Like the rest of America, Congress has had to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented lockdown of society. As you may have guessed, Congress is not a particularly flexible or dynamic institution. Most of our rules and procedures are decades (if not centuries) old. There is value in that – in continuing the work as our Founding Fathers intended. This means, however, that we don’t have well-established frameworks or agreements for how to transition our work to teleconferencing or other remote venues.
Even if many Members of Congress are not present in Washington, it remains as important as ever for us to continue to represent our constituents in policymaking and oversight.
Unfortunately, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are seizing on this crisis as an opportunity to make radical changes to the institution to give themselves more power and marginalize Republicans in the minority. The House, by design, is governed by the majority but it has always granted rights and protections to the minority party. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, letting no crisis go to waste, is reshaping the House to sideline Republicans and cut us out of the process altogether.
We must not sit back and allow Democrats to silence all voices of opposition to their hyper-partisan agenda. I am ringing the alarm bells and urging my Republican colleagues to stand up and resist Democrats’ heavy-handed changes.
This week, I led a letter with 39 Republican colleagues to Majority Leader Hoyer, Minority Leader McCarthy, Chairman McGovern, and Ranking Member Cole urging that they enact rules and procedures to protect the minority party’s right to call witnesses and participate equally in remote committee briefings and hearings.
You can read my letter here.