Davis to House Democrats: Stop Trying to Score Political Points, Help Us Protect This Capitol Instead

Oct 21, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today spoke on the House Floor urging House Democrats to stop trying to score political points with votes on political subpoenas and instead, work with Republicans to help protect this Capitol. House Democrats have failed to act on multiple reports with recommendations on changes needed to improve the security posture at the Capitol. 

 

CLICK HERE or the video above to watch.
Text of Davis' floor remarks:

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Thank you, to my friend and colleague from Indiana, Mr. Banks.

I can tell you when I got elected to serve in this body, almost nine years ago, I didn't expect to be standing here today to talk about such an important issue.

I spent 16 years as a congressional staffer working for a member of Congress who I looked up to and who respected this institution for what it was and what it meant to our country and when I came to Congress to serve with him, I had that utmost respect for this institution at the same time.

That's why I wanted to be part of the House Administration Committee, because I wanted to make this Congress and this House work better and in a much more bipartisan manner and to make sure that we protect those who are on this campus, but also at the same time protect those who protect us.

And Madam Speaker, we are now months and months in, months and months post January 6th, my many conversations with the US Capitol Police officers and those who work on this campus and they have the same concerns I have. The question they ask is, why were we so unprotected on January 6th? And what has changed since then?

Getting to the bottom of those questions should be the top priority for all of us in this house. There are serious security vulnerabilities that have not been addressed by this house in 11 months after January 6th and this is what the majority has decided to spend its time on, holding a private citizen who wasn't even part of the administration at the time in contempt for refusing to comply with House Democrats’ subpoena.

This is after more than 600 people have been arrested for their role in the tragedies we saw on January 6th and when I get the article, I would like to submit for the record, Madam Speaker. It’s a Reuters article that talks about senior officials stating at the FBI that there was no organized effort to overthrow the government on January 6th. So I will submit it once I get a copy of that, I did not bring it with me.

Our job, again, is to secure this Capitol. We have never seen a breach like the one that we saw that day and it is our responsibility to make sure it doesn't happen again, but that has not been done under the leadership of this House.

We've had two independent reports regarding January 6th, one bipartisan report in the Senate and another one commissioned by the speaker herself. That came out March. These have never been acted on, but this is what the select committee has been working on?

The Capitol Police IG has released seven reports related to January 6th, making recommendations on what is needed to secure this Capitol. To my disappointment, the majority has not acted in a meaningful way to ensure all 103 IG findings are implemented. These reports have all told us what the problems are and the recommendations on how to fix them, but Congress – us – have failed to even debate these changes, let alone act on them.

We know massive changes to intel, perimeter protection, training, leadership structure, decision making processes and many, many more needed, but neither the select committee, nor the Committee on House administration seem at all interested in ensuring these changes are made.

The Committee on House Administration, which has oversight of security, has not held a single hearing since August 5th with no upcoming hearings scheduled, according to the majority's website. And the select committee, right now, as we see, is just purely focused on political subpoenas.

And without objection, I would like to introduce these articles into the record, Madam Speaker?

[Speaker: Without objection, so ordered.]

Thank you.

Additionally, a number of questions from that day still remain unanswered. I’m still waiting for the Speaker of the House to answer a letter I sent her back in February that asked why the National Guard request by then police chief, Chief Sund, were denied and why was the Speaker's office and the Speaker involved in eventually approving the request, why the House sergeant at arms has refused to comply with preservation and production requests from my office and we have many, many more questions about why the Capitol so unprepared that day.

Our top priority should be ensuring our Capitol is never as vulnerable as it was on January 6th, but this majority has done absolutely nothing to make the security changes needed to make this Capitol safer.

Madam Speaker, we must do better.

We have not fixed the institutional problems with our security apparatus that led to the lack of preparation – the danger that our brave officers were put in on that day and any other possible day like that in the future. That's a failure of leadership in this institution.

We must fix the problems that led to the terrible security posture here. And I will tell you, after witnessing what we saw a few different days and security postures that this house was put into a couple of other days since January 6th, I urge you to talk to the brave officers that stand around these buildings and protect all of us every day, ask them the same question I do: ask them if we have put them in a better position than they were in on January 5th? And the answer out of every single officer I ask that question, too, is no.

What is stopping this house from fixing the problems? It’s a lack of will. It’s a lack of focusing on the true issues that led for them to be put in a dangerous spot on January6. Instead, we're talking politics. It’s wrong. And we must do better.

I have said time and time again, and I stand willing to work with my Democratic colleagues to make this house, this Capitol, safer for everyone. Instead, it's all about political points, like the one being scored today. I’m disappointed, you can tell my frustration is going to continue to boil over until we are in a position to fix the problems that I've laid out and that we know exist.

I yield back.
 
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117th Congress