By Mark Strand and Timothy Lang

Amending legislation is a critical power for legislators, since it offers the most direct means for Members of Congress to represent their district and address constituent needs. Despite the importance of amendments, Members of the House of Representatives have had fewer and fewer opportunities to offer them in the last few decades. For most major legislation, the House adopts special resolutions, called “special rules”, that determine how the Members will debate the bill, and throughout each Congress, the Chamber agrees to numerous resolutions that restrict or entirely forbid amendments. Since many Members of the House and congressional observers have frequently criticized restrictions on amendments, the House should consider ways to protect and strengthen Members’ ability to offer amendments. There are consequences to changing the standing Rules of the House, but the House might require a supermajority to restrict amendments on certain types of legislation. The House can also promote an open amendment process short of actually changing the standing Rules of the House.

Most significant legislation the House of Representatives considers comes to the Floor pursuant to resolutions called “special orders of business” or “special rules”, which the Rules Committee drafts (less controversial bills are typically considered under another procedure). Special rules determine how the Chamber will debate legislation, specifying, for example, how long the body will discuss the matter, what amendments may be considered, and whether any House rules will be waived. The House adopts a special resolution by a simple majority, so even if a few majority-party Members vote against such a resolution, the party in power in the Chamber typically dictates the terms of the debate. The Rules Committee itself is quite blunt about its powers: “In essence, so long as a majority of the House is willing to vote for a special rule, there is little that the Rules Committee cannot do.”[i]

In the modern era, the Rules Committee is the vehicle the Speaker uses to control the agenda of the House. There is little the Speaker cannot do, since he or she appoints the chairman and each member of the majority party of the Committee on Rules (subject to ratification by the Republican Conference or Democratic Caucus).[ii] By contrast, a steering committee nominates the membership for most other standing committees, and the parties ratify these selections. Controlling who sits on the Committee that determines what bills will go to the House Floor and how they will be considered makes the Speaker one of the most powerful leaders in any legislative system. In short, nothing happens on the House Floor unless the Speaker wants it to happen.

(To put the Speaker’s and Rules Committee’s powers into perspective, compare the House and Senate. Unlike the Speaker, the Senate President and President pro tempore are not the majority party’s leader. In fact, the Senate President, as Vice President of the United States, may be from the Senate’s minority party. The President pro tempore is simply the longest-serving majority-party Senator. The Senate Majority Leader does not come close to enjoying the powers of the Speaker. His primary prerogative on the Floor is to be recognized first in debate. Similarly, the Speaker-controlled House Rules Committee does not have an exact counterpart in the Senate. The Senate does have a Committee on Rules and Administration, but the bulk of its work concerns the Senate’s offices and personnel policies, much like the Committee on House Administration. The Senate Rules and Administration Committee technically has jurisdiction over the Standing Rules of the Senate, but the Chamber rarely revises the rules and does not debate under special rules like the House does. Instead, the Majority and Minority Leaders craft unanimous consent agreements that determine how the debate will flow. However, as the name suggests, each Senator must agree to the terms, so any given Member has the power to scuttle the arrangement. The Senate Majority Leader’s relative impotence shows how the House Rules allow a Speaker and a cohesive majority can easily work their will. The control that the Speaker possesses allows the House to function as a majoritarian institution, where the rules and procedures are deliberately designed to allow a cohesive majority to work its will.)

When the Rules Committee reports a special rule, the resolution can permit or prohibit amendments. A rule that permits all amendments that are germane (directly related to the bill be considered) is known as an “open rule”. One that excludes amendments is called a “closed rule”. Between these extremes are a variety of structured alternatives. A rule could specify that amendments are permitted under certain conditions, or it could make certain amendments in order but block others. For instance, the Committee could permit Members to offer amendments that have been pre-printed in the Congressional Record. The majority party often considers this a modified open rule, but the purpose of such a rule is to prevent spontaneous amendments that might be offered as the debate over a bill develops. It prevents the minority from surprising the majority during the actual debate. Another variation is the “King of the Hill” procedure, in which Members may offer several amendments that are actually complete substitutes for the underlying bill, pass each and every one, but only the last one to pass—typically, the one which the majority party’s leadership supports—will become the final bill. Rules that stop short of completely prohibiting amendments are called “modified closed rules” or “structured rules”. Rules that tend to provide more leeway but nonetheless impose some limits on amendment are called “modified open rules”. It is a matter of degree.

The majority argues that the House adopts structured and closed rules for a number of practical reasons. For example, they allow the House to use time on the Floor efficiently. They can also be used to guarantee a policy outcome, such as an item from the majority party’s agenda or the work of a committee.[iii] One of the most important reasons the House majority adopts closed or restrictive rules is that they prevent the minority party from offering amendments, called “November amendments”, designed to score political points rather than achieve policy goals during an election year. One Member said such amendments are “designed to either kill a bill without actually voting against it or to provide fodder for a 30-second political ad.”[iv] Additionally, Members criticize how such amendments affect the legislative process. For instance, one Member complained of “spending over 10 hours on what essentially looks like a minor and very political amendment”.[v] Special rules are a particularly efficient way sidestep any issues that amendments might pose to the quick and painless consideration of a bill.

If there is any doubt about the utility of restrictive rules, the numbers speak for themselves, since the House has increasingly adopted closed and structured rules in recent years. The Rules Committee’s own Survey of Activities, published at least once per Congress, testifies to the increase in closed rules. Following the Republican Revolution of 1994, the GOP controlled the House in the 104th Congress, the first time they had done so in 40 years. During that Congress, they reported 22 closed rules.[vi] In the 109th Congress, the last the Republicans controlled before the Democrats retook the Chamber, they reported 49 closed rules.[vii] The following Congress, the Democrat-controlled Rules Committee reported 53 closed rules.[viii] When the Republicans won the majority again, the number of closed rules continued to increase, peaking at 83 in the 113th Congress.[ix] Along with the increase of closed rules, open rules have decreased. There were 69 open rules in the 104th Congress, but only 8 in the 113th Congress.[x] In fact, there were actually no open rules at all in the 111th Congress.[xi] (Appropriations bills are customarily considered under an open rule.[xii] The fact that even these kinds of bills had closed rules in the 111th Congress is another indication of how dramatically Congress has moved away from participatory Floor processes.) Paralleling the increase of closed rules and decrease of open rules, over the same time period, the House has debated under more “structured” rules and fewer “modified open” rules.[xiii]


In fairness to the Rules Committee and the House, using the tallies of the kinds of rules granted to assess whether the House is more or less open does present some difficulties. For instance, in the 110th Congress, the House adopted 53 closed rules, but only 35 in the 111th Congress. That might seem like the House became more open. But the House went from having 23 open rules in the 110th Congress, to none in the 11th Congress.[xiv] Similarly, the House went from 53 closed rules in the 112th Congress to 83 in the 113th.[xv] But as one congressional staffer pointed out, Congress contended with the 2013 government shutdown during the 113th Congress, necessitating the use of an unusually high number of closed rules as part of a way to resolve the conflict.[xvi] So statistics alone do not tell the whole story. Nonetheless, the data shows that there have been fewer and fewer opportunities for amendment on the Floor.

Although the House majority can use closed rules, it often does so over the objection of Members. Limits on amendments have grated—even incensed—Members of Congress, particularly in the minority party. The Congressional Record is littered with criticisms of closed rules. As one Member said, “I would say that we are very concerned on this side of the aisle…about the closed processes that we are going through, the partisan processes that we are going through, and the lack of transparency and consideration that is being given to the bills that are coming to this floor.”[xvii] The minority party typically clamors most loudly about restrictive rules, but it has become a bane for majority Members as well. For instance, in 1993, when the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress administered a survey to all Members of the House and Senate, 40 percent of House Democrats who responded expressed a desire for more opportunities to offer Floor amendments (the Democrats were the majority party at the time).[xviii] Or as a Republican moderate who served in both the majority and minority said, “when you represent 700,000 people, members think it would be nice if you could go to the Floor with an idea and have it debated and voted on.”[xix] The most conservative wing of the House GOP has also frequently criticized the number of restrictive rules. For instance, one of the goals of the House Freedom Caucus is to open the amendment process.[xx] Members differ widely in their policies, but they agree that bills on the Floor should be amendable.

Where Members typically chafe under closed rules, they appreciate the opportunity to amend. “I thank the chairman pro tempore of the Rules Committee for an open rule on this. I think it is important, and we appreciate that”, one minority Republican said during a debate on a special order in 2008.[xxi] One minority Democratic Member of the Rules Committee, speaking in favor of a particular special order in 2014, said, “I believe it is a good thing to bring this bill to the floor under an open rule”.[xxii] Former Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, a Republican, also once noted, “I rarely go through a week that Democrats—and, of course, Republicans—that Democrats don’t stop me and say ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’” for the opportunity to amend.[xxiii]

Congressional leaders know well that open rules generate good will and that closed rules engender discontent. They themselves typically pledge to open debate. For instance, during the 2006 elections, when the Democrats won both Chambers, House Democrats declared, “Bills should generally come to the floor under a procedure that allows open, full, and fair debate consisting of a full amendment process that grants the Minority the right to offer its alternatives, including a substitute.”[xxiv] When the Democrats lost the majority and the Republicans took charge in 2011, Speaker John Boehner promised, “There were no open rules in the House in the last Congress. In this one, there will be many.”[xxv] In his 2015 inaugural address, Speaker Paul Ryan likewise said, “Let’s open up the process. Let people participate, and they might change their mind.”[xxvi] Left to right and top to bottom, Members of Congress support the open amendment process—at least in principle.

Since so many Members profess support for open rules, the House of Representatives should consider adopting more of them as part an effort at wholesale institutional reform. There are several ways this could be done. One way the House can promote open rules is by amending the standing rules to require a supermajority to approve a special order that limits amendments. The most basic example of such a rule is: “The Committee on Rules may not report a rule or order that would prevent amendments on legislation except by a 2/3 majority.” (Another threshold would be a 3/5 majority.) Strictly speaking, under the standing rules of the House, legislation is normally open to amendment by default. The House must already affirmatively vote to limit amendments, but since the majority party generally votes in unison on special rule resolutions, restricting amendments is easy. This reform would simply increase the number of votes needed to limit amendments. Assuming all Representatives are present and voting, a 2/3 supermajority is 290 Members, and a 3/5 supermajority is 261. Requiring a supermajority of that size protects an open amendment process because majorities are rarely that large, meaning minority-party Members would have to vote to limit amendments as well.

A supermajority requirement to limit amendments empowers various Members of the House in different ways. Since it protects amendments, it empowers rank-and-file Members generally. It also particularly empowers minority factions within the majority party, since the leadership, if they would like to limit amendments, must rely on every majority vote possible. It would also increase the power of the minority leadership and members of the committee reporting the bill in question. The majority party would need to secure the votes of the minority members of the committee proposing the bill – an incentive to bring a more bipartisan bill to the Floor in the first place. The majority party leadership would also likely have to work with the minority leadership to deliver the votes in favor of the special rule. Today, special rules are almost guaranteed to pass, and the minority traditionally votes against them. For instance, in the 113th Congress, there were in total only 16 votes in favor of the 6 open rules that received roll call votes. But in that Congress, to reach 3/5 of the whole House (261 Members), the majority would have needed 27 minority votes; to reach 2/3 of the whole House (290 Members), the majority would have needed 34 minority votes—and all that assumes there would be no majority defectors (and all Members are voting). That is a tall order, and it becomes even taller if a supermajority is instituted. If the supermajority requirement for closed rules is adopted, the minority has a strong chance to reject the rule. So the minority party leadership has a vested interest in maintaining party discipline and voting against the rule. We would expect the minority leadership to discourage defections by threatening to mete out hefty penalties to their members who vote for amendment-limiting special rules that they oppose. (Such penalties could include poor committee assignments or the withholding of campaign funds.) Thus to secure a closed rule, the majority party would have to work with the minority party leadership, giving the latter significant negotiating leverage. (There are, in fact, situations where the minority party might want to work with the majority. For instance, if a Democratic President and a Republican Speaker worked out a compromise on an issue, minority Democrats would have an incentive to vote for a closed rule to protect the parts of the deal they and the President find appealing.) In short, a supermajority requirement for closed rules would greatly strengthen the minority (however that minority is defined).

If granting greater power to the minority seems like too big a leap for majority Members initially, the House has other options to still carry out its agenda. Opponents of a rule change like this do have legitimate concerns. The House, after all, is a majoritarian institution. In fact, any new rule should be flexible enough to allow Members to resolve contingencies that arise and uphold certain long-standing practices. For instance, tax bills are customarily considered under closed rules due to their complexity.[xxvii] To maintain this tradition, the House could exempt bills reported from the Ways and Means Committee from this rule. The whole point of this rule change is to support one tradition (the amending process), so the rule itself should not wreak havoc on other time-honored conventions.

Another valid concern is whether reporting open rules will slow the legislative process too much. One way to ensure the expeditious consideration of legislation is that the supermajority rule could still permit a time limit on amendments. Another way is that the House could adopt a rule that permitted restrictive special rules in the last three days of a session of Congress or three days before the expiration of spending bill. We take here as a model the House rule that prohibits same-day consideration of a special resolution except in the last three days of a session,[xxviii] but an even longer period could be specified. Similarly, it could simply require a two-thirds majority for must-pass bills like appropriations and authorizations. This is not such a huge burden when you consider that even in recent years (with a few exceptions), appropriation bills have still been considered under open rules. Such a restriction would allow the House to limit the time spent on more minor legislation to maximize the time for more significant legislation.

Another way both to conserve time and to fend off against campaign amendments would be to allow the House to vote to restrict amendments once debate has begun. As it is today, once the House adopts a special rule, it may revise the rules of debate by adopting a new special rule.[xxix] So if there were a supermajority requirement for restrictions on amendments, even under today’s procedures, the House could later vote to limit further opportunities for amendment. If that procedure is not enough, along with a rule protecting the right to offer amendments, the House could adopt a rule that allows it to adopt restrictions on amendments mid-debate with a lower threshold than the 2/3 or 3/5 suggested above.

Instituting a supermajority requirement to restrict amendments has a weakness. A majority could evade the supermajority requirement by adopting a special rule that simply waives the supermajority rule. It employs a similar procedure already. The House generally requires a layover of at least one legislative day before it may consider a resolution the Rules Committee reports. If the House would like to consider a Rules Committee resolution on the same the day it is reported, with a couple exceptions (such as during the last three legislative days of a session), rule XIII, clause 6(a) requires a two-thirds supermajority to do so.[xxx] However, to sidestep this rule, the Rules Committee will report and the House will adopt special rule that waives the layover requirement for a specified time period or for any resolution that provides for consideration of a particular bill. For example, in the 113th Congress, the House adopted H. Res. 361, which read, “Resolved, That the requirement…for a two-thirds vote to consider a report from the Committee on Rules on the same day it is presented to the House is waived with respect to any resolution reported through the legislative day of September 30, 2013, relating to any of the following: (1) A measure making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014. (2) A measure relating to the public debt limit.”[xxxi] The House will pass a special rule like this and then, because this waiver of the layover has been granted, adopt a subsequent special rule on the day it has been reported. The House could employ a similar process to evade a rule requiring a supermajority for a structured or closed rule. If or whenever the House majority party attempted this tactic, the minority would be, predictably, outraged. Plus, if the majority party that uses this tactic had actually instituted the supermajority rule in the first place, the minority would be even angrier and would hurl accusations of hypocrisy and cynicism. It is likely that the House majority would attempt this tactic to limit amendments, since it occasionally does so for the layover requirement. Waiving the supermajority rule regarding amendments would probably actually anger the minority even more than waiving the layover supermajority requirement. Incivility and partisanship would be exacerbated.

If Members of the House do not wish to change the Chamber’s standing rules, but still want additional open special rule resolutions, there are a couple options available to institute this change. As noted above, most legislation is open to amendment by default, so the Rules Committee could simply report rules that are open—nothing special would need to be done. For this to succeed, each time the Rules Committee adopts a special rule, the majority-party leadership would have to make the decision to refrain from using a restrictive rule. Leaders already profess to desire open rules, so it is a legitimate option for reform, albeit one that is based completely on the good will of the Speaker. The Speaker would need Job-like patience and extraordinary civic virtue, especially in the face of poison pills and other messaging amendments. Even then, there are other options: In the past, when debate occurred under regular order – that is adherence to the Rules of the House – such nuisance amendments were easily dismissed by a skilled legislative tactician through procedures such as tabling resolutions. (When an amendment is offered the majority always has the option of offering a motion to table, to kill the amendment, which is non-debatable and subject to an immediate vote. It is not used too often, but is usually effective at confounding the ability of the amendment’s author to use the vote to score political points.)

In addition to the leadership-driven approach to providing more open rules without changing the standing rules, there is a bottom-up approach as well. The House could repeatedly refuse to adopt closed rules that the Rules Committee reports as a way to force the Committee to produce resolutions more acceptable to the Members. Since the minority party opposes the special rule with few defections, they will always be a reliable voting bloc to defeat a rule. Majority-party Members would then have to join them to defeat the rule. Depending on the size of the House majority, that could be only a handful or even a dozen or so. In the past two decades, sinking a rule has required as few as 6 majority Members to vote with the minority and as many as 40 (assuming all Members of the House are present and voting).[xxxii] This is a straight-forward approach to institutional change, but even if the parties were relatively evenly matched, it would be difficult, since it would be costly for the majority-party Members who attempt it. Those Members could expect retaliation from leadership for opposing the party’s agenda. For instance, leadership could deny the defectors prized committee assignments or the opportunity for legislative priorities to receive Floor votes. They could also lose funding for re-election campaigns. Additionally, even rank-and-file Members would have cause to punish defectors, since voting down special rules would disrupt the legislative process and impede legislation that a majority of the majority party supports. It would be incredibly easy for Members to take revenge simply by voting against their colleagues’ legislation in committee or on the Floor or by refusing to cooperate in the normal give-and-take of the legislative process. In short, it is a costly strategy. Moreover, the easier it is to pull off mathematically speaking, the costlier it is. If a party has a majority of only a few Members, they must maintain greater party unity to ensure success. Thus the party needs to make the consequences for opposition even more dire than if the party had a strong majority. To succeed in this strategy, Members of the majority party would need to display extraordinary dedication to their cause (or infuriating obstinacy, depending on your point of view).

For certain, opening up the amendment process, whatever way it is accomplished, will mean that Members of the majority would have to vote on more politically difficult votes than they do today. But, Congress is the legislative big leagues, and Members should be expected to take a high and tight fastball aimed at their head every once in a while.   The majority can always respond with a legislative mutually assured destruction pact by retaliating with amendments embarrassing to the minority. In any case, as mentioned above, there are ways to neutralize blatantly political amendments on the Floor.

The prospect of poison pill amendments points to a fact that cannot be forgotten: Merely permitting open rules more frequently is not the only element necessary for congressional reform. Incivility, partisanship and polarization have many complex causes; open rules alone will not solve remove these issues. So, even if the House had completely open rules more often than not, we would still expect to see a certain degree of acrimony and abuses of the amendment process. However, if the hypothesis that Members that can legislate are less likely to obstruct is correct, negative attitudes and tactics in the House would eventually decline. In general, friendlier relations between the parties might even discourage poison pill amendments and politically sensitive, election-year votes, since we anticipate that Members would be more respectful of their colleagues’ time and energy. Party leaders will learn to control their more fractious Members. To truly ensure the success of reinvigorating the amendment process, whichever way it is accomplished, most Members would have to act in good faith and refrain from abusing their prerogatives. If Members have the right to freely offer amendments, they must also fulfill their responsibility to observe the House’s norms and act with utmost respect towards their colleagues in both parties.

More positive relations between the parties may be too much for Congress to achieve right away, but it is a step in the right direction for an institution that has been damaged by the extreme polarization of the past few decades. Reporting fewer restrictive special rules is essential to reinvigorating Congress, and it must be part of a holistic effort to reform the institution. To ensure that opening the amendment process in the House is implemented in conjunction with other reforms, a new Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress (JCOC) should consider the topic. Such a Joint Committee, modeled on three committees of the same name created in the 20th century, would be given the authority to study and recommend ways to reform and strengthen the Legislative Branch. The three previous Joint Committees, held in 1945-1946, 1965-1966, and 1992-1993, each allowed Members to consider many ideas that were later turned into institutional reforms. The problem of restrictive rules was discussed during meetings of the last Joint Committee, but in the final report of the House Subcommittee, the minority issued another warning about the lack of open rules.[xxxiii] A new Joint Committee can pick up on this theme and consider it along with a host of others to improve Congress as a whole. Other necessary reforms include strengthening committee consideration of legislation and increasing institutional civility. For instance, greater consideration of Member proposals at the committee level would save time on the House Floor, since Members would have to consider fewer amendments there. There is little disagreement that wholesale reforms are needed for the budget and authorization process. Or even initiatives to promote civility (like regular bipartisan lunches or retreats) minimize the risk of toxic amendments on the Floor could be considered. Various reforms implemented in conjunction with issuing more open rules should mutually reinforce each other, creating a renewed and vibrant legislative process, where Members respect the constitutional roles of their colleagues in both parties.


Mark Strand is the President of the Congressional Institute. The Sausage Factory blog is a Congressional Institute project dedicated to explaining parliamentary procedure, Congressional politics, and other issues pertaining to the legislative branch.


[i] Congress. House Rules Committee. “About the Committee on Rules—History and Processes”. House Rules Committee. Accessed October 30, 2015.

[ii] Nomination of Rules Committee members is governed by rule 12(b) of the Rules of the House Republican Conference. The Democratic Caucus does not publish its rules. Today, leadership expects committee members to adhere to their positions closely. In 2015, when two members of the Rules Committee refused to support their party’s candidate for Speaker on the House Floor, they were removed.

[iii] Walter J. Oleszek. Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process, ninth edition. Los Angeles: Sage-CQ Press, 2014. P. 174.

[iv] Congress. Cong. Rec., 111th Cong., 1st sess., 2009, vol. 155, pt. 1: H14.

[v] Congress. Cong. Rec., 110th Cong., 1st sess., 2007, vol. 153, pt. 95: H6372.

[vi] Congress. House Rules Committee. Survey of Activities of the House Committee on Rules, 104th Congress, 104th Cong., 2nd sess., 1996, H. Rept. 104-868, 90.

[vii] Congress. House Rules Committee. Survey of Activities of the House Committee on Rules, 109th Congress, 109th Cong., 2nd sess., 2007, H. Rept. 109-743, 69.

[viii] Congress. House Rules Committee. Survey of Activities of the House Committee on Rules, 110th Congress, 110th Cong., 2nd sess., 2009, H. Rept. 110-931, 58.

[ix] Congress. House Rules Committee. Survey of Activities of the House Committee on Rules for the 113th Congress, 113th Cong., 2nd sess., 2015, H. Rept. 113-726, 50.

[x] House Rules Committee, Survey of Activities, 104th Congress, 90; House Rules Committee, Survey of Activities, 113th Congress, 50.

[xi] Congress. House Rules Committee, Survey of Activities of the House Committee on Rules, 111th Congress, 111th Cong., 2nd sess., 2011, H. Rept. 111-714, 48.

[xii] Congress. House Rules Committee. “Amending Appropriation Bills: A Basic Guide”. Accessed July 6, 2016.

[xiii] Other sources have calculated different numbers of closed and opened rules. There are valid reasons to count differently, but the numbers provided here should be sufficient to illustrate the general trend. Also, if anything, it would be in the Rules Committee’s political interest to over-report the number of open rules and under-report the number of closed rules, so the fact that the Committee itself indicates that the amendment process is increasingly closed is all the more telling.

[xiv] Congress. House Rules Committee. Survey of Activities of the House Committee on Rules, 110th Congress, 58; and House Rules Committee, Survey of Activities of the House Committee on Rules, 111th Congress, 48.

[xv] Congress. House Rules Committee. Survey of Activities of the House Committee on Rules for the 112th Congress, 112th Cong., 2nd sess., 2013, H. Rept. 112-751, 58.

[xvi] According to a Rules Committee staff member, 21 of the closed rules during the 113th Congress were during the government shutdown of 2013. They were closed “due to the urgency and importance of the situation”—personal email to author.

[xvii] Congress. Cong. Rec. 114th Cong., 1st sess., 2015, Vol. 161, pt. 11. H512.

[xviii] “No Action Taken on Congressional Reform”. In CQ Almanac 1993, 49th ed., 21-29. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1994.

[xix] Paul Singer. “Study shows amendments are nearly extinct in the House”. USA Today [online]. October 21, 2015. October 29, 2015.

[xx] Jake Sherman. “The obsession of the House Freedom Caucus”. Politico [online]. October 15, 2015. Accessed October 29, 2015.

[xxi] Congress. Cong. Rec., 110th Congress, 1st sess, 2008, 153, pt. 125: H9217.

[xxii] Congress. Cong. Rec., 113th Congress, 2nd sess, 2014, 160, pt. 76: H4497.

[xxiii] Jonathan Strong. “Veteran Lawmaker David Dreier Defends Congress”, Roll Call online. April 17, 2012. Accessed July 7, 2016.

[xxiv] U.S. House of Representatives Democrats. A New Direction for America. Available via The Washington Post online at Office of the House Democratic Leader. Accessed October 30, 2015.

[xxv] Congress. Cong. Rec., 112th Congress, 1st sess, 2011, 157, pt. 1: H5.

[xxvi] Congress. Cong. Rec., 114th Congress, 1st sess, 2015, 161, pt. 160: H7339.

[xxvii] Oleszek, Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process, p. 170.

[xxviii] Congress. House of Representatives. Rules of the House of Representatives. 114th Congress, 1st sess., 2015. Rule XIII, clause 6(a)(3).

[xxix] Wm. Holmes Brown, Charles W. Johnson and John V. Sullivan. House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents, and Practices of the House. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2011. P. 877.

[xxx] Congress. House of Representatives. Rules of the House of Representatives, 114th Congress, 114th Cong., 1st sess., 2015, Rule XIII(6)(a), p. 27.

[xxxi] Congress. House of Representatives. Waiving a requirement of clause 6(a) of rule XIII with respect to consideration of certain resolutions report from the Committee on Rules, H. Res. 361, 113th Cong., 1st sess., 2013. Available online Accessed July 11, 2016.

[xxxii] Calculations based on data from Statistics of the Congressional Election from Official Sources for the Election of November 4, 2014, U.S. Congress. House of Representatives, Office of the Clerk. Washington, 2015.

[xxxiii] Congress. House. Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. House Subcommittee. Organization of the Congress: Final Report of the House Members of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. 103rd Cong., 1st Sess. 1993. “Additional Views of David Dreier, Robert S. Walker, Gerald B.H. Solomon, Bill Emerson, Wayne Allard, and Jennifer Dunn” under “Supplemental and Additional Views”.