Rep. Tom Cole: Nancy Pelosi’s House Rules ‘A Blatant and Cowardly Assault,’ ‘Dark Day’ for Free Debate

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to reporters during her weekly press conference at the US Capitol on August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Representative and ranking member of the House Rules Committee Tom Cole (R-OK) issued a statement in response to the Nancy Pelosi’s proposed House Rules for the 117th Congress — including the elimination of gendered terms, such as “father, mother, son, and daughter” — calling the package “a blatant and cowardly assault on the voices and views of the Republican minority,” as well as “a dark day for the preservation of free and thoughtful debate.”

“I am very disappointed by the proposed House Rules for the 117th Congress put forward by the Democratic majority,” said Rep. Cole in a statement responding to the rules for the 117th Congress, which were unveiled on Friday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA).

“This package is a blatant and cowardly assault on the voices and views of the Republican minority, which represents a growing number of seats in the House following the general election in November,” Cole continued.

“Alarmingly, the package includes eliminating the longstanding motion to recommit in its current form and censoring opposing ideas,” the congressman added. “Clearly, this proves that Democrats are afraid of Republican ideas, and they cannot effectively defend their own points of view.”

Cole went on to say that such proposals confirm that “Pelosi knows she is unable to rally and effectively lead her own slimmed down caucus.”

“Rather than unify her own members, her solution is to punish and silence Republicans by overturning now-inconvenient precedents and traditions of the House,” said Cole, adding:

In addition to limiting procedural tools historically available to the minority party in Congress for more than a century, I am very disturbed that the package attacks the right to free speech by creating an ethics violation for members and employees of the House who post or share things that others think are unfounded or inappropriate.

Such a rule is rife with the possibility of abuse and likely to be enforced in a way that creates a double standard between the majority and minority. This is a dark day for the preservation of free and thoughtful debate in the institution and indeed, all members elected by the people and for the people.

On Friday, Pelosi and McGovern unveiled the rules for the 117th Congress, which contain “future-focused” proposals, including the elimination of gendered terms, such as “father, mother, son, and daughter.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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