Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to Testify at Remote Voting Hearing

Jul 15, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today announced that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will be the Republican witness at Friday’s hearing examining remote voting in the House. Gingrich will provide an historical perspective on changing voting rules in the House and how they compare to the challenges facing the U.S. House of Representatives.
Davis and Gingrich will focus on the lasting impact remote voting could have on the institution. Below are excerpts from prepared remarks they are expected to deliver at Friday’s hearing.
“What I am concerned about is that the House seems to be in a very reactionary posture, with sweeping changes being made with little consideration around longer-term impacts. We have already seen numerous hearings and markups disrupted by technical difficulties resulting in the nature of those proceedings changing; fewer stand-alone amendments being made-in-order for Floor consideration; increased usage of en bloc amendment packages at committee meetings and on the Floor; and dozens of examples of members from both parties not following the prescribed regulations for H.Res. 965 with no consequences. No one can say with a straight face that these trends are a good thing or that the quality of the deliberative process that is a hallmark of the House hasn’t been sacrificed.”

"There have been moments of strong Speakers in our history. In each case, when they grew too strong, the legislative body as a group confronted them and forced change (the joint progressive Republican-Democrat coalition that broke Speaker Joseph Cannon’s power in 1910 is the classic example).

"If every member of Congress is back at home, the Speaker and his or her staff will have virtually unlimited ability to shape the legislation they want, make the deals with the Senate and the President they want, and become virtually unchallengeable. The defense of freedom which the Founding Fathers had made the most important mission of the legislative branch would be destroyed by this single development.

"A dictatorial Speaker is potentially just as destructive and dangerous as a dictatorial President. This challenge is not personality-dependent, and it is not particularly aimed at the current Speaker. Lord John Acton warned us over a century ago that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The hearing titled “Exploring the Feasibility and Security of Technology to Conduct Remote Voting in the House” will take place Friday, July 17, 2020 at 1:00pm ET. CLICK HERE to watch.

116th Congress