Monday, June 3, 2013

HR 2217 Rule Adopted by Rules Committee

Earlier this evening the House Rules Committee reported favorably H Res 243 establishing the rule for the consideration of HR 2217, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2014 (and HR 2216, Military Construction). As I predicted earlier the bill is an open rule providing for wide ranging floor amendments on the bill.
Floor Amendments

The way this occurs is that the Clerk of the House will start to read the bill. As the reading gets to a portion of the bill which a member wants to change, the member will ask to be recognized to offer an amendment. The amendment will be read and the member will be allowed up to five minutes to explain and justify the amendment. Once the amendment is voted up or down the Clerk will resume reading the bill.

If two or more members rise to offer amendments to the same portion of the bill, the Rule allow the Chair of the Committee of the Whole House to give priority to any member that had had the proposed amendment published in the Congressional Record. We may see those amendments starting in the issue of the CR published this morning for yesterday’s session. I will, of course, report on amendments of interest here.

Parliamentary Shortcut Attempted

Rep. Van Hollen (D,MD) offered an amendment to H Res 243 that would have provided an interesting short cut to the legislative process for the consideration of HR 2217. The House Rules Committee site summarizes the amendment this way:

“Calls on the Speaker to follow regular House procedure and immediately request a conference and appoint conferees to negotiate a fiscal year 2014 budget resolution conference agreement with the Senate.”

This amendment reflects the reality that whatever version of HR 2217 that is passed by the House, it is unlikely that the Senate will even debate that version. The Senate Appropriations Committee will write their own DHS appropriations bill and then amend and vote on that bill. The adopted language will then be substituted for the House language in HR 2217. A conference committee would then be appointed to work out the differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill. That re-amended bill would then be voted upon in each house with limited debate and no amendments. This would have virtually eliminate the unnecessary floor amendment process. The amendment was defeated on a party-line vote.

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