Statement ● Convening of the 116th Congress
For Immediate Release: 
January 3, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of House Democrats' Rules package for the 116th Congress. Below is a link to the video and transcript of his remarks:
 

Click here to watch the full remarks.
 
"Mr. Speaker, this Rules package was developed under the leadership of Chairman McGovern and Democrats on the Rules Committee, but shaped by the voices of millions of Americans who want to see change in Washington.

"Elections, of course, have consequences, and today, Americans will see the first changes that are the result of entrusting Democrats with the Majority in the House.

“This Rules package will restore power to the American people in five critical ways: a) restoring the people's voices; b) fixing the legislative process; c) improving oversight and ethics; d) imposing common-sense budget rules; and e) promoting inclusion and diversity.

“We seek to restore the people's voices, Mr. Speaker, in a number of ways.  The first is by bringing H.R. 1 to the Floor early in this new Congress, legislation that will begin to undo the corrupting influence of undisclosed money in our politics.  I want to thank my colleague from Maryland, Congressman John Sarbanes, for his tireless efforts on that bill and look forward to bringing it to the Floor.

“Next, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton from the District of Columbia, the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, and Delegates in the territories will once again be permitted to vote on amendments and help shape legislation as they seek to add the voices of millions of people they represent.

“We will also end the practice of allowing appropriations bills to target hard-working federal employees by cutting individual salaries, programs, or office sizes.

“In fixing the broken legislative process, Mr. Speaker, Democrats will restore regular order to the House. Our new Rules package will make it harder to throw the House into partisan chaos, and it includes new measures that facilitate bipartisanship, including by making it easier to force a vote on legislation supported by a majority of Members.

“Our Rules improve oversight and ethics in several ways, including, for example, by making it easier for staff to report harassment and close remaining loopholes allowing conflicts of interest. Also, Mr. Speaker, no longer will Members or staff be allowed to serve on corporate boards, giving rise to conflicts of interest.

“Democrats will return to common-sense budget practices, such as eliminating Republicans' use of ‘dynamic scoring’ and reinstating the Gephardt Rule to prevent the default on our debt. The Rules package takes a step of restoring PAYGO, which ensures that Congress has to pay for what it buys.

“Additionally, our Rules package promotes diversity and inclusion by specifically banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Members and staff as well as ensuring that Members and staff who wear religious head-coverings can do so on the House Floor without impediment. We are also creating an independent diversity office to help Members hire qualified staff who reflect the broad and diverse range of the constituents that we represent.

“Mr. Speaker, this Rules package signals a new start for the House. We will go from the most closed Congress in history to a period when Americans finally have a House that is on their side. With these Rules, Mr. Speaker, we will make government work again for those it serves. And hopefully, Mr. Speaker, they will also facilitate a process which will not close down the people's government. I reserve the balance of my time.”