Republicans will have the Constitution read on the House floor Thursday morning in a nod to the conservative Tea Party freshmen that helped put them back in the majority.
The reading will start at 10:30 a.m., with members taking turns until they complete the document -- a process that could take up to a couple of hours.
"This historic and symbolic reading is long overdue
and shows that the new majority in the House truly is dedicated to our Constitution and the principles for which it stands
," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.
"As the written expression of the consent the American people gave to their government -- a consent with restrictions and boundaries
-- the public reading of the Constitution will set the tone for the 112th Congress."
In new House rules passed Wednesday, all bills and joint resolutions submitted for approval will be required to have an accompanying statement explaining their Constitutional authority
. Republicans and the members of the Tea Party have argued that Democrats regularly overreached the Constitutional powers granted to the House of Representatives and believe this rule will refocus legislative priorities.
Bills also will be required to be posted online for 72 hours before they can come to a final vote, banning the practice of rewriting legislation shortly before it is to be voted on, so that all Americans have time to go online, read a bill and then lobby their member of Congress.
Another major change in the rules affects the budget, specifically giving the chairman of the House Budget Committee greater authority to set spending limits.