new rules also eliminate special protection for transportation spending.
    3. The new rules expand requirements that legislation be available in advance before the House or its committees act on it. The chair of a committee must make the text of a measure being marked up publicly available at least one day before a committee markup meeting and a bill must be publicly available at least three days before the House votes on it. The requirement for advance availability prior to votes ensures that Members of the House and the public have an opportunity to read the legislation before the House or its committees vote on the legislation.
    4. The new rules make more information about House proceedings available to the public, and in readily accessible electronic form. For example, the chair of a committee must make the texts of any amendment to a bill adopted at a committee markup available within 24 hours. Each committee must provide audio and video coverage or recordings of committee hearings, to the maximum extent practicable (excluding, for example, hearings involving national security secrets).
    5. The new rules eliminate the vote-avoidance mechanism by which the House was automatically deemed to have approved a bill to increase the Federal debt, whenever the Congress adopted a budget resolution for spending that would have exceeded the existing debt limit, without House Members actually having to vote on whether to raise the debt limit. Now, if House Members want to consider whether to allow the Government to borrow more money, they will have to vote for or against it and not avoid the issue.

    On November 3, 2010, immediately following the national elections, The Heritage Foundation issued “The Checklist” of actions of overriding importance, representing the bare minimum required for Washington to fulfill its electoral mandate, meet its constitutional responsibilities, and get America started on the right track. Among other things, the Checklist called on Congress to get control of Government by reestablishing legislative accountability. In particular, the Foundation called for Congress to change its rules to make the text of legislation public at least three days before Congress considers the legislation. The above rules meet, for the House, that bare minimum requirement … and more.

    Adoption, by the House, of these new rules proposed by the new conservative leadership is a good first step, but the test of success for the rules will be whether the House follows and enforces them. If the House avoids the temptation to waive the new restrictions from time to time for political convenience, the new rules will reflect a House more committed to conservative principles.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to Top Five New Rules of 112th Congress

    1. Dennis Georgia says:

      We all hope these rules are taken to heart and followed. The old way of doing business has to stop.

    2. Phil, Pearland, Texa says:

      The first test of the new Congress will be who will vote in favor of the new rules of the House. If the Republicans really mean what they say, the rules will be approved by a yes vote from every one of them.

    3. Daver, Ft. Worth, Tx says:

      Beating the President and Pelosi at their stated games is a start–transparency.

      But we need to beat them at their end game–creating the unending circle of gov't power and dependency. A good start here would be to either eliminate or make it too difficult for government unions to exist. These, by definition work against the common good of the people and add cost to whatever services the gov't employees provide.

      We also need to defund and eliminate gov't functions which no longer makes sense. The Dept. of Energy, the Dept of Education (where in the Constitution does it say anything about Federal schooling?) etc… These all serve to waste taxpayer $ and encourage the over reach the EPA the FCC and other groups are attempting.

      It's gonna be a Good Year, its gonna be a Good, Good Yeeeearrrr!!

    4. Martha says:

      This is a start, but 24 hours is still not much time to read these bills. Doesn't leave time for constituent input either.

    5. Lorita Goza, Oklahom says:

      Does it benefit the Democrats in any fashion and if it does then DO NOT pass that rule!!! unless of course it can be a permanent fixture and the dems can't ever change it again when they are in power!!!

    6. Corky, Howey in the says:

      It's going to be a tough two more years until the 2012 elections. "We the People" are not out of the woods yet. With obama, pelosi and reid still holding on we are still in for a fight to keep or way of life and freedom. obama is far from being done with doing us harm..he still has his puppet reid. Names are not capitalized for lack of respect….

    7. Lou Alfano, Pennsylv says:

      The new rules don't go quite far enough. House members shuld be REQUIRED to read every bill prior to voting on it, and the "monster-size" bills that often float to the floor of the house are often far too big to be read (never mind understood) in just three days.

    8. GORDON DEERING says:

      These rules would be great. Also, as raising the debt limit is one of the first issues being addresses and comments have suggested getting Obama to not veto certain new legislation [ie, killing Obamacare], another one from reading American Solultions article by Steve Everley, I would suggest lifting all drilling bans be made a condition of passing the debt limit increase.

    9. Bobbie says:

      These are excellent! Good learning tool!

      A way to show Americans the respect government members must have for the peoples Constitution of America.

      Another reason why I vote republican.

    10. Phyllis Vincent says:

      I appreciate these rules and hope they truly improve the process. I regret that we still think / talk as parties. Both parties have responsibility for the problems and the solutions. We need to stop the politics and represent the citizens. Clean, short, no attached amendments, straight forward up or down vote isn't complicated. Please allow time for elected officials to read the bills as well as allow time for the citizens to speak to their representatives. Please hold all bills to the light of the constitution. Smaller government, less expenditure, less restriction, please.

    11. Pingback: “Using Recruiters: Rules of the Game That Recruiters Won’t Tell You” | Latest news on renewable energy and effective utilization

    12. Tom Degan says:

      And you thought the 111th Congress was awful! OH, BROTHER!

      When Congressman Darrell Issa describes Barack Obama as "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times", this question comes immediately to mind: "Was this nitwit living in a vacuum between the years 2001 and 2009?" Does he really believe such nonsense? The answer is, in all likelihood, no. Then why would he say such a moronic thing? Here's why:

      In 1998 the cabal of right wing freaks that had hijacked the "party of Abraham Lincoln" came pretty close to removing Bill Clinton from office. Had they done so four years earlier they might very well have weakened Clinton enough politically that he never would have been reelected (or even nominated) in 1996. Their big mistake was waiting until Bubbah's second term to make their move. They don't plan on making that same mistake this time. What Issa is doing is – in effect – poisoning the atmosphere. What he is doing is laying the groundwork for the impeachment of President Obama that will come before the election of 2012. In the next few months watch them as they set up their "investigative" committees and begin the process of "evidence" fabrication. Would anyone care to make a little wager on this point?

      And Obama (The man's naivete never fails to astound) is in the process of making the same mistake President Clinton made all those years ago. By "reaching out to" and "working with" the crazy people on the other side of the aisle, he seems to believe that they'll cut him some slack in return. He is within months (Weeks? Days? Hours?) of learning the futility of this strategy. He is about to learn the lesson Clinton learned in 1998 – which, by the way, is the same one Neville Chamberlain learned in Munich in 1938: Extremists cannot be appeased.


      Tom Degan

    13. Nashville, Tennessee says:

      I don't know how many motions to suspend the rules occurred in the 111th congress. Pay-go was probably the most-waived rule in the book.

      A rule making it out of order to propose suspending the Germaneness Rule, or any other rule(s) and prohibiting the phrase "and for other purposes" in the title of any bill would do more good than anything else.

    14. Doug Hughes, Henrico says:

      An excellent start, but time limits are still too short between review and vote. Completely transparent is what we need – enforcement will be the key. Citizen input is a must to support "by the people."

    15. Joanne Pojman, Willi says:

      Why is there no consideration given to a rule that would require a bill to deal with only one issue or subject. Making a 2000 page bill available to the public 3 days before vote does not ensure the public (or the legistlative body) will read it or understand it. Isn't that a longstanding complaint about the legistlative process? Too much pork and detris hidden in legislation.

    16. Pingback: Health And You’re Well Being

    17. Pingback: Renewable Energy Law Rules “quota Management Approach” The Labor | Latest news on renewable energy and effective utilization

    18. Pingback: Changing the Rules: Achieving Low-Cost Solar PV | Latest news on renewable energy and effective utilization

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.