A picture of Representative James P. McGovern
James M.
Democrat MA 2

About Rep. James
  • Rules of the House

    by Representative James P. McGovern

    Posted on 2013-01-03

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    McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I want to thank the ranking member for the time and for her extraordinary leadership. I also want to congratulate the incoming chairman, Mr. Sessions. I am hopeful that the 113th Congress will be more productive, collaborative, and civil than the 112th. I'm not particularly optimistic, but I'm always hopeful-- hopeful that we can return to some semblance of regular order with committees doing their work, bills coming to the floor under an open amendment process, and Members having the opportunity to reflect the will of their constituents.

    At the very least, I hope that the outrageous, partisan and closed process we saw during the fiscal cliff crisis is not repeated. That is no way to legislate, and it's no wonder after that bit of theater that the American people have so little regard for Congress.

    One of the best ways that we can help the country is to improve the way we conduct our elections because bad elections lead to bad lawmaking. If 2012 taught us anything, it's that we desperately need campaign finance reform.

    If the previous question is defeated on this rule, Democrats will amend the resolution to give the House a vote on a constitutional amendment to control the corrupting influence of money in politics. The Supreme Court's terrible decision in the Citizens United case opened the flood gates, and our election system is now awash in a sea of millions of dollars of unregulated money, drowning out the voices of individual citizens. Politicians are increasingly beholden to wealthy special interests. A multinational oil company that doesn't like a particular Member of Congress can now simply write a big check-- undisclosed check--to Americans for Apple Pie and Puppies and watch the negative advertising work their magic.

    There are a variety of ways to tackle this problem. In the last Congress, I introduced the people's rights amendment which would overturn Citizens United and put a stop to the corporate personhood nonsense that it represents. Despite what Governor Romney said on the campaign trail, corporations are not people and they do not deserve the same constitutional rights as American citizens. Other Members will have other ideas. But at the very least, we need to have this debate, and I urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question.

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