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H. Res. 6 Adopting the rules of the House of Representative for the 110th Congress/Motion to commit with instructions
house Roll Call 10     Jan 05, 2007
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This vote dealt with whether the House would send back to committee for revision a set of rules that would govern the conduct of lawmakers for the coming two-year session. Every two years when a new Congress meets for the first time members have to agree on what's known as a "rules package," the ground rules that guide lawmakers' conduct both on and off the House floor. It governs everything from how debate is conducted to what lawmakers can accept from lobbyists to what privileges are afforded to the minority party. The rules package must be agreed to before any other business is conducted, and it sets the tone for the entire two-year Congress. The rules package proposed by the Democrats for the 110th Congress codified many campaign promises, including reforms to the ethics rules, curtailing the ability of lawmakers to secretly slip provisions into bills that only benefit narrow interests and making it more difficult for Congress to pass bills that increase the deficit. In the Democrats' view, the rules package serves to reign in the abuses of House civility and corruption they perceived since the chamber underwent Republican control in 1995. A largely symbolic vote, a motion to commit with instructions is the minority's last chance to make substantive changes to a measure before a final up-or-down vote. Predictably, the motion failed on a party-line vote, with all 232 Democrats present voting against it and all 200 Republicans present voting for it. Although there were many provisions in the Democrat-drafted rules package that Republicans wanted to see changed, the minority party most wanted to thwart the new Democratic majority's effort to enact the so-called "100 hours" legislation that Democrats had promised on the campaign trail. The 100-hours agenda includes bills to raise the minimum wage, implement intelligence provisions of the 9/11 Commissions' report, open up more federally funded stem-cell research and allow the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices. The fifth and final title of the rules package contained several parliamentary provisions that paved the way for passage of those measures, and thus preventing the rules package from going into effect as written would have served to stop the Democrats from enacting their campaign promises. The failure of the motion to recommit meant that Republicans were shut out in their attempts to change the rules package before it was enacted and to prevent the Democrats from pushing ahead with the 100-hours agenda with the parliamentary wheels already greased. (run on) The fifth and final title of the rules package for the 110th Congress headed for an up-or-down vote.

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