Pelosi plans to change House rules to thwart GOP amendments


SJournalist Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that Democrats could change the rules of the House in a way that would prevent Republicans from changing their legislation at the last minute, which the GOP warned would be to remove their rights in as a minority party.

Pelosi, D-Calif., Said a bipartisan working group charged with reviewing the operation of the House could also consider a preliminary proceeding known as a "re-engagement motion". The PMR, as it is called, actually gives the minority part the opportunity to modify before it is about to be passed.

Normally, these amendments are easily blocked by the majority. But Republicans have so far won two victories with MTR measures by attracting Democrats from alternative districts, and Democratic leaders are not happy with that.

On Wednesday, for example, Republicans were able to amend a gun control bill with a provision requiring illegal immigrants who attempt to buy guns to be declared to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The measure has been adopted with the help of more than two dozen Democrats, many in districts that support President Trump.

[[[[Read more: House vote to extend the waiting time for firearms background checks]

Voting with the minority on a mid-term review is considered a slap in power, as it gives the majority a majority in the House.

Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she was "a great believer … regarding the right of the minority to express themselves". But it would not rule out a change in the mid-term review process in the future.

She said a small committee convened to discuss ways to modernize the House could consider changes to the PMR. "I think it's a suitable place for some of that discussion," Pelosi said.

Specifically, the Democrats envision a change that would force Republicans to communicate in advance the wording of their amendment to the Democrats to allow them to convince their fellow Democrats to vote against it.

As Democratic leaders decide what to do, Pelosi said Democrats should stop voting for Republican motions.

"Put me in a different category," said Pelosi, when asked if she was in favor of the GOP not offering the last minute amendment. "I think you should just vote against all the MTRs."

This is not the first time the Democrats are considering a change to block the use of the process by the government.

In 2007, the then Republican minority vexed Democratic leaders by winning one-third of all MTR proposals in the House. In one case, the Republicans proposed an amendment to a D.C. voting rights bill that would have abolished the District's ban on owning a firearm. The Democrats eventually pulled the bill out because dozens of Democrats would have supported the GOP firearms provision.

While the Democrats were planning to eliminate the MTR at that time, they never executed the threat.

The House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Warned that Democrats would use a "nuclear option" if they changed a century-old rule that allows the minority to try to change the legislation before the voting vote.

"The Democrats want to rig the rules and crack down on the minority party's speech in the House," said McCarthy, the leader of the minority.

McCarthy said that if the Democrats made changes now, it would be like the radical change the Democrats brought to the Senate, depriving the minority of its right to block candidates.

The re-employment motion has existed in its current form since 1909. McCarthy noted that the GOP had never attempted to change it during its majority mandate for more than two decades.

"Changes to the re-employment proposal would be a nuclear option and leave a spot for this majority just two months later," McCarthy said.

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