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Congressman Andre Carson

Representing the 7th District of INDIANA


Congressman Carson Reacts to Republican Rules Package

Jan 4, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, the first day of the 115th Congress, the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a rules package by a vote of  234-193. The rules package includes provisions that could change or dismantle Medicare and Social Security as well as facilitate repeal the Affordable Care Act. Congressman André Carson voted against the package for the following reasons:

  •  The Sergeant at Arms will now be able to levy fines for the use of photography or video on the House floor. Members will have $500 for first offense or $2,500 for subsequent offenses deducted directly from their checks. This is a direct response to last year’s gun violence sit in, which gained public attention because of photos and videos sent out by members.
  • Floor Conduct – For the first time, “disorderly or disruptive conduct” can be referred to the Ethics Committee. These behaviors include blocking access to microphones and the well. This is another direct response to the sit-in that took place in June.
  • Deposition Authority – In the past, only a select few committees had the authority for staff to call private citizens for depositions as part of investigations. This rules package expands this authority to staffers on each committee. This drastically increases the Republican’s ability to expose innocent people to lengthy interrogations, which often amount to little more than intimidation and scare tactics.

  • Medicare and Social Security – The package includes language asking committees to cut mandatory spending. This means that committees will be required to look for ways to change and dismantle Medicare and Social Security guarantees.

  • Federal Employees – The package brings back the “Holman Rule,” removed in the 1980s, which allows appropriations bills to reduce the number of federal employees or reduce the salary of specific employees. This will specifically empower the targeting of certain career employees, such as those working at the EPA or on ACA implementation, who might be difficult to fire.

  • Affordable Care Act – House rules allow for a point of order to be raised against legislation that raises spending levels. This is waived for changes to the Affordable Care Act, since it is well known that repeal will increase federal spending. This will allow Republicans to attempt repeal with fewer Democratic obstructions.

  • Litigation – The package gives the Speaker of the House and committee chairs the authority to carry forward litigation started in past congresses. These lawsuits have been extremely expensive and lack real oversight by the House. This allows them to continue forward without additional consideration of whether they are necessary or desirable.

  • Floor Procedure – Republican leaders will now be able to delay votes on a procedural motion, known as the motion to recommit, which gives the Minority an opportunity to present legislative alternatives to bills under consideration. This delay will allow Republicans to avoid taking votes on Democratic priorities that they may lose.

  • Personal Office Records – Today’s package says that records created, generated or received by personal offices are the personal property of that member and not records of the House. This means that there will be no requirement to pass records, including pending casework cases, to incoming members. Republicans can also exploit this by storing information, such as committee records, in personal offices to avoid sharing them with the Minority.

“This is only the first day of the 115th Congress and already this Rules Package sets us on the wrong path. Rather than focusing on offering strong policies that the American people can support, Republican leadership is stacking the deck to ensure passage of their most unpopular proposals. If repealing the Affordable Care Act, dismantling Social Security and Medicare, and opposing sensible gun regulations are truly the will of the American people, then Republicans should not need these rules to suppress opposition,” said Congressman Carson. “The American people want a Congress that is on their side. While I am concerned about the direction of this Congress, I remain hopeful that House Republicans will abandon their pursuit of partisan legislation and instead focus on bipartisan opportunities to get things done.”