Don Wolfensberger at The Hill:

Around the turn of this century we saw evolve a more partisan Congress with the prospect looming large every two years of either or both chambers flipping party control. In the case of the more stalwart committees like Armed Services, the culture within did not change that much. But the political culture outside its doors was changing rapidly.  To reconcile these differences, the majority leadership has increasingly relied on the House Rules Committee to allow for floor amendments that appeased various members and groups that were not happy with the committee’s product.

This year, the House Armed Services Committee reported its defense bill by a vote of 57-1. Nearly 1,400 amendments were filed with the Rules Committee. The committee made in order 350 amendments for floor consideration. Roughly 55 percent of the amendments were Republican, 21 percent Democrat and 24 percent bipartisan … If you are wondering how the House ever hoped to process the bill in just three days last week, the answer is simple, yet complex. The special rule gave Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), authority to offer amendments en bloc — that is, to combine them into omnibus packages. He offered a total of 319 amendments in five such blocks. The House debated each block for 40 minutes. All five were adopted by voice votes. The remaining amendments were considered individually and debated for 10 minutes each. The House adopted 22 and rejected 11. All told, there were 26 roll call votes, including another almost party-line vote on final passage, 217-199.