Suspension of Rules in the House: Measure Sponsorship by Party

From the 100th through the 105th Congresses (1987-1998), the House of Representatives acted on measures through a motion to suspend the rules an average of 549 times per Congress. Measures so acted on were sponsored by Members of the minority party, on average, 17.3% of the time (15.9% if sponsors of House measures only are counted). Figures for the 106th through the 108th Congresses, are significantly above these averages.

Order Code 97-901 GOV Updated January 6, 2005 CRS Report for Congress Received through the CRS Web Suspension of Rules in the House: Measure Sponsorship by Party -name redactedAnalyst in American National Government Government and Finance Division Summary From the 100th through the 105th Congresses (1987-1998), the House of Representatives acted on measures through a motion to suspend the rules an average of 549 times per Congress. Measures so acted on were sponsored by Members of the minority party, on average, 17.3% of the time (15.9% if sponsors of House measures only are counted). Figures for the 106th through the 108th Congresses, are significantly above these averages. Measures Sponsored by Members of Each Party Acted on by Suspension of the Rules in the House During the past decade, the House of Representatives has made frequent use of its procedure for acting expeditiously on measures through a motion to suspend the rules. The procedure is regarded as well adapted for this purpose, because it limits debate to 40 minutes, permits no floor amendments, and requires two-thirds of Members present and voting (a quorum being present) to pass the measure.1 The procedure is frequently used for measures not involving great complexity or controversy. It is most commonly used for initial House action on measures, in the form of a motion to suspend the rules and pass a bill, or to suspend the rules and adopt a joint, concurrent, or House resolution. Suspension of the rules is sometimes also used for action to resolve differences with the Senate, in the form of a motion to suspend the rules and concur with Senate amendments (either with or without further amendment) or, occasionally, to suspend the rules and adopt a conference report. This report examines all action by suspension of the rules, whether for initial passage or final action. It also includes all motions to suspend the rules, whether or not the motions were adopted. 1 For a fuller explanation of this procedure and its use, see CRS Report 98-796, Suspension of the Rules in the House of Representatives, by (name redacted). Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress CRS-2 The two tables that follow present data on the number of times measures were acted on by suspension of the rules in the House of Representatives during the 100th through the 108th Congress. Table 1 provides the number and percent of such measures originally sponsored by members of each party. It includes action on both House and Senate measures, with Senate measures counted under the party of their Senate sponsor. Table 2 offers similar information for only those measures introduced by House Members. The data for the 100th through the 105th Congresses were obtained through the legislative status data bases maintained by LEGI-SLATE.2 Data for the 106th through the 108th Congresses were compiled using the Legislative Information System (LIS). Table 1. Motions to Suspend the Rules in the House, by Party of Sponsor, 1987-2003 Measure Sponsored by a Congress and (Years) Democrat Number Republican Percent Total Number Percent 100 (1987-1988) 512 83.4 102 16.6 614 101 (1989-1990) 468 80.3 115 19.7 583 102 (1991-1992) 513 83.4 102 16.6 615 103 (1993-1994) 412 88.2 55 11.8 467 104 (1995-1996) 69 17.2 332 82.8 401 105 (1997-1998) 126 20.4 491 79.6 617 106 (1999-2000) 207 23.2 686 76.8 893 107 (2001-2002) 154 22.5 531 77.5 685 108 (2003-2004) 273 29.5 651 70.5 924 Source: LEGI-SLATE data base 100th -105th; Legislative Information System (LIS) 106th-108th. a. Independents are included with the party from which they receive their Committee assignments. 2 The LEGI-SLATE database ceased to be maintained in Sept. 1999. CRS-3 Table 2. Motions to Suspend the Rules in the House, by Party of Sponsor, 1987-2003 (House Measures Only) Measure Sponsored by a Congress and (Years) Democrat Republican Total Number Percent Number Percent 100 (1987-1988) 430 84.0 82 16.0 512 101 (1989-1990) 420 83.5 83 16.5 503 102 (1991-1992) 456 85.4 78 14.6 534 103 (1993-1994) 369 90.4 39 9.6 408 104 (1995-1996) 64 17.3 306 82.7 370 105 (1997-1998) 106 20.6 409 79.4 515 106 (1999-2000) 177 23.8 566 76.2 743 107 (2001-2002) 133 21 501 79 634 108 (2003-2004 ) 242 30.0 564 70.0 806 Source: LEGI-SLATE data base 100th -105th; Legislative Information System (LIS) 106th -108th . a. Independents are included with the party from which they receive their Committee assignments. [Note: Previous versions of this report were prepared by Faye M. Bullock, Technical Information Specialist and (name redacted), Specialist in the Legislative Process, Government and Finance Division; and Jennifer Manning, Senior Research Librarian, Information Research Division.] EveryCRSReport.com The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a federal legislative branch agency, housed inside the Library of Congress, charged with providing the United States Congress non-partisan advice on issues that may come before Congress. EveryCRSReport.com republishes CRS reports that are available to all Congressional staff. The reports are not classified, and Members of Congress routinely make individual reports available to the public. Prior to our republication, we redacted names, phone numbers and email addresses of analysts who produced the reports. We also added this page to the report. We have not intentionally made any other changes to any report published on EveryCRSReport.com. 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