As expected, the House on Tuesday afternoon approved a rule for considering H.R. 1, the spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. The rule was approved in a party-line vote of 242-174.
All Republicans voted for the rule, as did eight Democrats: Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike Michaud (Maine), Bill Owens (N.Y.), Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), and Mike Ross (Ark.).
The House now moves to a one hour debate on the bill, after which they will start working through several hundred amendments.
Just before the vote on the rule, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) encouraged all members to participate in the process, but also asked them to respect the amount of time they take so "all members have an opportunity to be heard and participate."
Boehner said the House has never held an open rule allowing for amendments to a continuing resolution, and said the House is thus in uncharted territory. "I'm ready to expect whatever," he said.
The filing of more than 400 amendments seems most likely to add a significant amount of time to the process, although many of the filed amendments are not expected to be taken up.