What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Protecting Rights of Congressional Minorities : H. Res. 5. Rules of the House of Representatives/Procedural Vote to End Debate, Prevent Further Amendments and Proceed to a Vote on Final Passage of Republican-Drafted Resolution Establishing Rules to Govern the 109th Congress. (2005 house Roll Call 4)
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H. Res. 5. Rules of the House of Representatives/Procedural Vote to End Debate, Prevent Further Amendments and Proceed to a Vote on Final Passage of Republican-Drafted Resolution Establishing Rules to Govern the 109th Congress.
house Roll Call 4     Jan 04, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House voted 222 to 196 to order the previous question (end debate, prevent further amendments and proceed to a vote) on H. Res. 5, the Republican-drafted resolution establishing the rules that would govern the House of Representatives in the 109th Congress. (Each two-year period beginning in January following congressional elections the previous November is considered a "Congress.") These rules must be re-adopted every two years when a new Congress begins. H. Res. 5 contained a number of significant changes from the rules that governed the 108th Congress, including the creation of a Committee on Homeland Security, the introduction of the concept of a "provisional quorum" (provisional majority required in order for Congress to vote and otherwise conduct certain business) in the case of catastrophe and changes in ethics-related provisions. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) argued on behalf of Democrats that the Republican-drafted ethics provisions of H. Res. 5 would "destroy" the House ethics process; specifically, she condemned a change in the operation of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the House committee with oversight over internal ethics issues). Under previous rules, if the Committee, which is evenly divided between the parties, deadlocked on an ethics complaint, the complaint would automatically proceed to investigators. H. Res. 5 proposed to change this procedure by permitting a complaint that deadlocked the committee simply to die. In addition, H. Res. 5 proposed to eliminate the requirement that the Committee act on complaints within 45 days. Democrats argued that these changes would effectively grant the Republicans veto power over who might or might not be subject to an ethics investigation and would permit Republicans simply to ignore complaints by "running out the clock." Republicans countered that the package of rules in its entirety would uphold a very high ethics standard for the House, and that these provisions would guarantee due process (procedures to safeguard the rights of someone accused of wrongdoing) and "restore the presumption of innocence" to members against whom ethics complaints have been filed. By voting along party lines to order the previous question, the House allowed consideration of the Republican rules package to proceed with the ethics proposals intact, thereby making it easier effectively to dismiss ethics complaints.

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