Representatives Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty joined other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus this week to support a package of proposed changes to House rules they say would help break partisan gridlock in the chamber.
“Unfortunately, many of the rules in the House reward opportunistic extremists while preventing measures with broad, bipartisan support from ever seeing the light of day. With this Break the Gridlock proposal, I’ll join fellow Democrats and Republicans to fight against the paralysis that frustrates Americans and better deliver results for Connecticut workers, businesses and kids,” Himes said.
The proposal from the group of about 50 moderate Democrats and Republicans would:
• Give fast-track priority to bipartisan legislation and guarantee that bills with bipartisan support get full consideration by House committees.
• Allow both parties to have at least one amendment to major legislation to be considered on the House floor.
• Require a three-fifths supermajority to approve legislation considered under “closed rules” where amendments are limited.
• Force the Rules Committee — which controls the terms of debate on the House floor — to consider any legislation cosponsored by two-thirds of the House’s members, or a majority of members of each party.
• Require that the Rules Committee consider any amendment with 20 Republican and 20 Democratic co-sponsors.
Esty said the proposals offered by the bipartisan Problems Solvers Caucus would “get Congress — and democracy — back to working for the American people by requiring that more amendments and more bipartisan bills be allowed to come to the House floor for debate and votes.”
The Problem Solvers Caucus was organized two years ago in an attempt to find common ground between Democrats and Republicans on policy issues. It is unlikely that any changes would be made to the House rules until the next Congress is seated in January. The caucus hopes to support a House Speaker who will embrace their proposed rule changes.
New York Republican Tom Reed, who co-chairs the caucus, said that he won’t vote for anyone who does not support the reforms.
“We care about reforming the institution, so that Congress is actually able to get things done for the people back home,” he said, according to the Buffalo News.
The full list of goals and proposals in “Break the Gridlock” can be found here.