Tuesday 10 January 2023

Republican Denies Secret ‘Addendum’ To House Rules

 A House Republican denied the existence of a secret “addendum” to the rules package that will govern the lower chamber for the next two years.

Ahead of a vote expected Monday evening, Rep. French Hill (R-AR) spoke briefly on the House floor to address reports about there being three pages of added provisions not visible to the public, which led to Democrats raising concerns about transparency.

“There is no addendum to this package … There’s no three-page addendum. There’s no extra stuff. Everything in the House rules package is posted on the House website,” Hill said.

Earlier in the day, PunchBowl News reported House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and his allies negotiated a “secret three-page addendum” with the House Freedom Caucus to gain the support of its members. “This pact includes the most controversial concessions McCarthy made in order to become speaker – three seats on the Rules Committee for conservatives, freezing spending at FY2022 levels, a debt-ceiling strategy, coveted committee assignments and more,” the report said.

The Wall Street Journal cited two people familiar with negotiations who “said that any agreement Mr. McCarthy made with his onetime detractors wouldn’t be released in writing ahead of the rules vote, and maybe not ever.”

Some Democratic members of Congress took to Twitter to raise awareness of the reporting.

“There is a secret three page addendum to the House Rules that secured the support of the wackiest members of the House and the American public deserves to know what’s in it,” tweeted Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI).

Despite the denial by Hill, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), a Steering Committee member, reportedly told Axios his office was “taking a look at” the addendum. Calvert also said he did not not know if every member had received a copy.

A 55-page document is available to read on the internet outlining the rules for the 118th Congress after securing a slim majority in the 2022 midterm elections.

With Democrats expected to vote in a bloc against it, Republican leaders can only afford to lose a couple votes. Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-TX) said he is against it, while Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) changed from being “on the fence” to saying she will vote “yes” on it.

Hill, who was one of the GOP members trying to rally support behind McCarthy last week, insisted the only addition made during negotiations was in regard to the motion to vacate the chair, making it so only one member is needed to call for a no-confidence vote in the speaker.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), who spoke immediately after Hill, rejected his denial. “I know it exists. It’ll come out sooner or later,” he said, adding, “It would be nice if there was a little more transparency and openness from the other side.”

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