Welch Statement on House Speaker Vote
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) issued the following statement concerning his vote for Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 116th Congress:
“Earlier this month, the American people voted overwhelmingly to entrust Democrats with the responsibility of governing the House of Representatives. After eight years of Republican rule, the institution is broken, dysfunctional, and incapable of solving the many challenges facing our country.
Under Republican leadership, major legislation from tax reform to health care was too often written by lobbyists behind closed doors in the Speaker’s office. Committees were denied the right to hold public hearings, and members were given no time to read bills—let alone amend them.
Last year, in the Energy and Commerce Committee on which I serve, the majority’s comprehensive health care reform bill would have drastically changed the way health care is delivered in this country had it become law. Yet it was written in secret and rammed through the committee during an all-night marathon meeting and with no public hearings.
This hijacking and perversion of the legislative process cannot stand if we are to deliver real results for the American people. In my conversations with each of my colleagues seeking leadership positions within our Caucus, I have made clear that it matters more to me how we are led than who leads us. If we take seriously our commitment to cutting the cost of prescription drugs, investing in our infrastructure, and tackling climate change, our leaders must first commit to reforming the way Congress does business.
This afternoon, I will vote for Nancy Pelosi to be our next speaker because she has personally committed to me that she will reform the legislative process, make it more transparent, and allow the diverse ideas of all members to be considered. Specifically, she shares my view that committees must be empowered to do the hard and important work of writing legislation in the light of day and ideally in a bipartisan fashion.
Leader Pelosi is an extraordinary and historic leader whose legendary legislative skills are well-matched to these tumultuous times. I am confident that she will work with all of us to restore the effectiveness of this institution and deliver real results for the American people.”