While we’re waiting for the text of the bailout legislation to become available, I’ve been checking around the House Rules Committee Web site, to check out the work they’ve done to clear the way for the bill.
Most bills come to the floor of the House via special rules, which control the form of debate and consideration, determining, for example, how many and what kind of amendments are permissible, or what kind of motions are in order. It’s basically an ad-hoc rewriting of the rules for individual bills routinely undertaken for most bills in the House, and is a strong parallel to the Unanimous Consent Agreement in the Senate.
These two rules, respectively: 1. Resolve that it is in order for the Speaker to suspend the rules on September 28th, 2. Allow the consideration of a measure reported from Rules the same day it’s reported (but only on the “legislative day” of the 28th and 29th).
Taken together, these two rules clear the way for a special rule to get floor consideration shortly after the Rules Committee reports it out, allowing the full House to approve whatever deal the Rules Committee chooses to govern the actual bill’s consideration in the Committee of the Whole and in final passage (or failure).
It has been suggested to me that H.Res 1500 is about using today for votes while the legislation is being drafted, while 1514 is more specifically about the resolution. I don’t know enough about the Rules committee’s work to say for sure either way, but thought it was worth passing on.