By: Emilie Vigliotta
SILVER SPRING, Md.— The United States House Committee on Rules has been the center of debate in the opening weeks of the new year, and although other committees continue to restructure after four sessions of Republican control, this particular one is important for passing early Democratic legislation.
The Rules Package was sent to the House Floor on Jan. 8 and adopted for the upcoming 116th Congress. The legislation included a proposal co-authored by Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08).
Raskin published a press release last week, explaining that his proposal would require committee hearings and markup on joint resolutions and bills reported to the House Rules Committee for consideration.
The Rules Package determines which bills are passed to the House Floor for consideration, allowing representatives to prevent legislation from being tabled indefinitely in committees.
The 115th Congress required 60 votes to “blast” a bill to the house floor. However, with the Rules Package, delegates propose changing the practice to 58 votes.
On the Rules Committee, representatives determine how Congress will operative and sets a precedent for which issues Democrats will prioritize. This highlights the differences between previous and incoming leadership.
As the new majority, House Democrats hope to stabilize Obamacare and push for a path to citizenship for Dreamers.
Delegates have already presented gun-control legislation less than a week into the new Congress that suggests the expansion of background checks when purchasing firearms. Although the bill might pass in the House of Representatives, the Republican-controlled Senate has shut down similar legislation over and over again throughout the years.
Democrats have to balance their fight against Trump’s agenda with their political goals, as they negotiate with a President who has indicated an unwillingness to compromise.
Although representatives are eager to reshape policy, they’re reluctant to push moderate voters towards the Republican Party. The concern is that moving too quickly on controversial and left-leaning issues, such as healthcare and the investigation of the Mueller Investigation, might alienate voters whose support would benefit a win in 2020.
“On Rules, we will be on offense advancing the Majority’s strong positive agenda,” Raskin said. “I will fight every day for my constituents and all Americans by ensuring that our policy priorities are brought to the House Floor.”