Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Morgan Griffith on Changing the House

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):


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Changing the House
Following the September 25 announcement that then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would be resigning from Congress at the end of October, many discussions took place regarding future leadership in the House of Representatives.  In recent weeks, I and others have been working together to attempt to craft proposed changes to House Republican Conference rules and U.S. House of Representatives rules in an effort to ensure that the chamber follows a more regular order and to better adhere to the principles of Thomas Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice.

These discussions will continue.

Prior to the election of Speaker, Paul D. Ryan (WI-01) spoke with numerous individuals – including members of the House Freedom Caucus – and emphasized his support for rules changes.

However, more important than what he may have said privately to any particular group is what he said publicly following his election.

On October 29, Speaker Ryan reiterated in his speech, “The House is broken.  We are not solving problems.  We are adding to them. …  Neither the members nor the people are satisfied with how things are going.  We need to make some changes, starting with how the House does business.”

Interestingly, he also said, “A neglected minority will gum up the works.  A respected minority will work in good faith.  Instead of trying to stop the majority, they might try to become the majority.”  Many in the press thought this was a reference to the Democrats.  But Speaker Ryan indicated on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday show that it could also refer to a minority of Republicans.

I pray that our changes to the process will return the United States House of Representatives to a true deliberative body.  And I hope that the body will rise to the occasion and prove to the American people that we will conduct their business in a more transparent manner.

I believe Speaker Ryan is sincere about making the House of Representatives – which by design is supposed to mirror the will of the American people – more reflective of the wishes of the people and more respectful of the rights of all Members of Congress to at least have the opportunity to be heard on issues of importance.  Accordingly, I voted for Paul Ryan to be the next Speaker of the House.
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