Washington, DC – Today, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern announced a change included in today’s Rule that will allow the House to hold one vote on broadly bipartisan legislation on this week’s Suspension Calendar. The language of the Rule gives the Majority Leader or his designee the ability to en bloc requested roll call votes on suspension bills considered on April 19 or 20. This authority lasts through April 22.
“Throughout modern history, the Suspension Calendar has offered a clear path for the House to vote on and approve matters of broad agreement and unity,” Hoyer said. “What we have seen in the past few weeks has been an unfortunate example of extreme partisanship getting in the way of even the most bipartisan legislation there is. The temporary change in how these bipartisan bills will be voted on this week, put in effect by today’s Rule, shows that we will not be stopped from carrying out the people’s business. I have spoken with many Members of the Republican Conference about this situation, and with this Rule only in force for this week, I hope they recognize the value of bipartisanship and we can return to using the Suspension Calendar process to govern responsibly for our constituents.”
“This Congress has important work to do,” said McGovern. “It is unfortunate that some Republican members are using obstruction tactics on the most bipartisan and noncontroversial bills. There are Democrats and Republicans who want to get things done, and we will work around those who do not,” said McGovern.
Since Freedom Caucus Members began forcing recorded votes on the bipartisan legislation listed on the Suspension Calendar in February, the House has spent more than fifteen hours voting on these bills. If the House held votes on all eighteen of the Suspension Calendar bills that these Members insisted we vote on yesterday, that would require more than nine hours of additional voting time just this week. When the House votes on these bipartisan bills, nearly all Republicans vote for them. For example, last night, Freedom Caucus Members insisted on a roll call vote on H. Res. 130, which condemns China’s anti-democracy crackdown in Hong Kong, that passed 418-1. On April 15, Republicans demanded a recorded vote on H.R. 941, which reauthorized medical research programs, even though it ended up passing 415-2. Time spent holding votes on overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation that would normally be passed by voice vote or unanimously means less time for the House to consider other critical legislation addressing pressing issues, for Committees to conduct hearings and markups, and for Members to conduct important meetings with constituents.
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