Chairman Cole Remarks at Rules Committee 118th Congress Organizational Meeting

As prepared for delivery:

We are here for the adoption of the committee rules and other business related to the organization of the committee for the 118th Congress.

Before we begin today’s organizational meeting, I wanted to take a minute to welcome everyone to the Rules Committee. 

Many of our members have previously served on the committee, and I welcome you back. For the Majority, I welcome back Representatives Burgess, Reschenthaler and Fischbach, and for the Minority, I welcome back Ranking Member McGovern and Representatives Scanlon and Neguse. We will be joined this Congress by several new members beginning their service on the Rules Committee. For the Majority, I welcome Representatives Norman, Massie, Roy, Houchin, and Langworthy, and for the Minority, I welcome Representative Leger Fernandez.

To our new members in particular, we are happy to have you. I think you will find your service on the Rules Committee challenging, particularly during the longer meetings, but also deeply rewarding.

As you all know, the Rules Committee is the last stop before legislation moves to the floor. Unlike almost every other committee in the House, we rarely produce legislation covering our original jurisdiction. Instead, we set the rules for the House of Representatives and set the parameters for how the House as a whole will debate and consider items on the floor.

Upon his election, Speaker McCarthy committed himself to bringing a more open and inclusive process to the House of Representatives. I share that commitment. As Chair, I also intend for the Rules Committee to maintain the same collegiality that we traditionally enjoyed. 

As our returning members know, the Rules Committee, uniquely in the House, does not observe the five-minute rule. It has been a longstanding tradition in our hearings that members are allowed to speak for as long as they wish. We will maintain that tradition. All members will receive an open and fair opportunity to speak on the matters before us. We will ensure that all points of view are heard and considered, and all ideas receive a fair hearing. But I would ask of our members to always try to be respectful, both to other committee members and to our witnesses.

I want to extend a particular welcome back to our Ranking Member, Mr. McGovern, who served as this committee’s chair for the past four years. Those four years were deeply consequential and covered many events of historic importance. Through it all, you ensured that the Rules Committee operated in a collegial fashion, in a manner that ensured that all viewpoints could be heard during our discussions. You have my deepest appreciation for all you have done during your service as this committee’s chair, and I’m delighted that you will continue to serve with us as our ranking member.


Jan 30, 2023