Letter to Committee Chairmen

Ranking Democratic Committee Members today called on GOP Committee Chairs to return to Washington to address the urgent needs of the American people to create jobs, guarantee economic certainty with the extension of middle class tax cuts, pass a bipartisan Farm bill, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and achieve a balanced solution to the fiscal cliff.

As the Ranking Members wrote in their letter, "This week, the House will again be closed down, except for one hearing currently scheduled by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the terrorist attack in Libya. Why can't other Committees we serve on as Ranking Democratic Members conduct business that is critical to meeting the needs of the middle class during this long recess?"

Further, the letter states, "We are prepared to work with our Chairs to schedule hearings and legislative action in our Committees throughout this month, instead of remaining inactive."

Below is the full text of the letter:

October 9, 2012

Dear Chairmen:

The House will be in session just eight days between August 3 and November 13, although important legislation deserves our immediate attention: middle-income tax cuts, jobs bill, the Farm bill, and the Violence Against Women Act. We also should use the next four weeks to consider responsible deficit reduction alternatives to the looming sequester.

Not only has the House recessed without addressing these urgent concerns, but the Committees you chair are failing to hold hearings and conduct other urgent business. The House was scheduled to be in session last week. Instead, the Republican leadership decided, despite calls by Democratic leadership to stay in session, to take yet another week of recess, the eighth recess week since August. This week, the House will again be closed down, except for one hearing currently scheduled by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the terrorist attack in Libya. Why can't other Committees we serve on as Ranking Democratic Members conduct business that is critical to meeting the needs of the middle class during this long recess?

Last week, the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee convened a hearing on the risks Americans face from Republican policy proposals on Medicare. Standing House Committees should also be holding official and formal hearings on the issues that affect our economy and the American people. The concerns of the American people do not disappear during the campaign season, and Congress should be at work, not on recess, week after week. No wonder the American people have lost confidence in the leadership of this Congress.

As the Senior Democrats on the House Committees, we reiterate our strong desire for our Committees to conduct official business during October. We are prepared to work with our Chairs to schedule hearings and legislative action in our Committees throughout this month, instead of remaining inactive.

Sincerely,

Collin C. Peterson
Norman D. Dicks
Chris Van Hollen
George Miller
Henry A. Waxman
Barney Frank
Howard L. Berman
Bennie G. Thompson
Robert A. Brady
John Conyers, Jr.
Edward J. Markey
Elijah E. Cummings
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Nydia M. Velazquez
Nick J. Rahall
Bob Filner
Sander M. Levin
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger