Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




C. Lawrence Evans

Committee Members

James P. Barber

John B. Gilmour


Though it is one of the most powerful committees in Congress, the Rules Committee gets far too little attention. In this paper, I ask how the Rules Committee and amending process have been used in the contemporary United States House of Representatives by the party leadership to move legislation. I begin with an explanation of the function and history of the Rules Committee, including its evolution into an arm of the House leadership in the present day. This is followed by a discussion of the legislative theories that could explain leader behavior and how they may be using the Rules Committee. I ask how legislation moves on a one dimension spatial model, and then test the various theories using an original dataset of key rules for the 115th and 116th Congresses and all amendments submitted to the Rules Committee for the key bills. In doing so, I question the usefulness of thinking of Congress as majority/minority party politics, rather, I find congressional scholarship may benefit from treating the parties as distinct entities with unique behavior.