Democrats Friday released proposed changes to the House rules, including a move that would undercut the GOP’s ability to amend legislation.
The House convenes for the 117th session beginning on Sunday and will vote on a package of rules that will govern the two-year session.
Democrats, who are in the majority, have been angling for a way to thwart the GOP on last-minute amendments, which Republicans have successfully won eight times, by crafting provisions that attracted the support of some Democrats.
A new change for the 117th session would no longer allow Republicans to amend a bill at the last minute through a process known as a motion to recommit. Instead, the motion to recommit would send a measure back to committee, effectively killing it.
Democrats, in an announcement on Friday, said the change was necessary, “so this tool meant to improve bills is no longer used to hijack the legislative process for political gamesmanship.”
In February 2019, a Republican motion “to combat anti-Semitism around the world” won unanimous approval by the House. It followed comments made on social media by Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, that were deemed to be anti-Semitic.
The rules package includes other changes.
A new rules section would address diversity by establishing the Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth. Another House rule will require committees to include a directive to discuss “how committee work over the forthcoming Congress will address issues of inequities on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or national origin.”
The new rules will “honor all gender identities by changing pronouns and familial relationships in the House rules to be gender neutral.”
And it will make permanent the recently established Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which exists to diversify the Capitol workforce.
Among the other rules changes for the coming session is a prohibition against former members accessing the floor if they have been convicted of a crime related to their office. Another new change would make it a violation of House rules to expose the name of a whistleblower.
Whistleblower protection became a top issue last year during the impeachment of President Trump, which was based on an anonymous report from an intelligence community employee who leaked Trump’s call with the Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The rules package will also make it a violation of the House code of conduct for any member or staff to send “manipulated media,” including “photos and videos, known as “dee