Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution says of Congress that “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.” But from time to time, leaders of the House of Representatives have expedited proceedings by suspending the Rules of the House and bringing bills up for quick consideration without amendment or debate. When he was in the minority last year, such behavior irked John Boehner:
“Leaders overreach because the rules allow them to. Legislators duck their responsibilities because the rules help them to. And when the rules donâ€™t suit the majority’s purposes, they are just ignored.
Thereâ€™s no accountability, and there are no consequences. Whether we here in Washington believe this or not, the people clearly do. Think about how our constant flouting of the rules sits with a small business owner who has to spend his or her day complying with all the mandates and regulations our government sends down.”
– Representative John Boehner, September 30 2010
Now that John Boehner is Speaker of the House and in control of the majority and the Rules Committee itself, how often will he overreach or ignore the House Rules? How often will he abide by the House Rules, which were passed under his own administration to great fanfare and the reading of the Constitution in January of 2011?
To track the actions of the Congress under this reformist outsider turned Speaker, we at That’s My Congress will track the record of legislation coming up for consideration on the floor of the House. As weeks pass, how many of the bills that make it to the floor are considered under House rules? How often are rules being suspended for reasons of expedition?
Here’s the record so far of the 112th Congress on the suspension of its own rules:
By February, a majority of bills were being considered under the suspension of House Rules. As the weeks continue to pass, we’ll continue to provide updated information.