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Rep-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Rick Loomis via Getty Images

Top Democrats unveiled a series of proposed changes to House rules Tuesday night, including the creation of a select committee on climate change and an exemption to a ban on hats that would allow members to wear religious headwear on the floor of the House.

The big picture: The rules overhaul is already being opposed by progressive Democrats Ro Khanna and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have said they will vote against the package because of the "pay as you go" (PAYGO) rule — which requires any increase in entitlement spending be offset by paring back other entitlement programs. If more than 16 Democrats defect and no Republicans vote for the package, the Democratic majority won’t be able to pass the package as is.

What they’re saying:

  • Khanna: "[PAYGO] is terrible economics. The austerians were wrong about the Great Recession and Great Depression. At some point, politicians need to learn from mistakes and read economic history."
  • Ocasio-Cortez: "PAYGO isn’t only bad economics, as Ro Khanna explains; it’s also a dark political maneuver designed to hamstring progress on healthcare and other legislation. We shouldn’t hinder ourselves from the start."

Other details of the package, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • Requires annual ethics training for all members.
  • Prohibits members from serving on corporate boards.
  • Permits members to wear religious headscarves on the floor.
  • Creates two new select committees on the modernization of Congress and the climate crisis.
  • Requires members to pay for discrimination settlements.
  • Prohibits members and committee staffers from having sexual relationships with one another.
  • Requires indicted members to step back from committee and leadership positions.
  • Requires a majority of either party to start the process to oust the speaker, rather than just one member.
  • Limits power of the majority to block action on measures relating to the War Powers Act. House Republicans blocked action on plans that would end U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s role in the civil war in Yemen late last year.
  • Renews the "Gephardt Rule," which raises the debt ceiling automatically when the House passes a budget.
  • Eliminates dynamic scoring as a technique for predicting the effects of fiscal policy.
  • Requires pieces of legislation with the backing of at least 290 members to be debated and brought to the floor.

What's next: Voting on the rules package will be one of the first items on the agenda when Congress convenes on Thursday.

Go deeper

Biden's pick to lead major banking regulator drops out

Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, at a confirmation hearing on Nov. 18. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's pick to head one of the country's most powerful banking regulators is dropping out of consideration for the post, according to a statement from Biden that accepted the withdrawal.

Why it matters: Saule Omarova, nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, faced a tough path to confirmation — with opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

Judge temporarily blocks Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 6 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide.

Why it matters: It's the latest setback in the Biden administration's rollout of COVID vaccine requirements. Federal judges in two states temporarily barred the administration from enforcing mandates for millions of workers last week.

Biden threatens Putin

Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a video call that lasted for just over two hours on Tuesday, President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Why it matters: Russia's military activity on the border with Ukraine has triggered alarms from the U.S. and its European allies of a potential large-scale Russian invasion in early 2022. Sullivan said Biden made clear to Putin that, "things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now."