Today, the House takes up the FY 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations bill under an open rule. That means any member can offer any germane amendment to the bill on the House floor. While this may seem like nothing more than “inside baseball,” it is in fact a fundamentally important issue that directly effects the substantive outcomes of the legislative process. This open rule will be the first one considered by the House in nearly four years and it will not be the last. This open rule launches the entire FY 2012 appropriations season with a spirit of openness and accountability. This open rule and those that will follow will allow members of the House to exercise oversight on every part of the federal budget, enabling them to root out wasteful, duplicative spending and begin the tough task of getting our fiscal house in order. This open rule also represents a promise kept to the American people. The Republican Majority said we would open up the debate and allow all voices to be heard. Under this open rule, that will be possible.
Here are some interesting statistics related to the first open rule of the 112th Congress:
July 31, 2007
The last day an appropriations bill was considered under an open rule (Agriculture Appropriations, 110th Congress).
Number of bills considered under open rules in the 111th Congress (Democratic majority).
Number of bills considered under open rules in the 110th Congress (Democratic majority).
Number of bills considered under open rules in the 109th Congress (Republican majority).
Percentage of Members of the 112th Congress who have not experienced an open rule while they were Members of Congress.
The number of amendments considered during the entire 111th Congress.
The number of amendments considered so far during the 112th Congress (less than ¼ complete).