(H. Res. 5) Final passage of a resolution revising the procedural rules of the House of Representatives, including eliminating House floor voting rights for House delegates from the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, and revising budget rules to make it easier for Republican leaders to bring up tax cut bills that increase federal budget deficits.
This was a vote on final passage of a resolution revising the procedural rules of the House of Representatives (known as a “rules package”). The Republicans brought up this rules package immediately after regaining control of the House in 2011 (following the 2010 midterm elections).
Republicans made a number of major changes to House rules in this package. First, the measure eliminated House floor voting rights for delegates from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. (Those delegates, however, were still permitted to vote in committees.)
In addition, the measure changed House budget rules to make it easier for the new Republican majority to bring up legislation cutting taxes. Under the budget rules used by the Democratic majority from 2007-2010, any bill increasing federal spending or cutting taxes violated House rules if it increased the budget deficit. Under the new Republican-backed rules package, only spending bills that increased the deficit violated the rules. Thus, a bill that cut taxes and increased the deficit was permissible under the Republicans’ rules package.
Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) urged support for the measure: “They've [the American public] made clear to us that what their priorities are--job creation, economic growth, and a smaller, more accountable federal government--must be done. The reforms included in the rules package are designed to ensure that those priorities are met and that we are held responsible for our actions to do the people's work.”
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) urged support for the Republicans’ rules package: “People told us very clearly they are interested in jobs, they are interested in spending. The rules package before us right now facilitates the growth of the former and helps in the limitation of the latter.”
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) urged opposition to the rules package: “…The rules package, the plan put forth by the Republican majority…is so disappointing, because after months on the campaign trail telling the American people that they want to reduce deficits and the debt, this rule opens the door to larger deficits and a bigger national debt. It is a fiscally reckless blueprint, and the American people deserve better.”
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) also criticized the rules package: “Our Republican friends have been in charge of the House for about 1 hour, and already they are up to their old discredited tricks. They promised the American people that they were serious about deficit reduction. Apparently that promise was for campaign purposes only, because the Republicans' rule package before us today paves the way for a huge explosion in our national debt…”
The House passed this rules package by a vote of 238-191. All 238 Republicans present voted “yea.” All 191 Democrats present voted “nay.” As a result, the House passed a resolution revising the procedural rules of the House of Representatives -- including eliminating House floor voting rights for House delegates from the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, and revising budget rules to make it easier for Republican leaders to bring up tax cut bills that increase federal budget deficits.