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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: May 2019

Part II - Procedural Anxieties

  • Edited by Frances E. Lee, University of Maryland, College Park, Nolan McCarty, Princeton University, New Jersey
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • pp 153-236


Calls for a return to a traditional method of lawmaking known as “regular order” have proliferated as unorthodox lawmaking has grown more dominant in Congress. Proponents claim regular order enhances deliberation on legislation. This chapter examines deliberation under one form of regular order: open rules permitting unlimited amending in the House of Representatives. We find evidence of substantial minority influence on the inputs and outputs of the appropriations process. Regular order gives the minority party members the opportunity to present and win adoption of their policy proposals. Our evidence also shows that ideological extremists play an outsized role in debate. They offer more amendments than other members, and their amendments tend to win less support and face defeat more often than moderates. The paradox of regular order is that it simultaneously offers the opportunity for bipartisan deliberation over legislation while exposing the majority party to problems that may make its management of the floor more difficult.