Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, issued a statement after Democrats surpassed one year of conducting business in the U.S. House of Representatives by martial law.
Since May 14, 2020, Democrats on the House Rules Committee have routinely reported rules that waive Clause 6(a) of House Rule XIII, which states, "a report by the Committee on Rules on a rule, joint rule, or the order of business may not be called up for consideration on the same day it is presented to the House." This continuous cycle of waivers gives Democrats the authority to bring up anything for consideration at a moment’s notice, whether the legislation relates to the pandemic emergency or not.
"In the early months of the coronavirus pandemic with its mysteries and unknowns in terms of emergency response, Republicans and Democrats alike could see the need for flexibility and having the ability to move quickly on legislation to help the American people. However, the situation has changed drastically since then – both in the halls of Congress and in communities across the nation. This calls into question the necessity of Speaker Pelosi’s martial law continuing with no end in sight," said Rules Ranking Member Cole.
"In the more than 365 days since Democrats’ instituted their martial law, nearly 60 percent of adults have reached full or at least partial vaccination. Moreover, all members and most congressional staff have had the opportunity to get vaccinated. Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that mask-wearing and social distancing is no longer needed for fully vaccinated Americans in most settings.
"Considering that Democrats were highly critical of Republican majorities allowing same-day authority for only a few days at a time and in select circumstances few and far between, it is both hypocritical and completely unnecessary for the Democratic majority to allow Speaker Pelosi such authority indefinitely. Indeed, it is a disservice to the minority party, all rank-and-file members and the institution of the House itself."
In addition to martial law, Speaker Pelosi and Democrats have kept the House on lockdown by:
- Continuing to allow proxy voting and relying on remote committee hearings
- Refusing to allow resolutions of inquiry to proceed
- Avoiding recorded votes by packaging amendments en bloc to ensure a predetermined outcome.