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Democrats adopting rule to limit Freedom Caucus delay tactics

Democrats adopting rule to limit Freedom Caucus delay tactics
© Greg Nash

House Democrats are planning to adopt a new rule on Tuesday that will prevent members of the House Freedom Caucus from demanding individual roll call votes on dozens of noncontroversial bills and consuming hours of floor time. 

Lawmakers have grown frustrated in recent weeks as Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida QAnon site shutters after reports identifying developer Republicans head to runoff in GA-14 MORE (Ga.) and several members of the Freedom Caucus have insisted upon roll call votes on bills that normally pass by voice vote.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerWhat's a party caucus chair worth? House fails to pass drug bill amid Jan. 6 tensions Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP MORE (D-Md.) said Tuesday that Democrats plan to adopt a rule that will allow consideration of the bills en bloc, meaning that one vote would serve as passage of multiple measures at once.

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"There's overwhelming agreement among both the Republicans and the Democrats that these bills are in the best interests of our country, and therefore are noncontroversial, that they can be considered as they have been historically in a fashion which will not take the kind of time that we've been taking over the last two weeks," Hoyer told reporters. 

For now, the rule change will only be in effect while the House is in session this week. 

Lawmakers already routinely consider amendments to bills in an en bloc format so that only one vote is needed to adopt multiple changes. 

The House often considers noncontroversial bills under a process known as suspension of the rules, in which they can pass with a voice vote or a roll call requiring a two-thirds supermajority. 

Each roll call vote in the House currently takes 30 minutes due to COVID-19 pandemic health precautions. On Thursday, the House spent about seven hours taking 13 roll call votes in succession, including on some of the noncontroversial bills.

House Democrats and 11 Republicans voted in February to remove Greene from serving on committees due to her past embrace of conspiracy theories and apparent endorsements of violence against prominent Democrats. 

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Greene has since found a variety of ways to temporarily stymie House floor proceedings in the absence of serving on committees. She repeatedly forced votes on motions to adjourn, which eventually dozens of irritated Republicans joined Democrats in voting against

And along with other members of the Freedom Caucus, Greene has been demanding roll call votes on numerous noncontroversial bills.

"Every member of Congress should be on record for every bill that is voted on. Nothing should ever pass by voice with a handful of members mumbling their vote. Everything is for the People," Greene tweeted last week.