At LegBranch.org, Scott Meinke notes that the House Rules Committee has been regularly issuing rules that combine provisions for considering two or more measures in a single resolution.
These multiple-measures rules made up about a quarter of the rules issued in the 112th Congress, rising to about half by the 114th (2015-16). The shift was the work of a Republican majority, and Democrats sharply criticized the practice. But, as with many majoritarian innovations in the House, the minority party followed the new precedent upon taking the majority. Under Democratic control in the 116th Congress (2019-20), about 45 percent of House special rules involved multiple measures.
Recent research I’ve conducted examines how the leadership has used this new tool in the majority-party tool kit, and finds that the use of multiple-measures bills relates to partisan goals—as well as to the majority’s need to manage increasingly scarce floor time. Data from 2011 through 2018, for example, shows that bills brought to the floor under multiple-measures rules saw more conflict between the parties, as well as greater majority cohesion compared with bills governed by stand-alone rules. Voting on the rules themselves followed a similar pattern: adoption of multiple-measures rules involved more party conflict than other rules.