Returning to Regular Order
It’s appropriations season in Congress, and as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, this is my busiest time of year. I approach each decision on the committee with the goal of ensuring every tax dollar is spent responsibly and only on the most critical investments.
As you may know, the Appropriations Committee is split into 12 subcommittees that specialize in specific issue areas, such as Defense, Homeland Security and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. Each subcommittee is responsible for writing their own bill to fund – or defund – the specific programs within their issue area.
This year, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers will be moving four of the 12 subcommittee bills through a process known as “Regular Order” to better protect taxpayers, create more transparency, and get Congress working the way it’s supposed to again.
The Regular Order process has been left behind over the last 10 years and as a result, Congress has grown increasingly ineffective and more partisan. Regular Order requires that each appropriations bill begin with a “Markup.” This simply means that fellow members of the Appropriations Committee can offer amendments to the bill in order to eliminate programs or shift funding. Then, we vote as a committee to either approve or disapprove of each amendment. Once that process is finished, we can pass the bill out of the Appropriations Committee.
The legislation then goes to the entire House of Representatives for everyone to debate. Regular Order also requires that legislation is considered under an “Open Rule,” which means any Member of Congress can offer an amendment. This is important because it ensures the voices of all Members can be heard – no matter what committee they sit on, their seniority or their party affiliation. Members of the House of Representative then vote on each amendment.
Once all amendments have been voted on, the House votes on the revised bill, which includes all approved amendments. If it is passed, the bill is matched up with the Senate version of the bill and a conference committee negotiates the differences before it is sent to the President for his signature.
By following the rules, I am confident we will be able to cut billions of dollars from the federal government’s budget, better prioritize key programs, and make tough, but necessary, spending choices.
I’ll be participating in committee markups throughout the next few weeks and will be in the process of developing a bill for the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, where I serve as the Chairwoman. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about what we’re doing. I’d love to hear from you.
Member of Congress