Abandon Efforts (HR 1 & HR 4) to Nationalize Elections
"The overall structure of the bill is fatally flawed, but even in detail it is a fiasco. Given the limited time I have, I am unable to address the many, many deeply flawed provisions in the bill. But is it even necessary to discuss the obvious consequences of replacing voter ID with signed affidavits? Or the folly of dignifying the concept of fake "ten to one donor match by midnight" email scams with a six to one match from the very real taxpayers? Worst of all, I don't have time to delve into the incredible burden these mandates impose on state election administrators, and the wave of frivolous lawsuits and election challenges that those burdensome mandates will produce, achieving, once again, the polar opposite of the stated aim of HR1." Read Congressman Peter Meijer's (R-MI) full testimony here.
"Under the pretext of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic—and in many cases at the last possible moment—governors, secretaries of state, state political parties, courts, and other actors went around the Constitutional authority of state legislatures to set the parameters for how the election would be administered within that state. This is contrary to the explicit language of the Constitution, and it led to widespread irregularities that undermined Americans' faith in our institutions. So how did Congressional Democrats respond? They doubled down on that usurpation of state power by re-introducing H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 from the last Congress. H.R. 1 nationalizes elections and centralizes election administration in Washington, DC— this is a direct violation of the Constitution. Again, Article 1, Section 4 gives states the primary role in determining their registration and voting practices." Read Congressman Mike Johnson's (R-LA) full testimony here.
"Residents of New York's 22nd Congressional District saw these shortcomings firsthand. This last year my congressional race took almost three months to decide. Hasty rule changes and bureaucratic incompetence left approximately 700,000 Americans without representation in Congress for over a month. These are not the experiences that instill faith in our system. They undermine the trust needed for the functioning of a representative system of government. To prevent this from happening again, I founded and currently co-Chair the Congressional Election Integrity Caucus, which educates Members on these issues and advocates for common sense reforms and solutions to ensure secure elections. Thankfully, we have proven examples to pull from, as many states have acted to shore up their electoral systems. This includes enacting commonsense voter ID laws, updating voter rolls, banning ballot harvesting, and requiring all votes to be counted on election night. However, these critical measures face resistance from political forces across the country, including here in this body and on this committee. These partisans seek to centralize electoral administration and undermine the basic security of our elections." Read Congresswoman Claudia Tenney's (R-NY) full testimony here.
"To that end, I think it's important we examine federal laws pertaining to our elections. Unfortunately, in Congress, House Democrats continue to craft legislation to be a one-sided messaging tool rather than a genuine attempt to address election reform. This is evident in H.R. 1, which seeks to establish a centralized, federal overhaul of our election process that would outlaw the Texas' voter ID law, infringe on First Amendment rights and constrict free speech by imposing vague standards for any group that wishes to advocate for or against a legislative issue, turns the Federal Election Commission (FEC), currently bipartisan with three Republican and three Democrat commissioners, into a five-member partisan commission that would effectively silence the minority opinion, and funnels millions of dollars to fund political campaigns based on a formula averaging the most expensive campaigns from the previous cycle. To put this in perspective, based on the 2020 election cycle, projections show certain political campaigns could receive over seven million dollars, financed by the federal government, which politicians can spend on anything from travel to negative campaign ads." Read Congressman Van Taylor's (R-TX) full testimony here.
Reopen the People's House
"As a Doctor, it appalls me to think Doctors are put in a position to have to answer to political pressures, rather than set forth guidance based on facts and medical expertise. From my perspective, this has happened time and time again throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and in the safety protocol decision making process here in the House of Representatives. I believe this has offered us an opportunity for this committee to reexamine the role of the Office of the Attending Physician and de-politicize the office, removing it from the partisan overreach of the Office of the Speaker – regardless of which political party happens to be in the majority. The Office of Attending Physician was established to be the Doctor on campus and attend to basic medical needs—not set protocols to respond to a national pandemic. The office is in need of modernization to reflect the times. This is why earlier this year I introduced H.R. 4862, the Office of Attending Physician Independence Act, which would remove the ability for political pressure to put upon the Office of Attending Physician by establishing a bicameral, bipartisan framework, much like that of the Architect of the Capitol that has been in place since 1990, to appoint and oversee the Office of Attending Physician." Read Congressman Larry Buschon, MD's (R-IN) full testimony here.
"As a health care professional, I find the current House rules related to mask wearing, constituent meetings, and Capitol tours far too restrictive and frankly disrespectful to the millions of Americans we all serve. Members of Congress are directly elected by the people. And many refer to the House of Representatives as the ‘People's House.' But the people, our constituents, are not able to visit our Capitol to witness their democracy work. They are limited to watching hearings and legislative business on a screen – the most impersonal form of participation with their government. The House, under the Democrat party's lead, has shut out the public. Members are prohibited from giving tours, constituents can't personally visit their Representatives office without going through a ridiculously cumbersome sign-in process, and just forget about letting constituents visit the House Chamber. Meanwhile, on the other side of the dome, Senate offices can take meetings and give constituents tours of the same Capitol building we can't. It is understandable that certain precautions were necessary when the pandemic started as we knew very little about the virus. But our knowledge has evolved. We know how to mitigate spread and we have vaccines. So at what point is limiting constituent involvement in the democratic process no longer about the virus – well, we hit that point a LONG time ago. The virus is here to stay. We have effective, free vaccines for every American. It's time we open our capitol back up and let the Americans that elected us visit their Capitol and their Representatives without restrictions." Read Congressman Buddy Carter's (R-GA) full testimony here.
"At the same time, the Speaker's strict rules and protocols seem only to be enforced when they are convenient for her. When she needed every vote possible in order to be elected Speaker, she found a way to make an exception for members, who just days before tested positive for COVID, to come to the House Chamber and cast their vote for her. When a group of over 50 State House Democrats from Texas fled to Washington instead of voting on an elections bill, they were allowed into the House office buildings and Speaker Pelosi was glad to meet with them. To make matters worse, some of these members tested positive for COVID just days after their return to Texas. And most recently, when we have seen celebrities and Hollywood elites fly cross country to Washington, she seems to find a way to make exceptions and welcome them into her office in the Capitol. Meanwhile, my office has had to give the disappointing news to a countless number of my constituents that they are not allowed into the Capitol for a Capitol Tour. This includes families bringing their children all the way from northern Minnesota to our nation's capital. This includes students on their class trip who came to learn more about how their government works. This includes groups of first responders and members of law enforcement who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. And finally, this includes Veterans who are coming to visit the war memorials and pay their respects to their fallen brothers and sisters at Arlington National Cemetery. All of them must be asking themselves, Speaker Pelosi, where is our exception to the rules?" Read Congressman Pete Stauber's (R-MN) full testimony here.
Reform Capitol & Member Security
"Simply put: We know that instances of these threats are increasing, stretching the resources available to Capitol Police and the Sergeant at Arms. In May, the Capitol Police reported a 107% increase in threats against Members compared to 2020, but as the year comes to an end, we have a more complete picture. As of this week, more than 9,000 concerning communications and direct threats have been reported to the Capitol Police in the past year. 4,782, or more than half of those, were directed against members of the House. And, last month alone, nearly 400 concerning communications and direct threats were reported to Capitol Police. We are confronted with a concerning, and frankly dangerous, security posture when we consider these numbers relative to the limited resources available to the Capitol Police's Threat Assessment Section, especially compared to similar agencies like the U.S. Secret Service. Given that a significant share of the responsibility for addressing this issue falls to this Committee, I hope that we can find ways to work together in the upcoming session. We've already received insights on the challenges facing the Capitol Police in the past year, including from the Department's Inspector General, and it is time for us to act. To start, we need to have serious and substantive conversations on how to: expand resources for threat assessment; enable any necessary structural reforms; and improve coordination between Capitol Police, the Department of Justice, and local police in response to threats against Members and staff. I say this not only as a Member who has received multiple credible threats during my time in Congress, but as someone who has heard from Members on both sides of the aisle regarding the real safety concerns facing themselves and their families. The costs of inaction could be both tragic and catastrophic, as the members of this Committee know all too well." Read Congressman John Katko's (R-NY) full testimony here.