Bipartisan House Group Wants Rules Overhaul

bipartisan house group wants rules overhaul
Bipartisan House Group Wants Rules Overhaul

The bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus is proposing a rules overhaul in an attempt to ease the gridlock in Congress, The New York Times is reporting.

Members of the caucus will formally present the plan Wednesday. It is intended to give rank-and-file lawmakers more say. It also seeks to curb the clout of some hard-right Republican lawmakers who have exercised significant influence over the GOP leadership, the newspaper said.

The 48 members of the caucus are equally split between Republicans and Democrats. The overhaul proposal came after months of negotiations and has the backing of at least 75 percent of the caucus.

One provision of the plan would prevent any representative from being able to force a vote of “no confidence” regarding the House Speaker. A threat from House Freedom Caucus members had led to Speaker John Boehner resigning in 2015, the Times said.

Under the proposed changes, the so-called motion to vacate the chair would be replaced. The new rule would require one-third of the House to publicly sign a petition to force a vote on the issue, according to the newspaper.

“Due to the House floor being controlled by a select few, most members of Congress are not able to bring their ideas and proposals to the House floor for a fair vote that would allow us to begin solving some of the most contentious issues facing our country today,” said Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., a chairman of the group.

The rules overhaul also would mandate that any bill that gets at least 290 co-sponsors or a majority of support from each party would have to receive committee review and be sent to the floor in 30 days.

The Times noted that Democrats and Republicans have complained that GOP leaders have refused to take up certain legislation that would pass for fear of political fallout from the right.

“We’ve seen time and again how our common sense solutions get jammed up in a system built to empower the voices of a few extremists,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., a chairman of the group.

The Hill reported the overhaul package also includes a provision ensuring that party ratios on committees reflect the party makeup of the entire house.

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