One month ago, No Labels released The Speaker Project, in which it called for significant rule changes in the next Congress to give bipartisan ideas a fair hearing and a fighting chance. Today, the House Problem Solvers Caucus heeded the call, with the release of its own Break the Gridlock reform package. Whichever party controls the next Congress will do so with a narrow majority and a new speaker, creating an opening for a small group of reformers to push through rule changes in the next Congress that might normally be impossible.
Together, the rules changes envisioned in Break the Gridlock would create a more open and inclusive legislative process, empowering committees and rank-and-file members and diminishing the influence of extreme elements in both parties that often grind Congress to a halt.
“In this last year, the Problem Solvers Caucus has aligned time and time again behind bipartisan proposals to fix tough problems,” said No Labels co-chair Joe Lieberman. “But their ideas could never even get a vote because of the arcane House rules. So, the Caucus decided the rules must be changed and No Labels is behind them 100 percent. We hope and expect that both House members and candidates and House leaders will embrace Break the Gridlock as the necessary tonic to fix our terminally dysfunctional Congress.”
The most notable change called for in Break the Gridlock—which was also included in The Speaker Project—is the elimination of the “motion to vacate” rule, which has enabled small ideological groups in the House to effectively hold speakers hostage to their demands. Other proposals in Break the Gridlock would require a supermajority for passage and consideration of legislation under closed rules and establish a fast-track procedure to enable bipartisan legislation and amendments to receive priority consideration.
Other No Labels leaders today expressed their strong support for Break the Gridlock, including:
Tom Davis, No Labels Co-Founder
“Supporting Break the Gridlock is a political winner in any swing district across the country. Break the Gridlock offers a chance for candidates and members to show their voters they are willing to do something big to fix this broken Congress.”
Mack McLarty, No Labels Vice Chair
“This is a bold stroke by the Problem Solvers Caucus as Break the Gridlock features ideas that would fundamentally transform our next Congress. For the first time in a long time, bold, bipartisan reforms would actually have a chance to pass the House. I hope other House members and candidates will follow their lead.”
Al Cardenas, No Labels Vice Chair
“This is what real leadership looks like. The Problem Solvers Caucus knows these rules changes won’t be easy to implement and they challenge some very powerful entrenched interests in Congress. But the Problem Solvers Caucus has proposed Break the Gridlock because they understand it is what our Congress, and most important, our country, need.”