Authorizing the Committee on the Judiciary to Initiate or Intervene in Judicial Proceedings to Enforce Certain Subpoenas

Floor Speech

Date: June 11, 2019
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend on the Rules Committee for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the debate intently. I don't disagree with much of what my friend from Tennessee had to say. It is a bad habit that both parties have gotten into over the decades of my lifetime putting party above Article in terms of judicial oversight, executive branch oversight, and even our responsibilities here, such as declaring war.

But what you have not heard here today, Mr. Speaker, and what you will not hear is why the passage of this resolution advantages us in any way. There is not one piece of information that the Speaker of our House--our Speaker--just came and asked for that we are not empowered to request today.

The difference, Mr. Speaker, is if we pass this resolution, rather than the House requesting this information--as has historically been true--we would begin to request information one committee chairman at a time.

Does that advantage us in Article I, going to court one committee chairman at a time, or are we advantaged when the Speaker speaks on behalf of us all?

I don't know the answer, Mr. Speaker. I am not a legal scholar, and in the Rules Committee where we had original jurisdiction on this, we did not call any legal scholars to help us answer that question. In the Judiciary Committee they did not call any legal scholars to help to answer this question.

Mr. Speaker, I tell you there is not a Member of this institution on either side of the aisle who cares more about Article I and our exerting the responsibilities the Constitution gives to us and our constituents expect us to do than I do. Perhaps there is someone in here who cares as much, but there is no one who cares more.

Are we disadvantaging the institution for life by taking what has traditionally been the responsibility of our Speaker to do on behalf of all of us and putting it in the hands of committee chairmen?

We don't know, and anyone who tells you that they do isn't telling you the truth. We are going to continue to argue about the White House and what they have turned over and what they didn't turn over and what they ought to turn over, Mr. Speaker. That is not what this bill does today. There is not one piece of information that is requested that we do not have the authority to request today. Let's not move in ways that disadvantage us for generations to come.