Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Congressman John Rose (R-TN-06) to the newsmaker line to discuss the new House rules in Congress and bills he’ll be proposing.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line, Congressman John Rose, who represents the 6th Congressional District in Tennessee. Good morning, Congressman Rose.
Rose: Good morning, Michael Patrick. Thanks for having me on The Tennessee Star Report this morning.
Leahy: We’re always happy to have you on. Well, finally, the 118th session of Congress has been organized. Do you have any committee assignments to tell us about?
Rose: I believe I will continue to serve on the House Financial Services Committee, where I’ve served since I arrived back in January 2019, and looking forward to that. I do hope and expect that I’ll get the chance to serve in some other capacities, though. The rule that we’ve traditionally followed is if you serve on one of the A committees, which are one of the top tier committees like financial services, that oftentimes is your only major assignment. But I think with us in the majority; I’ll get a chance to be on other committees as well.
Leahy: Crom Carmichael has a question for you, Congressman.
Carmichael: Congressman, now that all the dust is settled and whatnot, were there any good things that came out of it or any rules changes for the House that came out that you think will make this session a more productive session?
Rose: Absolutely. And a number of those rules changes were already kind of in the process of being incorporated. Many of the rules changes, I believe, are things that will make us be better, make the House work better, and satisfy the American people. Anyone who’s heard me speak over the last four years knows that I kind of decried the fact that very rarely do we have a real debate on the House floor.
Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic majority had effectively ended any opportunity for real debate and stifled kind of the few remaining avenues that were there. For example, the motion to recommit is something that the minority is able to offer, and we used to be able to at least talk about what our motion was.
This rule package includes some elements that are going to allow more of that real debate to happen. For example, we’re going to have, not unlike the Tennessee General Assembly, a calendar Wednesday when if you have a bill that’s made its way through regular order in the committee process, you can bring it to the floor under no rule and have an open debate.
I think folks are going to actually probably enjoy tuning in those who are at least junkies for this sort of thing and seeing that robust open debate. It will be a little messy at times because the other side will be able to take advantage of that to some degree as well. But I think that will be helpful.
In a number of these rules, requiring a 72 hours period before a bill is put to a vote, the Democrats had had a three-day rule, but they routinely overruled that. And so that’s when you get these huge omnibus bills, as we saw in December, that come, and you get a few hours in some cases.
A few years ago, we had less than 30 minutes to look at a multi-hundred billion dollar bill before we were required to vote on it. And so those changes, many others that have been added, again, many of those had been proceeding along and been discussed all the way back in November kind of before we got to this last confrontation that we had last week.
But lots of good things. And to their credit, I think some of the negotiators of the 20 that were holdouts, there were not many that were actually participating in advancing the process, but there are a few, and so there is some good that will come of that in terms of improving the way the House works.
Carmichael: One other question along those lines, and it might have been something, as you say, that was in the works anyway. I’m not going to express this very well, so you can correct me. But something about when a bill is presented, it needs to be a single-issue bill or something like that and you can’t add amendments that are off-topic. Did I come close to expressing that?
Rose: Yes, I’ve heard that expressed in various ways. So you’re right on track with the way you’re saying it. So having a single issue, and there’s a little bit of discussion still because some of the things that we routinely take up are very broad.
Certainly, appropriations bills, even the ones that are in keeping with the budget act that guides our process. They cover a wide range of topics, but generally speaking, the rule package provides now that bills are going to have to be a single issue and any amendments offered are going to have to be germane to the bill. Which is, I guess, a fancier word for saying they’ve got to be relevant or applied narrowly to what is being discussed.
If I have a bill on stopping federal access to our private financial information, you can’t offer an amendment that says we’re going to take your guns away. That’s the idea. And that is actually true in most legislatures.
In fact, many state constitutions, have those kinds of restrictions included. As any student of our constitution knows, that germane requirement is something that didn’t get into our constitution. Some people argue it should be added by statute.
Leahy: Congressman Rose, do you have any legislation that you are personally going to introduce that you want to get passed in this session of Congress?
Rose: I do. And most of the bills, at least here early, that I’m going to introduce are things that we had up in the last Congress. So I have a bill that I introduced late last Congress that will carve back some of the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act that was first put in place back in the 1970s and strengthened significantly after 9-11.
And what it does is it basically says if the federal government wants to see Michael Patrick Leahy’s private financial information, then they have to make a showing of probable cause and get a warrant to do that, as opposed to the current system where the banks are actually collecting a lot of our financial information and disclosing it to the federal government.
And I think that’s an enactment to what the founders envisioned in terms of privacy of our personal information, in this case, financial information. The bill I’ll be introducing does that.
I also have a bill, and this issue will be coming up in a number of ways, but I have a bill that would provide a reward for information, leaving the leading to the discovery of the origins of COVID-19.
Leahy: And I think that’s a great bill. Both of them sound great.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “John Rose” by John Rose.