How a House Minority Can Make a Difference

The House of Representatives is fundamentally a majoritarian institution. That is, any coalition or party with the majority of votes can largely dominate the chamber’s agenda, scheduling, procedure and outcomes. In effect, this means that the modern House is run by the majority party.

Such an institutional set-up, however, does not render the minority party completely powerless. The minority—or technically any coalition of members—has procedural opportunities to affect what legislation is considered on the House floor and how that legislation is considered.

This brief guide covers the two procedures members use most often to influence what the House does when they are not in the majority.