House GOP’s rules package calls for another reading of the Constitution

The House rules package for the 113th Congress that is expected to be approved on Thursday calls for another reading of the U.S. Constitution from the chamber floor.

The rules package for the the 112th Congress, which expires at noon on Monday, also called for a reading of the Constitution. That requirement ultimately led to controversy over what version of the Constitution should be read.

Republicans were criticized for eliminating passages of the founding document that were later amended, including language that counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of calculating taxes.

In 2011, Republicans and Democrats took turns reading sections of the Constitution. That is expected to happen again during this year’s reading, which could take place on any day through Jan. 15.

{mosads}The GOP rules package, H.Res. 5, also contains several elements that Democrats oppose and are expected to vote against. According to Democrats, one key section would limit the ability of the House to consider recommendations to trim Medicare by the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was created by the 2010 healthcare law.

The rules specifically say Section 1899(d) of the Social Security Act “shall not apply” in the 113th Congress.

The rules would also allow the House to continue to be a defendant in cases on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. The package also lets the House continue litigation to enforce its subpoena against Attorney General Eric Holder in the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking investigation.

On the budget, the rules allow the Budget Committee to set budget aggregates at the levels in the 2013 budget from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) until a 2014 budget is adopted.

“This essentially deems the Ryan Budget Resolution as governing for purposes of allocations of spending authority until the House adopts a new Budget,” according to a note from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office.

Democrats also say the rules would let the House exempt the repeal of the healthcare law from the “pay-as-you-go” rule, which would let Republicans repeal the bill without taking into account the impact on the deficit.

Finally, the rule makes it in order to consider a bill dealing with flood insurance on Friday. That is a reference to House GOP plans to pass a $9 billion bill helping with Hurricane Sandy cleanup.

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