Congressmen Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04), Andrew Clyde (R-GA-09), Chip Roy (R-TX-21), Scott Perry (R-PA-10), Dan Bishop (R-NC-09) and congressmen-elect Eli Crane (R-AZ-02) and Andy Ogles (R-TN-05) penned a letter on Thursday which made clear demands for the next U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives, a list which included a “Church Commission-style Committee to Target Weaponized Government.”
As we form the 118th Congress, any GOP Speaker candidate must make clear he or she will advance rules, policies, and an organizational structure that will result in the values listed below.
The House of Representatives serves as the people’s voice in our system of government and it requires leadership to unleash its full power to check the Executive Branch, push the Senate to act, and responsibly exercise its strongest tool – the power of the purse.
For years, however, the House leadership of both parties has increasingly centralized decision-making power around fewer and fewer individuals – at the expense of deliberation and input by the body. This results in massive, multi-subject bills that are unable to be amended or fully read, all driven by supposedly must-pass defense and appropriations measures. In the process, we’ve amassed trillions of dollars in debt, empowered administration bureaucrats who target citizens, and failed to carry out basic duties to defend the American People.
For those wondering why elections are so close, it’s not just a result of redistricting and election procedures. Republicans must demonstrate the sense of urgency felt by the American People to save the country and commit to change the status quo in Washington. We must fight for a bold agenda that will win hearts and minds, but much more importantly, change how we do things to produce results and not excuses.
The American People send us to Washington to do what we said we would do – namely, to limit spending and fight to advance a conservative agenda. We must organize ourselves to ensure that there is a ‘check’ on the swamp and reform the status quo. To that end, we must ensure:
- Trust & Accountability: We must return to Thomas Jefferson’s rule guaranteeing the right to protect the ability to represent his/her constituents by forcing a vote on the Speakership (the “Motion to Vacate the Chair”). While difficult in practice, it is an important mechanism to restore trust and provide accountability – in place for a reason from 1801 to 2018. In addition, Republicans must replace what Nancy Pelosi struck from the rules of the 115th Congress.
- Bills that are Focused, Amendable, Readable: For too long under both parties, we have simply failed to do our most basic job to legislate in a responsible manner on behalf of our constituents. We must take steps to re-open the legislative process in the House for all Members to participate. At a minimum, we must pledge 100% commitment to providing (and not waiving) at least 72 hours for FINAL bill text, a return to “single subject” bills, rules requiring germane amendments, and a pledge to restore genuine debate to the floor.
Background: No amendments have been offered by individual Members on the House floor in open debate since May 2016. The 72-hour rule is waived routinely onlong, complex legislation- notably, this week on the NDAA – meaning Members rarely know what’s in the legislation on which they are voting. Additionally, absent rules on single subject and germaneness, it’s impossible to have full debate on subjects without being accused of opposing (or supporting) extraneous measures.
- No Leadership Involvement in Primaries: Republican leadership and their political proxies must stop their involvement in Republican primaries. We must have a clear policy – and that message must be sent to leadership-affiliated PACs – to avoid undermining the trust of those they will eventually have to lead and inserting themselves into local elections. While organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Club for Growth have a role to play in primaries, Republican leadership does not.
Background: In the 2022 cycle, far too many competitive candidates lost in November after political action committees (PACs) associated with Republican Leadership (i.e., the Congressional Leadership Fund) spent large sums of money in GOP primaries, leaving them battered in the general election and with empty war chests.
- Conservative Representation on Committees & Among Chairs: To be effective and actually united, the Republican positions on committees must reflect the ideological makeup of the House Republican Conference and those Americans who elect us. Most importantly, the Rules Committee must have multiple conservative seats. We must ensure unity BEFORE we’re on the House floor.
Background: Consider that despite undeniably being a substantive block of the Conference, conservatives are dramatically underrepresented on the so-called “A” committees (e.g. Appropriations, Energy & Commerce, Ways Means, etc.) For example, just two of the 27 Republicans on Appropriations belong to the House Freedom Caucus. Of the 20 “standing” committees in the House, only one is led by a HFC Member. Finally, the average across multiple conservative “scores” for committee chairs is demonstrably lower than even the Conference as a whole.
A Firm Plan to End Limitless Spending: We must commit to not raising the debt ceiling without a concrete plan to cap spending and operate under a budget that balances in 10 years or less – and hold to it.- In addition, we must not return to the blind embrace of earmarks emblematic of the swamp.
Background: In just two years, President Biden and Congress have increased the deficit by $4.8 trillion. Republicans have abetted inflationary spending by supporting bills like the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package and the $1.5 trillion omnibus, among others. Republicans have committed themselves to furthering his largesse by re-embracing earmarks and blind support of defense funding. We must pass a budget that balances in 10 years and imposes spending caps that we will stick to in order to stop destructive spending.
- Using “Must-Pass” Legislation to Check the Biden Administration: We must fight for the American People. The NDAA can be used not only to end vaccine mandates, but also reinstate and protect discharged Service Members. The Farm Bill must reform food stamp welfare programs and block Chinese government land-buying. The Debt Ceiling must implement spending caps. Appropriations bills must utilize the power of the purse to actually stop the border insurgency, restore energy freedom, and/or block the hiring of more IRS personnel to harass Americans.
- Form a “Church Commission”-Style Committee to Target Weaponized Government: Create one centralized, empowered investigation and action committee to frame and carry out the fight against weaponized government in coordination with other critical standing committees (e.g., the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees), one that is fully engaged in the critical work of regular, detailed oversight and empowered with subpoena authority.
We propose these changes because the institution needs to change. We believe these should form the basis of any conversation about our leadership and without regard to any one request, the totality of the requests must be addressed if we are to truly unite as a Conference.
U.S. Representative Scott Perry (PA-10)
U.S. Representative Chip Roy (TX-21)
U.S. Representative Dan Bishop (NC-09)
U.S. Representative Andrew Clyde (GA-09)
U.S. Representative Paul Gosar (AZ-04)
U.S. Representative-Elect Eli Crane (AZ-02)
U.S. Representative-Elect Andy Ogles (TN-05)
The U.S. Constitution does not require that the Speaker of the House be a current member of Congress, however, no non-members have ever been elected.
The election for the next Speaker of the House will take place on January 3rd, 2022.