Pelosi and McGovern Announce Agreement on Reforms with Problem Solvers Caucus Democrats

Nov 28, 2018

Ranking Member James P. McGovern

House Committee on Rules

Representing Massachusetts' 2nd District


Thursday, July 26, 2018


Jeff Gohringer (202) 225-2888

Pelosi and McGovern Announce Agreement on Reforms with Problem Solvers Caucus Democrats

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rules Committee Ranking Member James P. McGovern released this statement announcing an agreement on reforms with Problem Solvers Caucus Democrats:

“House Democrats are committed to having an open, bipartisan and unifying Congress. To that end, we’ve had the most inclusive process ever for a House rules package, taking input from all members of our Caucus.  After consulting with our committee ranking members, we’re happy to announce that we’ve reached an agreement with the Problem Solvers Caucus Democrats to support a series of reforms for the 116th Congress.  These proposals will provide a more accommodating and respectful process that will help us in our mission to return to the principle that ideas matter in the House of Representatives.  We’re committed to running the House differently while upholding our Democratic values.  We thank the Problems Solvers for sparking this important conversation and look forward to working together with the Democratic Caucus as we continue to craft our rules package.”

Below are the principles Leader Pelosi and Ranking Member McGovern have agreed to ask the Democratic Caucus to support:

  1. Every Member Gets a Voice: Adopt a rule creating a “Consensus Calendar.”  Once a bill reaches 290 co-sponsors, a 25 legislative day clock will begin.  If the primary committee of jurisdiction does not report the bill by the end of the 25 legislative days, the legislation will be placed on the new “Consensus Calendar” where it will remain until the bill is considered.  For every in-session week, after February 28th of the First Session and before September 30th of the Second Session, majority leadership will be required to bring at least one bill on the “Consensus Calendar” to the Floor.  


  1. Bipartisan Amendments: Create a Rules Committee Protocol that specifically adds a preference to amendments that comply with the rules, and have at least twenty Members of each party cosponsoring the amendment.


  1. Modernize the Discharge Petition: Allow discharge petitions to be considered under a 3-day notice process similar to privileged resolutions in order to facilitate their use and effectiveness, while still requiring 218 signatures. The current process only allows perfected petitions on certain Mondays and only if the House is in session on those days.


  1. Increase Committee Transparency: Require three business days’ notice for committee markups, but preserve the entire “good cause” exception.  


  1. Reform the Motion to Vacate the Chair: Adopt a rule stating that a resolution causing a vacancy in the Office of the Speaker will be privileged if offered by the direction of a major party caucus or conference.


  1. Legislative Committee Party Ratios: Commit to a more fairparty ratio for committees.  Since ratios change throughout the year due to resignations, special elections etc., ratios have never been and should not be set through the standing rules of the House.  We are also aware of the Minority’s need to negotiate for seats they need and how setting ratios in the standing rules could inadvertently restrict their needs. However, we agree that to the extent possible party ratios on legislative committees (including Intelligence and Joint and Select Committees, but excluding Rules and Ethics) should reflect the party ratio of the entire House.


  1. A More Inclusive Amendment Process:  Commit to a more fair and inclusive legislative process where more ideas and amendments are debated, and there is less of a reliance on closed rules.


  1. Preserve “Majority Markups”: Ensure that a majority of the Members of a committee can request and schedule a markup of the committee they serve on.