WASHINGTON — As Republicans close in on a slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, GOP lawmakers met in D.C. on Tuesday to put together what they would like the rules of the 118th Congress to be for the next two years.
Among the panelists tasked with gathering input on what those rules should be is Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN-5th).
“I think we have an opportunity to discuss it as an institution, what we can do to make sure that this institution is a great institution going forward, but it is not right now,” Spartz said.
Among those testifying to the panel were former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, as well as Ed Corrigan and Rachel Bovard with the Conservative Partnership Institute. Spartz came to the meeting with a desire to know from them what three rules they feel need to be changed for the next Congress.
“Procedure is what makes representation matter,” said Bovard to the panel. “(We need to end) the practice of martial law. I think it’s absurd and offensive, frankly, that these bills are written, giant bills are written, behind closed doors with the input of a handful of lobbyists and leadership staff and then dropped on the membership. It’s an insult to the positions you hold and the voters you represent.”
Spartz agreed with Bovard’s assessment.
“I had open town halls and I told my people that the speaker can just move whatever he or she wants, on the floor, without committee, without deliberations, without debate, and people were shocked,” she said. “It has to be fixed.”
Spartz also harkened back to her time as a state senator in Indiana when they too had to pass rules packages for a particular year’s legislative session. She said they passed rules that required a vote by the full chamber to bring legislation to the floor and that chamber leaders could not just bring bills to the floor willy-nilly.
Corrigan also suggested the reinstating of the “72-hour clock rule” which requires a bill to sit idle for 72-hours after a committee vote before it can be taken up by the full House.
Republicans will be able to work on a rules package that is more concrete once/if they win the majority in the House. As of early Wednesday morning, the GOP needs just one more seat to secure the majority.