“Madam Speaker — If we defeat the Previous Question we can amend the rule to save the right of every American to be heard on the floor of Congress.
“Madam Speaker — A tenet of socialism is to silence all opposition.
“The right to speak your mind and question your leaders are often the first casualties of socialist governments throughout history. Not far behind are other important freedoms — including the right to defend yourself and the right to earn a living — which are impossible to protect without freedom of speech.
“Our Constitution lists freedom of speech as its first freedom, and for our Founding Fathers the reason was self-evident. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.’
“Franklin was right then, and he is right now.
“But I’ve noticed a dangerous trend against free speech in recent years — a trend that betrays everything our Founding Fathers lived, fought, and died for.
“It began in schools and on college campuses — where students are taught the absurd notion that free speech is about privilege and power, not open debate and rational deliberation.
“Then it jumped to the mainstream media and social media giants — who use their power to protect their liberal friends and censor conservatives, including during the last election and throughout the pandemic.
“And now, with today’s vote, the same socialist ideas have found their way onto the floor and into the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, which will shape every law this chamber tries to make in the next two years.
“These changes will stop Americans’ voices from being heard — primarily by revoking the motion to recommit, the minority’s longtime right to offer the last amendment to legislation.
“To again quote Ben Franklin, free speech is a necessary tool for exposing and keeping in check ‘narrow thoughts and narrow men.’ That is what the motion to recommit is all about.
“For our constituents, taking it away means freedom of speech is silenced and good ideas are stifled.
“While House Democrats have slowly chipped away at this right in the past — today’s vote truly represents a nuclear option. It will prove, once and for all, who is truly an ‘institutionalist’ in this body.
“Additionally, these new rules mirror the misplaced priorities of the last Congress. Democrats’ 45-page resolution strips all mention of words such ‘father, mother, son, daughter, brother, mother-in-law, and daughter-in-law’ from the rules.
“Already, in their race to wokeness, Democrats used the opening prayer yesterday to change the word ‘amen,’ which has nothing to do with gender.
“Today’s vote is about more than organizing Congress. It’s about the American people’s right to be heard by their government.
“This vote is important. It might be the most important vote we will take after the vote for Speaker. It signals our priorities — our vision — for the entire two years.
“The fact that this is Democrats’ first course of action as the majority in the new Congress speaks volumes to the lengths they will go to silence the people’s voice.
“The political and moral stakes are high — and the American people know it. If censorship replaces open debate on this floor, serious deliberation of the most important issues confronting our country will become impossible.
“More importantly, Congress will continue to waste time on unnecessary distractions that have nothing to do with the needs of the American people. The damage would be immediate and long-lasting.
“But Republicans will never give up our right to fully represent our constituents’ voices in Washington.
“Democrats’ small thinking may limit how we can do what’s right for our constituents — but it won’t stop us from doing what’s needed.
“So today, each and every member must answer a simple question: Will you silence our constituents’ voices on this floor? Or will you focus on what they need and deserve?
“This choice will shape everything we do in the next two years and beyond.
“I yield back and strongly urge defeat of the Previous Question.”