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It's been two years

This week marks the halfway point through the Trump presidency. Right now, there are systems and people who will work to undermine our efforts – whether it's old-school bureaucracy or a president hastily tweeting insults when he doesn't get his way.

I've promised to hold Trump accountable. This session, as the Chairman of the Rules Committee, I have collaborated with members of Congress to develop a new rules package. And we intend to run this place differently.

For the first time in history, the rules package has been developed from the bottom up – yielding a modernized approach. We're focused on five key principles:

  1. Restore the people's voice. We will realign the congressional agenda with the priorities of the American people. Changes include:

    • enabling the House to defend the Affordable Care Act's pre-existing conditions coverage;
    • creating a Select Committee on the Climate Crisis so Congress can respond to this threat while creating green jobs of the future;
    • protecting federal workers from appropriations bills, or amendments that would reduce the salary of or fire a specific federal employee or cut a specific program;
    • strengthening representation by giving voting rights to delegates and the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in the Committee of the Whole;
    • and committing to workers by putting labor back into the name of the Committee on Education and Labor.
  2. Restore regular order to the legislative process. Ideas should be debated and voted on. Changes include:

    • establishing a real 72-hour rule so Members of Congress have time to read the major bills they're voting on;
    • creating a consensus calendar to expedite bipartisan measures;
    • requiring bills that go through the Rules Committee have a hearing and a markup before they go to the floor;
    • and working to modernize and improve Congress.
  3. Reasserting the legislative branch as a co-equal branch of government. Changes include:

    • closing conflict of interest loopholes;
    • requiring all Members of Congress – not just new members – to complete ethics training every year;
    • providing assistance and training to congressional staff to properly and securely handle whistleblowers and making clear that nondisclosure agreements cannot be used to prohibit current or former staff from reporting possible wrongdoing;
    • and setting a policy that Members indicted for serious crimes should resign from leadership roles and committee assignments.
  4. Implement rules that prevent Congress from using the debt ceiling as a political weapon. Changes include:

    • streamlining rules by eliminating dynamic scoring requirements;
    • reinstating rules to protect our nation's credit rating;
    • and ending the policy that allows federal lands to be given away for free without acknowledging the budgetary impact.
  5. Restore inclusion and diversity so the House of Representatives reflects the faces of America. Changes include:

    • amending House rules to clearly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;
    • ensuring religious expression by clarifying that religious headwear – like the hijab – is permitted to be worn in the House chamber;
    • creating a diversity office to facilitate a workforce that reflects all members and the districts they represent;
    • and creating a subcommittee within the Committee on Financial Services to oversee diversity and inclusion within the financial services sector.

We will lead by example. We will move the country forward.


Posted on January 23, 2019.

Meet Jim

Jim McGovern represents the 2nd District of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He has earned a national reputation as a tireless advocate for his district and as a champion for food security, human rights, campaign finance reform, social justice and peace.

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