Five ways Republicans will change the House

The US House of Representatives rewrites its own internal rules every two years, and House Republicans are proposing sweeping rules changes. Here are five significant proposed changes.

4. Repeal of the Gephardt rule

Andy Nelson/Staff/File
Former Rep. Richard Gephardt, the man for whom the Gephardt Rule is named, pictured in Iowa in 2003.

Congress established the first national debt limit in 1917 at $11.5 billion, setting up high-risk votes to increase the debt limit ever since.

In 1979, Rep. Richard Gephardt (D) of Missouri proposed setting the debt limit automatically at the level projected by the most recent budget resolution. The rule, still in effect, allows for the debt limit to be raised without the House having to take an unpopular stand-alone vote.

In 1995, then-majority House Republicans waived the Gephardt rule. They refused to raise the debt limit in a bid to force President Clinton to accept spending cuts – prompting two government shutdowns.

Republicans in that era eventually blinked. But many of the incoming freshmen Republicans campaigned against raising the debt limit and say that they welcome a faceoff with President Obama over cutting spending and reining in government.

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