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Of the 6 Recent Substantial Uses of the Self-Executing Rule, 5 Were Done by GOP

March 16, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Since the politics of the self-executing rule (a.k.a. the “deem and pass” strategy, or the “Slaughter solution”) are blowing up right now — discussion of the rule currently dominates the to half of Memerorandum — I thought I should bring back this historcial information on the rule from a post I wrote when the idea of using the rule for health care was first reported.

  • On August 2, 1989, the House adopted a rule (H.Res. 221) that automatically incorporated into the text of the bill made in order for consideration a provision that prohibited smoking on domestic airline flights of two hours or less duration.
  • On March 19, 1996, the House adopted a rule (H.Res. 384) that incorporated a voluntary employee verification program — addressing the employment of illegal immigrants — into a committee substitute made in order as original text.
  • H.Res. 239, agreed to on September 24, 1997, automatically incorporated into the base bill a provision to block the use of statistical sampling for the 2000 census until federal courts had an opportunity to rule on its constitutionality.
  • A closed rule (H.Res. 303) on an IRS reform bill provided for automatic adoption of four amendments to the committee substitute made in order as original text. The rule was adopted on November 5, 1997, with bipartisan support.
  • On May 7, 1998, an intelligence authorization bill was made in order by H.Res. 420. This self-executing rule dropped a section from the intelligence measure that would have permitted the CIA to offer their employees an early-out retirement program.
  • On February 20, 2005, the House adopted H.Res. 75, which provided that a manager’s amendment dealing with immigration issues shall be considered as adopted in the House and in the Committee of the Whole and the bill (H.R. 418) [REAL ID Act], as amended, shall be considered as the original bill for purposes of amendment.

These are the contemporary uses of the rule mentioned by the Congressional Research Service. Some controversial stuff, though nothing as significant as the Senate health care bill (H.R.3590).

Only one of the uses of the rule happened during a session of Congress that was controlled by the Democrats (101st session). The other five instances were carried out by sessions that were controlled, in both chambers, by Republicans (104th, 105th and 109th).

Rep. Louise Slaughter [D, NY-28], the Chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, is pictured above.

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