On the first day of the new Congress next January, members will elect a new House speaker and adopt a package of rules to guide House procedures for the next two years.

This is the moment when No Labels and the Problem Solvers Caucus could have more leverage than at any time in our history.
Any speaker nominee needs majority support (218 votes) to get the job. In an evenly divided Congress— which most election forecasters expect—a small group of united members has significant power. These members could commit that they will not vote for any speaker nominee who does not support the Break The Gridlock reform package.

If this group of reformers hangs together, a speaker nominee will have to meet their demands to get the necessary 218 votes to be elected.

Working in the middle is tough, but it’s the place where problems get solved.

On Wednesday, July 25 members of the Problem Solvers Caucus held a press conference to unveil their “Break the Gridlock” package, which aims to reform the rules in the U.S. House of Representatives to give bipartisan legislation a fighting chance. Download the Break The Gridlock Packet.

Break The Gridlock

Many bills and policy solutions in the House are supported by a majority of Americans and even a majority of all House members, but never receive a vote on the House floor. Why? Because House rules empower the extremes in both parties at the expense of everyone else. The Break the Gridlock reform package proposed by the Problem Solvers Caucus seeks to fix our broken Congress with aggressive and specific reforms that advance four goals:

Encourage and reward consensus driven governing

• Eliminate the “Motion to Vacate,” a provision that has resulted in the speaker often being effectively held hostage by a small fraction of his or her party.
• Give the minority party fair representation on the all-important Rules Committee, which governs how all legislation is considered on the House floor.
• Make it harder (via a super majority requirement) to bring legislation to the House floor under “closed rules,” which prohibits members from adding amendments to legislation.
• Require any structured rule governing the debate of legislation to include at least one germane amendment from each party.

Foster passage of member initiatives solving constituent priorities

• Establish a fast-track procedure with several specific parliamentary changes that would enable bipartisan legislation and amendments to receive priority consideration on the House floor.
• Guarantee that each members of Congress be granted a markup on at least one piece of legislation of their choice, provided it has a cosponsor from the other party, and is referred to a committee on which they serve.
• Establish a bipartisan annual joint meeting at the U.S. Capitol at the beginning of each Congress to discuss the term’s legislative agenda and help encourage bipartisan cooperation.

Increase accountability & transparency

• Require a minimum of three-business-day notice for committee markup on any legislation to ensure that the minority party has adequate time to prepare for changes.
• Require a majority vote on all Committees to allow for the Chair to waive jurisdiction over legislation, which would help ensure more legislation is considered through “regular order” such as going through relevant committees first before reaching the House floor.

Elect a speaker that is a representative of the entire body

• Require the election of the Speaker of the House to require an absolute majority of all members of the House (218 votes) regardless of whether they are present and voting at the time of the election.


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Break the Gridlock

Read the package

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