New Democrat Coalition Members Urge Commitment to Regular Order and Committee Process for Upcoming Legislative Packages
New Democrat Coalition (NDC) sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer urging that the House utilize regular order both in name and spirit as the House starts to legislate the framework set forth by President Biden’s American Jobs and Families Plans.
The letter reads in part:
“As the House develops the next legislative packages to build back better, we have the opportunity to resume a more thoughtful, deliberative, and collaborative approach to legislating. President Biden has outlined frameworks in the American Jobs and Families Plans for Congress to further develop and advance through the legislative process. To meet this opportunity, we urge a return to regular order both in name and spirit that empowers individual Members and Committees to fully utilize their policy expertise and authorities to craft the strongest legislation with the broadest coalition of support possible.”
Over the last few months, the NDC has held several meetings with Biden administration officials and Committee Chairs to discuss the American Jobs and Families Plans. Over the last few Congresses, NDC Members have secured appointments to key committees and are well-positioned to help craft these bills during the Committee process. NDC Members believe House leadership should empower Committees and Members to work collaboratively to get the policy right.
The full letter can be found here and below.
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer,
Over the past year, and thanks to your leadership, Congress has taken decisive action to provide significant support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic emergency. This Congress, we continued our response with the American Rescue Plan, taking a significant step to help our communities, families, workers and American businesses. Understandably, these emergency relief and recovery packages were developed and advanced quickly with very limited opportunity for substantive input from Members. There was no time to delay as we responded to this crisis, and the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) has strongly supported these various efforts and moving quickly.
As the House develops the next legislative packages to build back better, we have the opportunity to resume a more thoughtful, deliberative, and collaborative approach to legislating. President Biden has outlined frameworks in the American Jobs and Families Plans for Congress to further develop and advance through the legislative process. To meet this opportunity, we urge a return to regular order both in name and spirit that empowers individual Members and Committees to fully utilize their policy expertise and authorities to craft the strongest legislation with the broadest coalition of support possible.
The House is the most representative body in the federal government, and we know that respectful dissent is a good thing, and that diversity is our strength. It allows for the unique perspectives of Members from a diverse set of districts all across the country to be heard, considered, and addressed in legislation. The House should prioritize the advancement of individual Member priorities and legislation, with a particular focus on the majority-makers, and be responsive to their concerns. Individual Members of Congress are elected by voters with the expectation that they will have an opportunity to shape public policy, give their constituents a voice in our Nation’s capital, and deliver tangible results.
As we develop and advance legislation that responds to the President’s American Jobs and Families Plans, the House should set clear and fair schedules and deadlines for committee work and House business with more opportunities for Members to engage in substantive drafting, debate, amendment, and consideration of legislation. Committees should be empowered to lead on the development of legislation that responds to the President’s plans. Individual Members should also be given material opportunities to craft the legislation, review legislative text and significant Manager’s amendments, and engage in debate, amendment, and consideration of legislation in their committees and as the packages come to the floor. Appropriate time should also be given before floor consideration for the release and review of legislative text, the rule and significant amendments considered as adopted by the rule, and, if budgetary and revenue effects are anticipated, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) revenue estimates. Furthermore, reasonable time should be given for the development, submission, and consideration of amendments on the floor, and for the review of any amendments considered as adopted in Rules that make significant or substantive changes to text.
The proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives are driven as much by norms, attitudes, and comity as by its Rules or procedures. True progress is going to require a commitment from all of us–leadership and rank-and-file members–to come to a consensus about what kind of institution we want to serve in and how we want it to work. We look forward to working with you and our colleagues to empower Committees and Members to legislate more effectively for the people.
Signers: Reps. Suzan DelBene, Derek Kilmer, Ami Bera, Scott Peters, Annie Kuster, Sharice Davids, Chrissy Houlahan, Kathy Manning, Brad Schneider, Stacey Plaskett, Cindy Axne, Don Beyer, Sean Casten, Jim Costa, Angie Craig, Lizzie Fletcher, Bill Foster, Ron Kind, Tom O’Halleran, Mike Quigley, Kurt Schrader, Kim Schrier, Mikie Sherrill, Haley Stevens, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, Joaquin Castro, Madeleine Dean, Elaine G. Luria, Susie Lee, Tom Malinowski, Stephanie Murphy, Chris Pappas, Dean Phillips, Kathleen Rice, Terri Sewell, Elissa Slotkin, Abigail Spanberger, Marilyn Strickland, David Trone, and Susan Wild.
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