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House Rules


Bruce
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Speaker Pelosi presents the following proposed set of House rules originally considered for the 117th Congress and to remain in effect until replaced by a 2/3 majority vote:

 

House Leadership & Roll Call

  1. To begin each session of Congress, there shall be a 72 hour Roll Call which is useful for multiple reasons (claiming your salaries, electing a Speaker, determining Committee seat structure per party, etc). 
  2. Before each session of Congress convenes, each party with membership in Congress shall elect within their own caucus their leadership positions (excluding Speaker of the House) for the upcoming sessions in accordance with each party's respective party Rules. It is recommended to schedule leadership elections to coincide with the end of the Roll Call to allow the House to get to work right away.
  3. Leadership positions:
    1. Speaker of the House
    2. House Majority Leader
    3. House Minority Leader
    4. House Majority Whip (optional)
    5. House Minority Whip (optional)
  4. The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the House, responsible for maintaining decorum on the floor, bringing new bills up for debate, distributing bills from the Hopper to committees, and naming Committee members. The Speaker may designate any of these roles to another character at their discretion. 
  5. The Speaker of the House elected by a vote among all members of the House during the Roll Call at the beginning of each new session of Congress. If no person obtains a majority of votes on the first ballot, subsequent 24 hour votes will be held with no disqualification of any candidate until a majority is obtained. For all Speaker votes, the voting calculator will be used.

Introducing Legislation

  1. At the start of a new session of Congress, members may begin to propose and introduce legislation to the House Hopper. All new legislation, rules changes, appointments, or special committee requests must be posted in the Hopper for it to be considered by the House. 
  2. Bills from previous sessions of Congress do not carry over to the new session, but are eligible to be reintroduced.
  3. While a bill is in the Hopper, members may choose to co-sponsor the legislation, in which case the original author may add their name to the bill. However, please refrain from making dramatic changes to the text of legislation once it has been introduced unless posting a reply clarifying the changes you have made. 
  4. All bills must remain in the Hopper for no less than 24 hours before being eligible to be sent to committee. After 24 hours, the Speaker or their designee shall send the bill to its appropriate committee hopper. 
  5. If a bill is written primarily or originally by an OOC member of Congress or another player, the member is required to cite that member as a co-sponsor and give credit for the work. Failure to comply will result in the bill's inability to be considered permanently. 
  6. A plain English summary (PES) is required at the bottom of all complex legislation. Any bill deemed to require a PES by a ruling of the Speaker of the House cannot be considered by the House until one is added. Once a PES has been included in the bill, it is eligible to be brought back to the House for debate. 

Debating & Voting

  1. DOCKET -- It is the responsibility of the Speaker or their designee to set the docket of bills to be considered by the full House. There may not be more than 1 docket being debated at the same time; provided that less than 3 bills are being debated at a given time, a new docket may be introduced. Each docket shall be numbered and posted in the appropriate thread.
  2. DOCKET LIMITS -- All bills that have passed committee are eligible to be placed on the docket. On each docket, it must consist of no less than 3 bills and no more than five. A docket may only consist of bills that have been passed by committees unless a motion to bypass committee is passed or by admin decree. 
  3. DOCKET ANNOUNCEMENT -- The Speaker or their designee must announce all dockets no less than 24 hours prior to being brought to the floor for consideration. This includes both regular dockets and dockets with appointments or unusual legislation.
  4. DEBATE -- Once a bill has been placed on the docket and the 24 hour waiting period has ended, all bills on the docket may be brought forth before the entire House for consideration. Time for debate shall be no less than 48 hours and no more than 96 hours and must be announced by the Speaker or their designee at the beginning of debate. 
  5. DECORUM -- During all debate, members must address the presiding officer and yield the floor when finished addressing the presiding officer. Debate may not be directed towards any other member within the chamber other than the presiding officer. Debate must always remain respectful as befitting of the historic chamber you are in.
  6. VOTING -- After time for debate has elapsed, a bill will then proceed to a vote. The presiding officer shall set forth the length of time the bill shall be voted on by all voting eligible members. Time for voting shall be no less than 48 hours and no more than 96 hours and must be announced by the Speaker or their designee at the beginning of the voting period.
  7. VOTING RESULTS -- Most bills and motions require a simple majority of all votes cast to pass, but all changes to these rules require a 2/3 majority. If a bill fails to receive a simple majority of all valid votes it is considered defeated and may not be considered further. The presiding officer shall use the Voting Calculator for calculation of all votes (including motions, amendments, all final votes).
  8. VOTING REGULATION -- Any vote considered invalid shall not be calculated into the final vote total. If under any circumstances the presiding officer counts an invalid vote, the vote in total shall be considered invalid and the bill automatically considered laid on the table.

For 2025 only: 

Debating & Voting

DOCKET -- It is the responsibility of the Speaker or their designee to set the docket of bills to be considered by the full House. There may not be more than 1 docket being debated at the same time; provided that less than 3 bills are being debated at a given time, a new docket may be introduced. Each docket shall be numbered and posted in the appropriate thread.
DOCKET LIMITS -- All bills that have passed committee are eligible to be placed on the docket. On each docket, it must consist of no less than 3 bills and no more than five. A docket may only consist of bills that have been passed by committees unless a motion to bypass committee is passed or by admin decree. 
DOCKET ANNOUNCEMENT -- The Speaker or their designee must announce all dockets no less than 24 hours prior to being brought to the floor for consideration. This includes both regular dockets and dockets with appointments or unusual legislation.
DEBATE -- Once a bill has been placed on the docket and the 24 hour waiting period has ended, all bills on the docket may be brought forth before the entire House for consideration. Time for debate shall be no less than 48 hours and no more than 96 hours and must be announced by the Speaker or their designee at the beginning of debate. 
DECORUM -- During all debate, members must address the presiding officer and yield the floor when finished addressing the presiding officer. Debate may not be directed towards any other member within the chamber other than the presiding officer. Debate must always remain respectful as befitting of the historic chamber you are in.
VOTING -- After time for debate has elapsed, a bill will then proceed to a vote. The presiding officer shall set forth the length of time the bill shall be voted on by all voting eligible members. Time for voting shall be no less than 48 24 hours and no more than 96 hours and must be announced by the Speaker or their designee at the beginning of the voting period.

Motions

  1. During debate on a bill, only the following motions may be entertained in the ordered precedence:
    1. TO LAY ON THE TABLE -- A motion to table the bill and end consideration until a motion to reconsider on the bill is passed. Requires a second within twenty-four hours. Upon recognition of the motion following a valid second, the motion shall be put to a vote for 24 hours. The motion shall be decided without debate. Only one motion to lay on the table can be recognized for a bill being debated. 2/3 majority needed to pass.
    2. TO PASS VIA UNANIMOUS CONSENT -- A motion to pass a bill via unanimous consent of the chamber without further debate. Does not require a second. Once the motion is made, all other members have 24 hours to object to the motion or it passes.
    3. TO REFER -- A motion to refer a bill that is being considered before the full floor of the chamber back to committee. Requires a second to be recognized. Upon recognition of the motion following a valid second, the motion shall be put to a vote for 24 hours. The motion shall be decided without debate. Simple majority needed to pass.
    4. TO BYPASS COMMITTEE -- A motion to bypass committee and bring a bill directly onto the floor for consideration before the full chamber. Requires a second to be recognized. Upon recognition of the motion following a valid second, the motion shall be put to a vote for 24 hours. The motion shall be decided without debate. 3/5 majority needed to pass. This motion may be made while a bill is still in the Hopper.
    5. EXTEND OR LIMIT DEBATE -- A motion to extend the debate of an appointment, or limit the debate of an appointment. Requires as second to be recognized. A motion to extend debate can only extend debate for a maximum of 72 additional hours, and no less than 24 hours. Only two motions of the kind can be applied if passed to the debate of an appointment. Simple majority needed to pass. A motion to limit debate can only be considered if the initial debate length of an appointment is greater than 48 hours, and can only limit debate to a 24 hour length. Requires a second to be recognized. Votes on both motions will last 24 hours.
    6. TO POSTPONE TO A CERTAIN TIME -- A motion to postpone an action on a bill until an explicitly specified time. Requires a second to be recognized. Vote on such motion shall last 24 hours. Requires 2/3 majority to pass. The motion shall be decided without debate.
    7. TO AMEND -- A member may make a motion to amend a bill being considered by the chamber. A member must explicitly state the desired amendment to the bill and changes it will have. Requires a second, and vote on such motion shall last 24 hours. Requires simple majority to pass. The motion shall be decided without debate. All amendments are subject to the germane clause, stating, that no amendment proposed may be on a different subject than the subject of the bill itself. An ungermane amendment may not be recognized and is considered invalid. An amendment may be accepted as friendly by the author of the bill, bypassing the required second and vote on an amendment for it to be added to the bill.
    8. GENERAL RULE FOR MOTIONS -- All motions made prior to the end of time for debate receives its proper second shall be recognized. If a motion for cloture is properly seconded prior to the finishing of voting of any existing motions or amendments, those motions or amendments votes must first finish before a final vote can begin. If such motions or amendments pass, they must be included with the version of the bill being considered.
  2. The following motions may be entertained at any time in the ordered precedence:
    1. TO SUSPEND AND PASS -- A motion made to suspend the rules and pass a bill. Please provide name and link for bill with such motion. Requires a second to be recognized. 2/3 majority required for passage. 24 hours for a vote. If motion fails, the bill may still be considered as before without prejudice.
    2. TO SUSPEND AND DEBATE -- A motion made to suspend the rules and pass a bill. Please provide name and link for bill with such motion. Requires a second to be recognized. 2/3 majority required for passage. 24 hours for a vote. If motion fails, the bill may still be considered as before without prejudice.
    3. POINT OF ORDERS -- A member may at any time (during debate or otherwise) rise with a point of order. During such a point of order, the presiding officer shall recognize and address it within 24 hours to provide for explanation, or further to seek clarification from the congressional admin on such matter. A point of order to silence or mute a member during debate for behavior not appropriate for the floor shall be at the discretion of the presiding officer.

Committees

The House will not operate committees at the current time, allowing all bills to bypass committee.

General House Rules

  1. The decision of the congressional admin (when acting as the congressional admin and not as a NPC) is final; however, may be overruled when acting as Parliamentarian.
  2. The RL U.S. House Rules relating to ethics, decorum precedent, floor privileges, and relevant fields not preempted by the rules found here may be invoked and recognized as valid, at the discretion of the presiding officer or the Parliamentarian.
Edited by SWMissourian
added amendment
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Not anticipating any objections here, I'm going to make an admin decree and move this directly to a 48 hour vote by the House. I'll operate under the assumption that they have passed to keep the other House debate operating seamlessly. Any desires to amend these rules should be submitted in the Hopper for full consideration. Thank you.

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Nancy Pelosi

Having achieved a 2/3 majority vote in favor, the rules pass and are now in effect until amended/replaced by a member submission. 

Voting Bloc Total Aye Nay Present
Nationalist Republicans 51 51 0 0
Evangelical Republicans 51 51 0 0
Business Republicans 51 51 0 0
Moderate Conservative Republicans 50 50 0 0
Moderate Liberal Republicans 14 11 2 0
SJW Democrats 52 29 22 0
Progressive Democrats 52 29 22 0
Environmentalist Democrats 52 24 27 0
Moderate Liberal Democrats 52 32 19 0
Moderate Conservative Democrats 14 9 4 0
  337 96 0
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Madam Speaker,
I stand opposed to this.  I feel as though the appropriate action might be to lengthen debate time instead of cutting bills on the docket.  The whole mess a few months ago with the immigration bill would have been rather less tense if we had not been "on a clock" to push the bill through, especially as that one landed in the middle of the most dramatic event in recent history.

So I would move to amend the motion to instead extend debate time to six days for the rest of the Congress instead of cutting the number of bills on the docket, with a provision that the final docket can be slightly shorter than that if timetables dictate such is necessary to avoid an early closure.

Andrew Byrd (and family), Virginia

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4 hours ago, Steven Andrews said:

Madam Speaker,
I stand opposed to this.  I feel as though the appropriate action might be to lengthen debate time instead of cutting bills on the docket.  The whole mess a few months ago with the immigration bill would have been rather less tense if we had not been "on a clock" to push the bill through, especially as that one landed in the middle of the most dramatic event in recent history.

So I would move to amend the motion to instead extend debate time to six days for the rest of the Congress instead of cutting the number of bills on the docket, with a provision that the final docket can be slightly shorter than that if timetables dictate such is necessary to avoid an early closure.

Nancy Pelosi

Time for debate has expired so the amendment to the motion would be out of order. However, the chair would entertain a separate motion to authorize the Speaker to set time for debate (and voting?) to a maximum of 144 hours (increased from the current maximum of 96 for debate and voting). Is there a second?

((OOC: Moving this to a new thread in lieu of a second.))

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On 12/22/2021 at 8:19 PM, Bruce said:

The motion to extend the maximum allowable time for debate to 144 hours is recognized. 24 hours for debate which will be followed by 24 hours for voting. 

The motion passes. 

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