Blue Dog Leadership Calls for Regular Order, Nonpartisan Cost Estimates Prior to Floor Votes on Legislation
Mar 31, 2021
WASHINGTON—Today, the Co-Chairs of the fiscally-responsible Blue Dog Coalition—Reps. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Ed Case (HI-01), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), and Kurt Schrader (OR-05)—sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Committee on Rules Chairman Jim McGovern calling for the following: 1) adherence to the letter and spirit House rules that encourage regular order, such as requiring a committee hearing and mark up, and allowing for reasonable floor amendments, and 2) a score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) or Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) with adequate time for review prior to a floor vote on legislation.
This letter comes as the House approaches the April 1 deadline to take up legislation without a congressional hearing or mark up in accordance with the House Rules for the 117th Congress.
SEE BELOW FOR THE FULL LETTER TEXT:
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, and Chairman McGovern:
With the pending April 1st expiration of the period in which bills may bypass committee deliberations and come straight to the floor, we write to urge that the House revert to full adherence to the letter and spirit of the current House Rules encouraging regular order. We also request that legislation should not be considered on the House floor unless it has received a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) or the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and Members of Congress have had adequate time to review that score before a vote on the measure.
Regular order is essential to ensuring the views of our constituents are heard and considered regardless of the legislative outcome. Specifically, H.Res.8 requires proposed legislation to be heard and marked up in the committees of jurisdiction before referral to the House Rules Committee for consideration of full House action. This, paired with the allowance of reasonable floor amendments by the Rules Committee, checks excessive control of the legislative process, encourages broad Member inclusion and ensures that the legislative product will be broadly representative and supportable.
In addition to adherence to regular order, the CBO and JCT play crucial roles in good policymaking by producing nonpartisan reports and estimates that project the cost and other economic effects of legislation under consideration by Congress. Without these reports and estimates, lawmakers are blind to the economic effects of the policies they are developing. When provided with reasonable time ahead of a floor vote, these reports give Congress the opportunity to further improve legislation by preventing any unintended policy consequences and fully evaluating options to address unpaid-for measures.
It is our view that these steps are key for Democrats to uphold our promise to the American people for inclusive, responsible, and transparent governance. Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to continuing to work with you to build our country back better.