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CD188: Welcome to the 116th Congress

Congressional Dish

Release Date: 01/14/2019

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Congressional Dish

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In the last episode before the 2020 election, let's take a comprehensive look at what went on in the 116th Congress, a divided Congress during which the House of Representatives was controlled for the first time since Congressional Dish began by the Democratic Party. It was a chaotic two years, with a series of unprecedented events. Did our Congress serve us well in these crazy times?

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We've transitioned! The 115th Congress is finally over and the 116th has begun. In this episode, get the details on the last acts of the 115th Congress, including the play by play of the shutdown drama, and learn about the new rules written by Democrats that will govern the 116th House of Representatives.

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House Rules

116th Congress House Rules Resolution
  • Sec. 102(b): Gives delegates and resident commissioners (the representatives of D.C. and the territories) the ability to vote in Congress, but only if they are not casting the deciding vote. If they are the deciding votes, the vote will be re-taken.

  • Sec. 102(f): Renames the following committees

    • “Committee on Oversight and Government Reform” will be the “Committee on Oversight and Reform”
    • “Committee on Education and the Workforce” will be the “Committee on Education and Labor”
  • Sec. 102(i): The chairmen of the oversight committees need to create and submit their oversight plans to the Committee on Oversight and Reform by March 1, 2019, and then coordinate those plans with other committees for submission to the full House by April 15, 2019.

  • Sec. 102(m): Removes the term limit of four out of six consecutive Congresses for members of the Committee on the Budget and removes the term limit for Chairmen of any committee barring them from serving as Chairman for more than three consecutive Congresses.

  • Sec. 102(n): Changes the 3 day rule for mark-up notices to clarify that it means 3 calendar days excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.

  • Sec. 102(q): Criminal trial evidence and transcripts will be used as evidence in House ethics investigations

  • Sec. 102(r): Between March 1 of the first year and September 30 of the second year of the Congress, the sponsor of a bill with 290 co-sponsors can put their bill on the calendar where it will remain until it is either reported by committee or voted on in the full House.

  • Sec. 102(z): Text of bills must be available for "72 hours”

  • Sec. 102(dd): Removes the requirement for a supermajority vote to increase taxes

  • Sec. 102(ee): PAYGO procedures for the 116th

  • Sec. 101(ii): Starting on January 1, 2020, members of the House of Representatives will not be allowed to “serve as an officer or director of any public company”

  • Sec. 102(jj): A suspension of the debt ceiling will be automatically included and passed along with the budget resolution.

  • Sec. 103(d): Registered lobbyists will not be granted access to the Congressional gym

  • Sec. 103(h): Limited the Committee on Agriculture to six subcommittees and the Committee on Financial Services to seven subcommittees

  • Sec. 103(i): No bill can get a vote on the House floor unless it has been passed by a committee. Excepts include continuing resolutions and emergency bills.

  • Sec. 103(r): Requires members of the House to pay for discrimination settlements for offenses they personally committed

  • Sec. 104(a): Creates a commission called the House Democracy Partnership, which will be funded with $52,000 available between January 3, 2019 and March 31, 2019. The commission will be managed but the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

  • Sec. 104(d): Creates an Office of Diversity and Inclusion

  • Sec. 104(e): Creates an Office of the Whistleblower Ombudsman

  • Sec. 104(f): Creates a Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which will have 15 members, 6 appointed by the Minority Leader, and which will have no power to create or change legislation and will not have subpoena power. “The sole authority of the Select Committee shall be to investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, and innovations to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis.”

  • Sec. 201: Creates a Committee on the Modernization of Congress

  • Sec. 301: Authorizes the Speaker of the House to use the General Counsel of the House of Representatives to defend the Affordable Are Act in Federal court.


S.2736 (115th): Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018
  • Law Text
  • Became law on New Year's Eve 2018
H.R.695 - Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018
S.2322 - CURD Act
H.R.6061 - Secure Fence Act of 2006
Public Law 109-13 - Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005

Additional Reading

Sound Clip Sources

Video: Call Your Representative and Tell Them to Vote Against PAYGO NOW! The Majority Report with Sam Seder, YouTube, January 8, 2019.

Rep. Ro Khanna: “People hear the word PAYGO, they tune out. They think it’s some inside baseball technical jargon related to Congress. Let me tell you: It is a very important issue. It would be unilateral disarmament for House Democrats to adopt PAYGO. The Republicans never did. They passed massive tax cuts for the 1% and they didn’t have any spending cuts to pay for those tax cuts. They never do.”

Rep. Ro Khanna: "Now that House Democrats are in charge, some folks want us to limit our policies by adopting PAYGO. Here’s what it would mean: If we have PAYGO, then to do something like Medicare for All, to do something like expanding social security, to do something like a bold infrastructure plan or a Green New Deal would require us to negotiate against ourselves. We would require cuts in programs that many of us value and like. We shouldn’t do that. The Republicans didn’t govern that way.”

Rep. Ro Khanna: “Paygo would be a terrible policy"

House Session: Consideration of Rules for New Congress, Part 3, House of Representatives, January 3, 2019.
Hearing: Rules Committee Hearing S. 2322, House of Representatives,YouTube, December 21, 2018.
News Story: Rep. Jordan: We have to fund Trump's border wall now, Fox Business Network, December 18, 2018.


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Cover Art

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Music Presented in This Episode

Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)