Major rules reform agreement reached with Leader Pelosi, ranking Member Mcgovern, and ranking members to help break the gridlock and better govern for the American people

November 28, 2018
Press Release

Since June, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus has been working on a series of rules reforms that will help Break the Gridlock and allow Members of Congress to govern. We are pleased to report that, after months of constructive discussions, and a meeting with Ranking Members this morning, we have reached an agreement with Leader Pelosi and Ranking Member McGovern that will help Break the Gridlock.

These commonsense reforms (below) will help Congress deliver real results for the American people on their most important priorities that have been bottled up in Congress for too long. We want to thank the Leader, the Ranking Member and their teams for their cooperation, ideas, and willingness to roll up their sleeves and work with us over these last months.

This November, voters not only asked for a new party at the helm, but asked for their core issues – health care, immigration, and infrastructure – to get solved. Combined with this new leadership, the rules changes we are announcing today will make the House of Representatives work even better for the American people, and help remove the roadblocks to progress on these core priorities.

These commonsense rules changes will allow for the will of the majority to turn ideas into action and pass much-needed legislation. 

We said from the moment that we began our work on these reforms six months ago, that we would only support a Speaker who was willing to agree to rules changes that would help Break the Gridlock. We have reached such an agreement with Leader Pelosi to help Break the Gridlock for the American people and will support her, so these rules and reforms can be adopted in January.

The Problem Solvers Caucus will continue its work to find solutions on our nation’s most pressing problems on a broad, bipartisan basis.

Rules and Reforms Agreement

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. 

2. 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.

3. 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.

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

5. 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.

6. Legislative Committee Party Ratios: Commit to a more fair party 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.