Congress Adopts New Rules Package, Adds Constitution Provision for Legislation

Thursday, 13 January 2011 13:01

On January 5, 2011, the House of Representatives adopted a new Rules package for the 112th Congress. The changes include items to bring greater transparency and accountability to the legislative process. It also puts in place a process for lawmaking that will impact how individuals, companies, and organizations advocate before the Congress.

Of particular interest is an addition to House Rule XII that provides that a Member of Congress may not introduce a bill or joint resolution unless the sponsor also submits a statement citing as specifically as practicable the power or powers under the Constitution authorizing the enactment of that bill or joint resolution. The statement will appear in a separate section in the Congressional Record and be made available to the public in electronic form.

The scope and reach of the Constitution provision, and how it will be implemented, is unknown as this is a new step in the legislative drafting and policy development process. If you are planning to ask your Member to introduce a piece of legislation, you should consult with staff or your legislative counsel early on to ensure that you address these and other new requirements. 

A complete summary of the House Rules changes is provided by the House Rules Committee and is available for download here.