Congressman Steve King

Representing the 4th District of Iowa

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The Heritage Foundation, Daily Signal: What We Need in Our Next Speaker of the House

Sep 30, 2015
Column

The House of Representatives will decide the destiny of the Republican Party and the nation when we select a new speaker.

As the people’s House, it is our duty to be the voice of the American people, and in the last few years, the voters have not been heard. Our next speaker needs to offer a bold vision that inspires our conference as well as the American people we represent.

We will not find that speaker in a rushed process lacking full and open dialogue. A leader will mirror the process by which he or she is selected, and this country needs someone to open the House back up to the people it serves.

This country faces multiple constitutional crises caused by a lawless president who claims the power to ignore immigration laws, ratify treaties, write environmental legislation, and rewrite health care laws.

Too often in the face of these executive usurpations, Congress has failed to use its legitimate powers vested in Article I to check the president.

The power of Congress and the people is rapidly receding as the president, the vast administrative state, and the judiciary all claim legislative authority for themselves.

Our Article I constitutional authority has been sacrificed for too long.

In the face of these cracks in the constitutional foundation of the country, Congress still has the power of the purse and impeachment. However, Republican leadership has emphatically declared that these tools cannot be used. This unilateral disarmament has paralyzed Congress and emboldened lawlessness.

In this context, it is no wonder that polling for Congress is at historic lows. The people are looking to those they elect to actually use the tools at their disposal to restore constitutional checks and balances.

Candidates for speaker must tell members and the public how they plan to rebuild the House and restore Congress as an effective check on the executive and the judiciary. Also, we need to hear their stance on how the House will be run.

Each member is elected to serve his or her constituents, and no member’s constituents deserve more representation than any others. We need a House of Representatives where voting one’s conscience is applauded instead of punished. And legislation should pass or fail on the floor of Congress on its merits instead of being blocked in backroom deals because of personal politics.

Before the House elects a new speaker, we must repair and remodel.

Will the next speaker fight to defund Planned Parenthood, undo the Iran deal, or remove all of the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty actions, along with Obamacare?

We cannot afford to wait to ask these questions of an already elected speaker.

Since there is no rush to elect a speaker, Congress can use this as a golden opportunity to restore confidence in the institution.

An open dialogue and deliberate process will only strengthen the position of our speaker, which is ultimately good for everyone.

Our country must have a strategy that will prevail. We as a body must stand firm on the Constitution, on the ideals of the people we serve, and elect a leader who carries out the will of the House and not just rules with an iron fist.

Each voice should be heard. We must restore the power of “We the People” in the House once again.

Let this election process for the speakership and succeeding leadership positions be the first step in once again running this House the way it was intended—not the voice of one, but the inclusion of all.

I look forward to a fresh and new beginning.

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