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Mr. WOODALL. I thank my good friend from Florida for yielding, and I'm pleased to serve beside him on the Rules Committee.
And I went to work on the Rules Committee because of my enthusiasm about openness in this process. One of the very first things we learned during freshman orientation was that we have a leadership team that is committed to openness the likes of which this Congress hasn't seen in decades, decades.
I didn't plan to come down and speak this morning, but I'm sitting back in my office, and I'm listening to the characterization of what's happening down here today, and it caused me to think about my 65 days here in Congress so far.
You know, the process was more open and involved more debate on the repeal of health care than it did the implementation of health care. I happen to have brought down the NPR bill today.
Now, I'm here in strong support of the rule that's bringing this bill to the floor, and I hope folks will vote their conscience on the underlying bill. That's what we all came here to do, and I hope that happens.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven--seven pages here today that we've asked Members to read and digest in 3 days. Seven pages. Now, I wasn't here in the last Congress when thousand-page bills rolled through this body under the same closed process and the same closed length of time.
But I can tell you this: my constituents sent me to read seven pages, and I've read them; and I'll be voting my conscience on the underlying bill. But, folks, we are involved in a process here that we need to be applauding, not condemning. We're involved in a process here that we need to be nurturing, not undercutting.
Have you seen the debate on the floor of the House over the last 2 months? Have you experienced the back-and-forth on the floor of the House in the last 2 months, and do you feel the difference? Because I do. I absolutely do. I don't just feel it; I hear it when I go back home.
We are in the people's House. The chain across the front steps--must be a photo op going on out there this morning. The chain was down. It just felt different walking in this morning because you could just walk up the steps free.
Folks, the chains have come down in this House. The chains have come down in the House, and we're free to engage in this debate, and that's what we're doing. Right here today we're engaged in this debate.
Should we have extensive committee hearings on absolutely everything that comes to the floor? I believe we should. Should we have an open process for absolutely everything that comes to the floor? I think that's a laudable goal.
Do we have constraints that require the rules of the House, because there are 435 of us. It's not like that well-ordered body across the Hall where they only have 100 Members and they get along so well together. We've got 435 folks with lots of passion and lots of opinion, and we need some structure to make that happen.
But this leadership team, with this Congress, both on the left and on the right, has created the most open process with the most extensive amendment process, with the most full debate process that this body has seen in years. And I thank the leadership team for doing that. And I rise in strong support of the rule.
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