. — Today, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) gave a speech on the House Floor about the Rules Package for the 118th Congress. Leader Scalise emphasized how House Republicans’ Rules Packages will make Congress more accountable and accessible to the American people, and will create a more representative process that will allow for legislation to be brought to the Floor to address the crises Democrats have created.
Leader Scalise's remarks:
“Mr. Speaker, we are here to discuss the rules of the House, actually debating the Rules Package. And why this is so important is because this lays out the ability for the House to conduct business – for the House to not only conduct business but for the House to address the problems that the American people across this country [are facing]. Washington is broken. And not just is Washington broken, but the way that this House has been running for the last few years has not been designed to address the problems of the people across this country. In fact, we've seen many of the problems that families are facing across America created by the things that have come out of this Congress signed by President Biden.
“Why is inflation running away? Because spending is out of control; because bills appear by [the] dark of night – bills that nobody's read that are thousands of pages long – where members aren't even allowed to give input in committee on the floor to address problems they know their constituents will face if these bills pass. And yet the bills are passed because they're written in rooms behind closed doors by a small number of people not concerned about the consequences that will affect so many millions of people across this nation.
“Mr. Speaker, for a long time, we've been saying this needs to change. In fact, we ran on an agenda to change the way that Washington works, to fix this broken system to get our country back on track, and we were awarded the majority by the people across this country. And so today starts that process of fixing what's broken in Washington so that Washington can finally start working for the people of this country who are struggling.
“And so let's start with one basic thing – reopening the People's House. For years the American people were shut out of coming and seeing their government work. In fact, proxy voting [ends in this] Rules Package. [Now], Members of Congress have to show up and work again.
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“And let's just be very clear up front: We saw a lot of debate about this last week. At the heart of all of [these] discussions last week, was very clear, surely from our side, that
“Just look at the bill that passed a few weeks ago, the omnibus spending bill: $1.7 [trillion], mostly borrowed from countries like China. You look at all of the things that had absolutely nothing to do with the general operations of government that were thrown in that. Now you can start looking at it today, but you surely couldn't look at it [on] the day of the vote because very few people had the opportunity to read it. Over 4,000 pages [were] dumped – by [the] dark of night – right before the vote. We've been trying to bring legislation, but that legislation has been rejected by a top-down structure. This Rules Package changes that so [that] we can finally start bringing bills to the floor to address things like the border crisis [and] finally start addressing inflation and runaway spending.
“If a Member of Congress has an idea and they want to bring an amendment to the floor, for so long, they were shut out of that ability. You had a bill that was over $4 trillion in spending and taxes that was brought through multiple committees in Congress, and not one amendment was allowed to be brought forward and passed. In fact, even the majority was told in the committees, ‘Don't allow a single amendment to pass’ on a bill dealing with trillions of dollars in taxes and spending that is crushing families across America.
“So, let's make Congress work for families again. Let's empower Members of Congress to be able to represent their constituents. We were all elected by, on average, about 750,000 people. And for too long, Members of Congress, Republican or Democrat, were denied the ability in so many different ways because the rules were structured to shut their ability down from representing their districts unless they were in a leadership position. That has to change, and under this Rules Package, that finally does change.
“So, let's make this Congress work for the people who sent us here. We are, after all, the People’s House. It's about time we start acting like it. Let's pass this Rules Package [and] get to work addressing the needs of the American people. I urge passage of this important piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, and I yield back the balance of my time.”
“And yes, a majority of this Congress voted by proxy on that bill. They weren't even here showing up to vote. Well, you know what? Americans all across the country have to show up to vote. They have to go to their worksite. They can't work remotely.
“In fact, Congress doesn't work virtually. It's just not set up that way. And yet, that's what we've seen in the last two years. [There are certain] committees that don't even meet in person. There are some committees that haven't had an in-person hearing for two years. We end that practice in this Rules Package, where committees actually have to get to work again, not only meeting in person but, in some cases, going out into the field going into the real world.
“Places like the border between the United States and Mexico where yes, despite the President's claim, there is a crisis at the border. And we've been talking about it for a long time.