Problem Solvers Dems urge Pelosi to publicly back three rules changes

By Emily Birnbaum

For The Hill
November 26, 2018

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Nine Democratic members of the Problem Solvers Caucus are urging House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to back three rules changes as she aims to drum up enough support to take over the Speakership in the next Congress.

The band of Democrats have been threatening to withhold their votes unless Pelosi agrees to overhaul House rules according to their proposals, throwing a wrench into Pelosi’s bid for the gavel.

Now, nine of them are urging Pelosi to publicly support three of their “Break the Gridlock” rules. Pelosi is set to meet with the group of Problem Solvers later this week.

The band of Democratic representatives include Reps. Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren Soto (Fla.).

“In this era of divided government, we hope Leader Pelosi will join us in taking these three concrete steps for change to help break the gridlock and pass meaningful legislation to fix health care, immigration, and infrastructure,” they wrote in a statement obtained by The Hill.

They say the three proposals would make it easier to pass popular bipartisan bills that have frequently been sidelined in recent years.

The first proposal would require that any legislation that achieves 290 co-sponsors — three-fifths of the House — be debated and get a timely floor vote.

The second would mandate that any amendment with at least 20 co-sponsors from both parties would get a debate and a vote.

The final proposal says every member in every new Congress can introduce one bill on the committee on which he or she serves that would be guaranteed debate and a committee vote as long as the measure is bipartisan and germane to that panel’s jurisdiction.

Pelosi only needs a simple majority to become the party’s nominee for Speaker during the closed-door caucus vote on Wednesday, but she needs a majority of the entire House, or 218 votes, in January.

She has been negotiating with the Problem Solvers Caucus and last week promised that she would put in writing her commitment to some changes.