Washington, D.C. – Today, Republican Ranking Members from all standing and select House Committees sent a letter to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-05) in opposition to H.Res. 965, House Democrats’ proxy voting scheme, which proposes partisan changes that facilitate remote and virtual committee operations while the House remains in recess. The letter emphasizes that this legislation would upend more than 200 years of precedent and jeopardize the deliberative process of the House of Representatives, and the ability of members to represent their constituents.
The Honorable Steny H. Hoyer
Majority Leader of the House
H-107, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Majority Leader Hoyer:
We write in regards to H.Res. 965, which proposes partisan changes that facilitate remote and virtual committee operations while the House remains in recess.
When the Majority first released proposed rule changes a few weeks ago, we couldn’t possibly imagine it could get any worse for the House as an institution. Yet, somehow, the Majority managed to write an even more egregious package of rules changes and seems hellbent on pushing these changes through without bipartisan consensus.
Upending more than 200 years of precedent through partisan fiat will jeopardize the deliberative process of the House of Representatives and our ability to represent our constituents. The House will be in session this week with debate being held and votes being cast. If the whole House can conduct business while adhering to health guidelines, then so too can our Committees.
The work of committees should be prioritized to ensure that we are producing thoughtful legislation to support the continuing response to COVID-19 and to foster a robust economic recovery for the American people. Properly prioritizing this work will ensure greater flexibility in scheduling and increase our ability to follow all applicable health guidelines.
Congress has already demonstrated that we can come together during this crisis to address the needs of the American people. Unfortunately, many of the proposed changes in H.Res. 965 are only necessary if you seek to move partisan measures or legislation un-related to the COVID-19 response.
The proposed resolution gives unilateral authority to Chairman McGovern to determine how committees manage their business. Currently, committees are required to vote to ratify proposed committee rules, but this new superpower will allow a single Member of the House to determine the rules of the road for all without amendments and without a vote.
The issuance of a subpoena and conducting a deposition are serious matters. To allow remote depositions underscores how unserious H.Res. 965 truly is. A deposition is an important tool for committees to use and it should not be subject to the uncontrolled environment of an untested virtual setting.
The rights of the Minority in the House must be protected. Without the ability to ensure the rights of our Members are secured, we cannot support your efforts and will oppose any attempt to alter the rules.
As Ranking Members of all standing and select committees, we oppose this partisan assault on the rights of the House Minority and our ability to effectively represent the American people.