House to allow quick passage of bills through Dec. 28, but not for 'fiscal cliff'

But while some have speculated that the suspension bill rule would allow the House to quickly approve bills related to the fiscal cliff, House aides said they do not anticipate it being used for this purpose. Instead, they expect it to allow the House to continue passing unrelated, non-controversial bills while it waits around for a fiscal-cliff agreement to come to the floor.

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Suspension bills are usually non-controversial measures that require less debate, and must be approved by a two-thirds majority vote. House aides agreed that any legislation resulting from a fiscal-cliff deal is unlikely to be seen as non-controversial, and thus is unlikely to be scheduled as a suspension vote.

Members may even demand extended debate on these bills, which would again make them unlikely candidates for being put on the suspension calendar.

In a normal week, the House would consider suspension bills anytime between Monday and Wednesday. Earlier this week, Republicans planned to approve a rule allowing suspension bills to be passed on Thursday.

At some point, GOP leaders decided to change that rule into one allowing suspension bills to be passed any time through Dec. 28. Aides indicated that this change was made to allow for suspension authority on the remaining Thursdays and Fridays in December, in case it's needed.

The rule effectively gives the House the authority to pass suspension bills until the end of the 112th Congress on Jan. 2, since suspension bills are allowed during the last six days of any Congress.

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