The Fight for Speaker: 20 Members of Congress to Withhold Vote Unless Rule Changes Agreed To

Sep 27, 2018

WASHINGTON – Today, Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus announced they have secured 20 commitments from Members of Congress to only vote for a Speaker of the House who will support House Rules reforms to “Break the Gridlock” in Washington.

“With a slim majority expected on either side of the aisle next Congress, a block of 20 Members will have a tremendous say over who will get to 218 on the House floor and secure the gavel for Speaker in January,” Republican Problem Solvers Co-Chair Tom Reed said. “Congress is broken and my colleagues understand this – which is why we are gaining more and more interest and support every day.”

“The Problem Solvers Caucus has had enough of the gridlock and we’re prepared to buck the status quo and pass common sense legislation on everything from infrastructure to immigration,” Democrat Problem Solvers Co-Chair Congressman Josh Gottheimer said. “I’m proud of every Member standing for Break the Gridlock reforms so we can vote on bipartisan ideas for the good of the American people.”

Rep. Carlos Curbelo said “We’re at a critical point in our country’s politics, and I’m proud to stand with colleagues from both parties to make Congress and its leaders work more effectively for the American people. I truly believe the greatest challenges of our time require bipartisan solutions. We need House rules that encourage cooperation across the aisle and empower Members of the House to seek compromise and adequately represent all their constituents. I look forward to supporting a candidate for Speaker who believes in that vision as well.”

Rep. Jim Costa said: “Americans sent us to Congress to find real solutions to the challenges facing our nation, not to play partisan politics. We must break the gridlock in Congress so we can give the American people the good governance and bipartisan solutions they want, need, and deserve.”

Rep. Dan Lipinski said: “Our Constitution empowered the American people by empowering Congress and their representatives, but congressional rules are now rigged in a way that greatly diminishes our ability to represent our constituents.  This has resulted in a Congress that doesn’t work and is frozen in partisan gridlock, allowing the president and the courts to grab the power that is supposed to be held by the American people.  I will support a Speaker candidate who agrees to needed rules changes in the 116th Congress to restore the power of the American people, break partisan gridlock, and facilitate congressional problem solving that will help us build a better America for future generations.”

Rep. Mike Coffman said: “There is too much power, in too few hands, with too little getting done for the American people. I will stand up to the leadership of both parties by not voting for the next House Speaker until there is a firm commitment to adopt the ‘Break the Gridlock’ reforms”

Rep. Kurt Schrader said:  “This group here today wants to democratize the processes in the House and get Congress back to legislating. There is a huge desire by the rank-and-file to work across the aisle on solutions to the problems our communities are facing back at home. To be able to do that, we need good leadership. And to have good leadership, we need a Speaker who is Speaker of the whole House, not someone who’s only representing a small fraction that has a chokehold over everyone else. We need leadership who is willing to amend the way we operate here in the House to turn the wheel back and put us on a path to finding yeses.  At the very least, Members should be able to get a markup on their bill in committee or a vote on their bill with a supermajority of co-sponsors. I mean, c’mon man, how hard is that?”

Rep. Mike Gallagher said: “It’s obvious that Congress is broken and has become a stage for political theater rather than a serious legislative body. Regardless what happens this November, I will only support a Speaker who has a clear plan to break the gridlock and fix this institution.”

Rep. Thomas Suozzi said: “When I came to Congress I was happily surprised by the incredible talent, but I was unhappily surprised by the current rules that stifle bipartisanship solutions to get things done. This proposal will help to break the gridlock and demonstrate to the American people that there’s people on both sides willing to come together to solve national issues of significance.”

Rep. Fred Upton said: “I am all in to end the dysfunction in the House. My vote for the next Speaker will be dependent on their agreement for the common-sense reforms we’ve outlined through the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.”

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez said: ““The voices of residents in the 15th District of Texas deserve to be heard. This starts with Leadership that is willing to embrace bipartisanship and abandon Rules that favor the few. Our next Speaker should support Problem Solvers efforts to break the gridlock and return power to the people. The Speaker of the House should govern the entire House, not appease partisan favorability. I support my fellow Problem Solvers Caucus members seeking to break the gridlock and truly work for Americans. Together, we can bridge the gap and get back to work for the American people.”

The package includes — among others — proposals to give fast-track priority consideration to bipartisan legislation and guarantees markups on bipartisan legislation from every Member of Congress.

To encourage consensus driven governing, the package would also replace the current “Motion to Vacate the Chair” to prevent the floor from being hijacked by extremists.

The “Break the Gridlock” House Rules changes reward openness and transparency, encourage a willingness to reach across the aisle, create debate on divisive issues, and empower lawmakers to find real solutions concerning our nation’s most pressing matters.

The 20 members of Congress to only vote for a Speaker of the House who will support House Rules reforms to “Break the Gridlock” in Washington include:

  1. Tom Reed (R-NY-23)
  2. Fred Upton (R-MI-6)
  3. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA-11)
  4. John Katko (R-NY-24)
  5. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26)
  6. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1)
  7. Mike Gallagher (R-WI-8)
  8. Mike Coffman (R-CO-6)
  9. Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7)
  10. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH-14)
  11. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5)
  12. Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5)
  13. Jim Costa (D-CA-16)
  14. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-1)
  15. Tom Suozzi (D-NY-3)
  16. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24)
  17. Dan Lipinski (D-IL-3) 
  18. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL-7)  
  19. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15)
  20. Darren Soto (D-FL-9)

The full list of goals and proposals in “Break the Gridlock” can be found HERE.

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