Trying to follow the inner workings of politics is more frustrating than what you see on television news. Part of following the inner workings of Congress is to try to figure out what Congress will do next is not only understanding where legislation is in the process, what Congress calls “regular order,” but it also requires understanding who is asking for what favors in order to get pet projects passed.
As part of the House of Representatives’s regular order, they created a rule that two-thirds of the members must support a commemorative coin bill by being a co-sponsor before it will be considered in committee. This means that 287 members must sign-on as co-sponsors. Once the bill meets the threshold, the bill goes through the committee process.
Although both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act and The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act met that threshold, the threshold was met a while ago. This means the bills were supposed to go through the committee process except neither did. Both bills were introduced on the floor under a process called “suspension of the rules.” Under suspension of the rules, a bill may be brought to the floor for debate and vote without having to go through regular order.
When a bill is brought to the floor, there is a debate period determined by whoever is acting as the presiding officer. Both sides get to have their say, however, in these cases, the member who introduced the bill will stand up and provide a justification for the record as the only speaker. Once the debate period ends, the House votes on the bill.
Both bills were passed on a voice vote.
What can make following legislation frustrating is that there was no indication that these bills were going to be brought to the floor under suspension of the rules. I had asked a source whether this was done in order to curry favor with the sponsors. My source was uncertain as to why these bills were rushed to the floor.
Now it is on to the Senate. Let’s see how quickly they get to this legislation or whether it will be burried in committee.