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WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the Floor of the House of Representatives today in opposition to the Republican rules package for the 115th Congress. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video.
Click here to watch his remarks.
“Mr. Speaker, I’m deeply concerned by a number of controversial provisions included by the Majority in the rules they have proposed for the 115th Congress.
“First, reinstating the ‘Holman Rule’ would make it easier for the Majority to circumvent the current legislative process in order to fire or cut the pay of federal employees. It undermines civil service protections; it goes back to the nineteenth century. Republicans have consistently made our hardworking federal employees scapegoats, in my opinion, for lack of performance of the federal government itself, and this rule change will enable them to make short-sighted and ideologically driven changes to our nation's civil service.
“Secondly, I’m deeply concerned by the rules change regarding decorum in this House. The Chairman [Rep. Pete Sessions] was generous enough to have that discussion with me. When the cameras were turned off in this House there was no way to communicate with the American people, other than by… the streaming of the debate that was going on. As the Ranking Member of the Rules Committee [Rep. Louise Slaughter] pointed out, it was peaceful, it was honest, and it was deeply held. Now, you seek to impose fines and ethics charges against any Member who broadcasts to the American people what takes place in the People's House while it’s in recess – and to deny Americans access to their Congress.
“Thirdly, and I’m very concerned about this, Mr. Chairman – I will talk to you further about it at some point in time – these rules continue the Republican policy of denying a voice to the people of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. When I was Majority Leader, we allowed [the Delegates and Resident Commissioner] to vote in the Committee of the Whole. It showed them respect. It gave them a reason to come to the Floor. It gave them an opportunity to have their constituents see how they felt on a particular issue by putting their name up on the board. I regret that we were unable to continue that policy, Mr. Chairman. I will talk to you about it further. Thank you, I yield back.”