Congressman Barry Moore, R-Alabama, voted against adopting the rules of the House of Representatives for the 117th Congress, saying: “I cannot support this gross abuse of power.”
At the beginning of each new Congress, the House of Representatives establishes the “Rules of the House,” which govern the procedures and activities of the House for the next two years — both on the House Floor and in each of its committees. Traditionally, these rules are intended to be bipartisan and consistent from Congress to Congress, while gradually adapting to meet the current needs of the House.
The new rules include provisions to extend remote voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, protect whistleblowers and limit the minority’s ability to amend legislation on the floor.
“The Founding Fathers wanted the minority party to have a voice in Congress, but Democrats have tried over and over to silence Republicans since taking over the House of Representatives,” Moore said. “Their latest rules package for the 117th Congress attempts to eliminate a main tool the minority party has for amending a bill and attempts to censor Members of Congress and staff for sharing information that Speaker Pelosi deems ‘misleading.’ This Democrat package not only excludes bipartisan input, but effectively silences the millions of Americans represented by Republicans in Congress. The Democrats have proven that they are deeply out of touch with the needs and priorities of the American people, and I cannot support this gross abuse of power that sets a dangerous precedent for limiting free speech and bipartisan participation in Congress.”
Moore was not alone in opposing the House rules. Every House Republican did. The House adopted the new set of rules for the 117th Congress in a 217-206 party-line vote.
The package includes language that would make significant changes to the motion to recommit. This is a procedural tool used by the minority party to alter bills at the 11th hour on the floor. Instead of amending legislation ahead of the final vote, bills would be sent back to committee.
Republicans criticized the move as a power grab and an attempt to silence debate.
“The Democrats just destroyed over 100 years of representation in Congress,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said. “Nancy Pelosi wants to silence YOUR voice and consolidate what little power she has left.”
Democrats still control the House, but it is one of the smallest majorities in history, making them very vulnerable if a handful of Democrats object to a bill or were unable to attend due to a COVID quarantine.
Moore represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District.