Pelosi and McGovern Unveil Details of Rules Package for the 116th Congress

Jan 1, 2019

Ranking Member James P. McGovern

House Committee on Rules

Representing Massachusetts' 2nd District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

CONTACT

Jeff Gohringer (202) 225-2888

Pelosi and McGovern Unveil Details of Rules Package for the 116th Congress

Democrats deliver on promises to modernize Congress, return to regular order, and restore ethics and accountability

**More information on these changes, text and a section-by-section
summary are available here**

Washington, D.C. – Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA), incoming Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, today unveiled the rules for the 116th Congress. This package will be introduced and voted on once the new Congress convenes this week. More information on these changes, text and a section-by-section summary of the rules package are available here

“By an historic ten million vote margin, the American people went to the polls and asked for a professionally run Congress that would be more transparent, ethical and committed to debating and advancing good ideas no matter where they come from. Our rules package will deliver that Congress, ushering in a new era of clean government that will honor the consensus of the American people – restoring the People’s House to the people,” Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi said. “These transformational, historic changes will allow Democrats to clean up Congress so that we can deliver results for the American people: lowering health costs and the price of prescription drugs, increasing paychecks while rebuilding America with green, modern infrastructure, combating the climate crisis, reducing income disparity and strengthening democracy For The People.”

“This Democratic rules package is the result of unprecedented consultation across our caucus and the Congress. We asked every Member for their ideas, from the longest-serving to the newly elected and spent months vetting ideas. This package is stronger because of such a collaborative process. We are proposing historic changes that will modernize Congress, restore regular order and bring integrity back to this institution. It unrigs the rules so the People’s House actually works for the people again. Americans demanded a new direction, and this rules package will immediately usher in a new era for this Congress,” said McGovern.      

The Democratic rules package will modernize Congress in five key ways:

It restores the people’s voice by aligning Congress’ agenda with the priorities of the American people. That includes changes that would: enable the House to defend the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing conditions coverage; create a Select Committee on the Climate Crisis so Congress can better respond to the urgency of this threat while creating the good-paying, green jobs of the future; protect federal workers by ending the Holman Rule, which allows appropriations bills or amendments that would reduce the salary of or fire a specific federal employee or cut a specific program; strengthen representation by giving voting rights to Delegates and the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in the Committee of the Whole; ensure Delegates and the Resident Commissioner can be appointed to Joint Committees; and honor our commitment to workers by putting labor back in the Committee on Education and Labor.

It restores the legislative process by creating a more accommodating process for ideas to be considered. That includes changes that would: establish a real 72-hour rule so Members of Congress have time to read the major bills they’re voting on; create a consensus calendar to expedite consideration of measures with broad bipartisan support; require bills that go through the Rules Committee to have a hearing and a markup before they go to the floor; and create a bipartisan Select Committee to modernize and improve Congress.

It restores oversight and ethics by cleaning up Washington and reasserting the legislative branch as a co-equal branch of government. That includes changes that would: close the conflict of interest loophole by prohibiting Members, Delegates, the Resident Commissioner, and staff from serving on corporate boards; require all Members of Congress – not just new Members – to complete ethics training every year; provide assistance and training to congressional staff in order to properly and securely handle whistleblowers who reach out to congressional offices; make clear that nondisclosure agreements cannot be used to prohibit current or former staff from reporting possible wrongdoing; and set a policy that Members indicted for serious crimes should resign from leadership roles and committee assignments.

It restores budget rules through: eliminating the sham budgetary process of CUTGO that pretends tax cuts pay for themselves; streamlining budget rules by eliminating dynamic scoring requirements; reinstating and modernizing the Gephardt Rule to protect our nation’s credit rating; and ending the policy that allows Federal lands to be given away for free without acknowledging the budgetary impact. 

It restores inclusion and diversity so the House of Representatives reflects the faces of America. That includes changes that would: amend House rules to clearly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; ensure religious expression by clarifying that religious headwear is permitted to be worn in the House chamber; create a diversity office to facilitate a workforce that reflects Members and the districts they represent; and create a subcommittee within the Committee on Financial Services to oversee diversity and inclusion within the financial services space. 

This package was developed after extensive consultation with Members and Members-elect as well as caucuses including the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Democratic Women’s Working Group, the New Democrat Coalition, the Blue Dog Coalition, and members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the Problem Solvers Caucus. Outside groups were also consulted, including Demand Progress, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Rebuild Congress Initiative and Public Citizen, as well as process experts from all House committees, the Congressional Research Service, the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of the Parliamentarian and the Congressional Budget Office, among others.

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