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Rigell Urges Tying Continuing Resolution To A Return To Regular Order
Asks leadership to include 'Govern Before Going Home' provision in CR; would prohibit prolonged House recesses until Budget and Appropriations bills are passed
Washington, D.C. – Stressing the damage that governing under Continuing Resolutions (CRs) has had on our economy and military, Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-2) today urged House leadership to use the upcoming CR as an opportunity to return the House to regular order. In a letter to House Republican leadership, Rigell asked that language adapted from H. Con. Res. 9, the 'Govern Before Going Home' resolution, be added to the CR. This amendment to House Rules would prevent prolonged recesses unless all twelve appropriations bills are passed, eliminating the need for CRs.
“There is universal agreement that funding the federal government with Continuing Resolutions damages the economy and our nation’s military, yet they are now seen as acceptable if not inevitable,” Rigell wrote. “ … The CR is a perfect legislative vehicle to advance our shared goal of returning to regular order.”
“Linking the House calendar to passage of all twelve appropriations bills resonates deeply with our Conference and the American people,” added Rigell.
The legislative language, shown below, stipulates that the House of Representatives is prohibited from adjourning or entering “pro forma” session for more than five days (with exceptions made for national holidays and weekends) unless and until it has passed a budget and all twelve appropriations bills.
Rigell said absent substantive changes and assurances that the House was taking meaningful steps toward returning to regular order to prevent future CRs, he would not support the CR coming to the floor Friday. In Rigell’s view, including 'Govern Before Going Home' in the upcoming CR would force Congress to address the nation’s urgent fiscal problems instead of continually kicking the can down the road.
Rigell has been vocal about the need for the House to move away from its reliance on CRs as funding mechanisms, saying the stopgap measures fuel uncertainty for businesses and the military. Since July, he has been advocating for Congress to stay in session unless and until it finishes its appropriations work.
The text of the letter and a summary of the legislation is below. A scanned copy of the letter and the full legislative language is here.
September 18, 2013
The Honorable John Boehner
The Honorable Eric Cantor
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
The Honorable Cathy McMorris Rodgers
There is universal agreement that funding the federal government with Continuing Resolutions (CRs) damages the economy and our nation’s military, yet they are now seen as acceptable if not inevitable. I reject the pervasive, false premise that we are stuck with CRs. Though it represents an untraditional approach, I believe that the CR that will come to the floor on Friday is a perfect legislative vehicle to advance our shared goal of returning to regular order.
I propose and strongly urge you to incorporate the attached language into the CR. This language would amend current House Rules to prohibit the House of Representatives from adjourning or entering “pro forma” session for more than five days (with exceptions made for national holidays and weekends) unless and until it has passed: 1) a budget resolution, and 2) all twelve appropriations bills.
Linking the House calendar to passage of all twelve appropriations bills resonates deeply with our Conference and the American people. Yet we know that simply restating the importance of returning to regular order is not sufficient. A force of some type, wisely applied, is required. Including the language attached would be a meaningful step forward in changing this institution and returning to regular order.
Does the proposal break with House tradition? Absolutely!
I am unapologetic in calling for our Conference to take bold steps, including the one offered here, to demonstrate to the country that Republicans not only have the right ideas on how to improve Congress, but we also have the courage to follow through. The American people are not only ready for change, they rightly demand it.
Change is never easy, but the need for Congress to change has never been as clear as it is now. I respectfully submit that now is the time for you, as our leadership, to make your imprint on setting Congress on a better path.
Thank you for your consideration of my proposed modification to the CR, and for your service and leadership.
Yours in Freedom,
Summary of legislative language Rigell wants to be included with CR:
“Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to prohibit the House from adjourning or convening in a pro forma session for a period of more than 5 days during a fiscal year unless the House has adopted a concurrent resolution on the budget for such fiscal year and has approved each regular appropriations bill for the funding of the operations of the government for the entire fiscal year.”