Friday, November 12, 2010

Cleaning House

By Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
6th Congressional District

In recent years, Congress has disappointed the American people. It has enacted policies without providing sufficient advance notice and transparency to the people. It has forgotten that the money Washington spends is not government money but rather the hard-earned money of the taxpayers. It has also expanded the finite authority the U.S. Constitution grants to the federal government into seemingly infinite authority and blurred the distinction between the public and private sectors and the federal and state governments. The federal government has simply grown too big and too powerful.

These are just some of the reasons why our citizens have lost confidence in many of our elected leaders in Washington. Last week House Republicans renewed our commitment to the people and the fundamental principles that make our country great by announcing the formation of the Republican Majority Transition Team. The goal of this Transition Team, on which I serve as a Team Leader, is to review all House procedures and work to implement the Congressional reforms included in the House Republicans’ Pledge to America. In order to rein in the unprecedented levels of government spending that have only exacerbated our current economic woes, we must begin by getting our own House in order, ensuring the Congress runs as openly and efficiently as possible.

We want the House of Representatives to be more accountable to the people and open to public scrutiny. Therefore, the Republican Majority Transition Team will work to implement a requirement that legislation be available online for 3 days before a vote so that members of Congress and the American people can read the bill. We will also require that all bills include a citation of constitutional authority so that Congress respects the limits imposed on it by our founding document. Changes to House rules will make it harder to increase spending and easier to cut it so that we begin a new era of fiscal responsibility in Washington and end the practice of passing "comprehensive" or "omnibus" bills that package unrelated legislation together in an effort to avoid public scrutiny. In fact, Republicans have already started making changes, such as moving to install public cameras in the powerful Rules Committee, which decides which bills and amendments come to the floor for a vote.

In addition to serving on the Republican Majority Transition Team, I have been named the Team Leader for the House Operations Working Group. We will have oversight over all House operations including many House support organizations such as the Library of Congress, the House Clerk’s office, Capitol Police and the Congressional Budget Office. We will work to put in place new guiding principles for these groups, with the overarching goals of transparency, accountability and cost savings.

The American people are demanding accountability and results and that is what House Republicans are offering. We have pledged to run the House differently than it has been run by both Democrats and Republicans in the past. House Republicans will work to ensure that the people’s House is transparent and open to help build the trust so vital in a democracy.

To contact me about this or any other matter, please visit my website at To submit ideas for how Congress can work better for all Americans please visit

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