Washington, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) issued the following statement on the partisan proxy-voting proposal put forth by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“These are unprecedented times, and unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. But using these times to smash a wrecking ball into the foundation of democratic lawmaking by making government more remote and isolated from the American people, by dramatically centralizing even more power with those few at the top in the Majority, while giving the reins of the House to fewer than 25 Members who show up to vote with proxies, seems like a return to Boss Politics. The Speaker’s ‘excitement’ at destroying 231 years of our country’s democratic precedents in order to enact her radical agenda is dangerous and truly appalling.
“As Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I am concerned how this proposal will impact our committees. We must preserve the rights of all Members – both sides of the dias, from top to bottom – as we work together on finding solutions for the American people. No one seriously thinks that remote hearings, with technological difficulties, will be improved by these changes. I hope our Democrat colleagues will work with us to come up with a bipartisan way to show up, get back to work, and keep ourselves safe and healthy during this time,” Walden said.
Before the vote, Walden spoke on the House floor opposing this package.
This week, Walden joined fellow House Committee Republican Leaders in a letter to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) opposing this plan that proposes partisan changes for remote and virtual committee operations.
Last month, Walden asked Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) to lead an informal group of Energy and Commerce Republicans in discussions around the next steps in conducting Energy and Commerce Committee business. Members participating in these discussions include: Health Subcommittee Republican Leader Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), and Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA).
The members have held a series of calls on topics including: protecting the rights of the minority and individual members in any changes to regular committee business, best practices to protect members and staff as the committee resumes business, and ways to conduct critical oversight through alternate hearing models and also in lieu of formal hearings. Over the last several weeks, the Energy and Commerce Committee has held a series of bipartisan calls with key administration officials about their ongoing efforts to respond to COVID-19.