What Is the House Rules Committee?

The House Rules Committee is a group within the United States House of Representatives that has the authority to create methods or rules for speeding up legislative action, determine what rule a bill potentially falls under and establish the date that it is presented to the House of Representatives for consideration. It was formed in 1789 and is one of the House's oldest standing committees.

When another committee in the House reports, it typically passes through the Rules Committee before going to the House floor for discussion and debate. The group limits the types or number of amendments that can be applied to the bill and decides how long the rule can be debated. Additionally, the Rules Committee sets the amount of speaking time available for each proposed resolution or bill. This gives the committee the ability to push bills through quietly by scheduling no time for debate or grabbing attention by allowing lengthy amounts of time for a specific bill if that is what the leadership wants.

It is also commonly referred to as the Speaker's Committee because the speaker of the house frequently uses this powerful group to control the House floor. Since the 1970s, the group has been made up of two majority members for every one minority member, weighting the committee in favor of the political party holding the majority in the House of Representatives.