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What is ‘Suspension of the Rules’ in the House?

How do you feel about suspension of the rules in the House?

by Countable | 5.16.19

Bills that are considered under suspension of the rules can only be debated on the House floor for 40 minutes, and no amendments are allowed. Because the debate is accelerated for bills under suspension of the rules they have a higher support threshold to clear for passage — two-thirds of members have to vote in favor rather than the usual simple majority.

Suspension bills are typically brought up on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays when the House is in session. Only the Speaker of the House has the power to bring a bill up for a vote under suspension of the rules, although committee leaders recommend bills with bipartisan support.

While many suspension bills pass through voice votes or overwhelmingly lopsided recorded votes, occasionally they fail to meet the two-thirds majority required for passage. The last notable incident of suspension bills failing occurred in July 2017 when House Democrats ― then in the minority ― withheld the votes needed to advance that year’s Intelligence Authorization Act and a funding extension for the Veterans Choice program because they felt the bills should be debated on the floor (although they later passed with more than a two-thirds margin).


— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / BayRunner)

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