Reference Information for the
Rules of the 104th Congress
The House of Representatives adopts its organizing resolution at the beginning of each Congress in the form of a simple House resolution, and as a matter of tradition has been numbered as “H. Res. 5” of each Congress. In the 104th Congress, the majority had switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party after the former being in control. The Democrats had determined the Rules of the House since January 3, 1955, and the Republicans made significant changes to the methods by which the House operated. The new majority first adopted H. Res. 5 (104th Congress) not as a vehicle to provide for a special rule to set the terms for debate over the rules changes that were then brought up as H. Res. 6 (104th Congress). These resolutions were considered on January 4, 1995 and January 5, 1995.
Both H. Res. 5 and H. Res. 6 from the 104th Congress are included below. The various versions of the resolutions are here as a matter of completeness. The difference between “as adopted” and “enrolled” are simply a matter of how the Clerk of the House prepares the text.
From the Congressional Research Service:
Rules Changes Affecting Budgetary Legislation
Two of the eight goals of the institutional reforms of the Contract with America dealt with budgetary legislation: a three-fifths vote “to pass a tax increase” and an “honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero baseline budgeting.” These goals were refined for implementation as changes to House rules.135
Changes related to budgetary legislation also appear in “Rules Changes Affecting Committees,” including
- Members were permitted to serve four Congresses out of six consecutive Congresses on the Budget Committee, with existing exceptions continuing for majority and minority leadership representatives and, under certain circumstances, for chairs and ranking minority Members.136 (See “Budget Committee” under “Assignments and Size.”)
- The Budget Committee was given jurisdiction over “Measures relating to the congressional budget process, generally” and over “Measures relating to the establishment, extension, and enforcement of special controls over the Federal budget, including the budgetary treatment of off-budget Federal agencies and measures providing exemption from reduction under any order issued under part C of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.” (See “104th Congress” under “Jurisdiction.”)
- A “truth-in-budgeting baseline reform” provision required a comparison (when practicable) of total funding in legislation to the “appropriate levels under current law.” The purported effect of this rules change was to require that the entire amount of authorizations, appropriations, and entitlement spending be shown in cost estimates, not solely in increments of change. The “truth” aspect was intended to get at a criticism of baseline budgeting that allowed spending increases above a current year’s level, but below baseline levels, to be characterized as spending cuts.137 (See “Committee Reports.”)
- The Appropriations Committee was prohibited in H.Res. 6 from including non-emergency provisions in emergency appropriations measures, unless the provisions rescinded budget authority, reduced direct spending, or reduced an amount for a designated emergency. (See “Appropriations Committee” under “Committee Reports.”)
- The Appropriations Committee was also required to identify unauthorized appropriations in its reports on general appropriations bills. (See “Appropriations Committee” under “Committee Reports.“)
Changes related to budgetary legislation also appear in “Rules Changes Affecting the Chamber and Floor,” including
- A three-fifths vote was required to pass legislation containing a federal income tax rate increase. (See “Tax Legislation.”)
- The House prohibited consideration of legislation containing a retroactive federal income tax rate increase, defined as the application of a tax rate increase to a period “beginning prior to the enactment of the provision.” (See “Tax Legislation.”)
- An automatic roll-call vote was required on final passage of (or adoption of the conference report on) any budget resolution or any measure making general appropriations or increasing federal income tax rates. (See “Voting.”)
- A motion to rise and report during consideration of a general appropriations bill has precedence over motions to further amend the bill only if offered by the majority leader or a designee. (See “Appropriations Process.“)
- A Member could offer en bloc offsetting amendments, to “transfer appropriations among objects without increasing the levels of budget authority or outlays in the bill.” (See “Appropriations Process.“)
- Whenever an appropriations bill is reported, all points of order against it are automatically reserved. (See “Appropriations Process.“)
Since H.Res. 6 also eliminated committees and changed the jurisdictions of committees, a provision of H.Res. 6 provided for the revision of spending allocations made under the budget resolution for FY1995.138
135. H.Res. 6, agreed to in the House January 4, 1995. For an analysis of the rules changes made in the 104th Congress that affected budgetary legislation, see CRS Report 95-432, Budget Process Changes Made in the Rules of the House in January 1995 (H.Res. 6), by [author name scrubbed]; and CRS Report 97-44, Budget Process Changes Made in the 104th Congress (1995-1996), by [author name scrubbed]. (Both reports are out of print, but available from author of current report.)
Other Contract with America goals that related to budget policy and also affected congressional procedures were achieved through legislation, such as the Unfunded Mandates Act, 109 Stat. 48 (1995), and the Line Item Veto Act, 110 Stat. 1200 (1996). Additional policy initiatives with implications for congressional budget procedures were realized through legislation such as the welfare reform law (P.L. 104-193; 110 Stat. 2105 (1996)).
136. House rules had previously limited Budget Committee service to three of the past five Congresses. A provision that seniority would not be a factor when determining Budget Committee membership was removed.
137. The House passed a bill in the 103rd Congress that eliminated inflation adjustments from baseline estimates for discretionary programs, among other provisions. H.R. 4907, passed by the House August 12, 1994. No action was taken in the Senate.
138. H.Con.Res. 218, conference report agreed to in the House May 5, 1994, and in the Senate May 12, 1994. The revisions were subsequently printed in the Congressional Record: Rep. John Kasich, “Communication from the Chairman of the Committee on the Budget Regarding Revised 302(a)/602(a) Allocation for Fiscal Years 1995-1999,” Congressional Record, vol. 141, part 5 (February 27, 1995), pp. 6136-6138.