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Public Statements

Rules of the House

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WALDEN. Madam Speaker, I want to thank the chairman of the Rules Committee.

I wanted to talk just briefly about the transition itself, and I want to thank members of both parties who participated in very meaningful ways in our transition. I think it was an unprecedented effort in terms of its size and inclusiveness. Four members of our team were incoming freshmen. We offered Democrats the opportunity to participate both formally and informally, an act of bipartisanship that has been missing, frankly, from prior organizations going back over both parties' tenure in leadership.

I asked Speaker Pelosi to designate two Democratic participants. We distributed surveys to every Member, chief of staff, and scheduler on both sides of the aisle to get as many ideas as possible to reform the people's House. Let us always remember that this is the people's House. It is their business. It is the taxpayers' money, and the public has the right to observe and participate in this process. The outcome is the rules package before us today. The transition team received more than 2,000 suggestions from the general public submitted through our Web site.

And what did we accomplish? Bills will now be posted online in a searchable format at least 3 days before receiving a vote on the House floor. No longer will bills be dropped in the middle of the night and voted on the next day. We require that all bills include a citation of constitutional authority so Congress respects the limits imposed on it by the founding document.

To begin to control the explosion in spending, we are clamping down on budgetary sleights of hand that hide spending beyond the first 10-year window of a bill; any legislation projected to increase the deficit by more than $5 billion in any single 10-year window out to 50 years will be subject to a point of order; a new CutGo rule requiring any suspension bill that increases authorizations or creates new programs to make equal or greater cuts elsewhere; a legislative calendar to ensure Members will be back home listening to the people who sent us here at least a week every month; ending the practice of passing comprehensive or omnibus bills that package unrelated legislation together in an effort to avoid public scrutiny; and will require every committee to Webcast their hearings and markups and make them available online.

Transparent, open, accountable. This is the rules package to change the House.


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