The Committee on Rules is among the oldest standing committees in the House, having been formally constituted on April 2, 1789. The Committee is commonly known as “The Speaker’s Committee” because it is the mechanism that the Speaker uses to maintain control of the House Floor; and was in fact chaired by the Speaker until 1910. The Committee has the authority to do virtually anything during the course of consideration of a measure, including deeming it passed. The Committee can also include selfexecuted amendments, which could rewrite either parts of a bill or the entire measure. In essence, so long as a majority of the House is willing to vote for a special rule, there is little that the Rules Committee cannot do.
Basic Training — The Committee on Rules and Special Rules
June 6, 2011