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George Norris

House resolution by Representative George Norris to change the make up of the Rules Committee, proposed March 17, 1910

National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives

On St. Patrick’s Day 1910 Representative George Norris of Nebraska, one of the Republican Progressives, introduced a resolution to change the rules of the House. "I had carried it for a long time, certain that in the flush of its power the Cannon machine would overreach itself," he later wrote. "The paper upon which I had written my resolution had become so tattered it scarcely hung together." Norris proposed the removal of the Speaker from the Rules Committee, the body which made all committee assignments and determined the order and conditions by which legislation came to the floor. This action struck at the heart of the Speaker’s power.

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