Q&A: “What’s this same-day rule mean?”

If you're wondering something, you're probably not alone. Each day we answer questions about Congress, the legislative process, and government in general. Submit your question(s), and look out for the answers in future Q&A posts!


Several people asked variations of this question, so shoutout to all of you for wanting to know more about how YOUR government works!

"What's this same-day rule mean?"

The House sets its own rules for the chamber and for how each vote will be conducted. Noncontroversial bills can be considered under "suspension of the rules," but larger bills must be considered "under a rule."

Yesterday, House Rules met all day to consider amendments to the revised American Health Care Act (AHCA) and set the "rule" for how the legislation will be considered on the House floor. Recently, we talked about how Rules committee works and the spectrum of "rule" types, from open to closed. (If you missed that Q&A, here you go.)

After 11+ hours, Rules passed a "same-day" or "martial law" bill that allows the bill to be considered any time through Monday. (Normally a bill must have at least 24 hours from the time a rule is released before it gets a vote.) So, now everyone's in a holding pattern, and this could be a crazy weekend.

The same-day rule allows leadership to keep negotiating to reach deals (on both the rule and any amendments that it will allow) and then bring the rule to the floor as soon as they have an agreement.

So then what happens? Well, there will be debate on the rule, vote on the rule, and if it passes, the House will move to consider the bill under the procedure laid out in that rule. We will keep you posted every step of the way!