During the past few weeks and recent days, the House Republican Conference has experienced a ripple of change in our congressional leadership, causing us to refocus the future of our party. In assessing a resolution to this situation, the answer is not merely to rearrange the faces of our leadership and expect that our problems will be solved. In fact, the answer is quite the contrary. Because there is a clamor across our nation for strong, conservative leadership, we need a fresh start, not just fresh faces.
We need to restore a legislative process where all members are included, where legislative ideas are debated and considered well in advance of deadlines, and where the American public can witness government in deliberation, not deadlock. In other words, we need to exercise what our Founding Fathers gave us: regular order.
For years, crisis-to-crisis governing by this Congress has become the norm. The American people are rightfully fed up, watching legislative cliffs come and go and action on important matters taking place at the last minute. Members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, are frustrated with not having their ideas heard, and without having a vision of leadership, that frustration will continue. Our conference has deviated from governing in an orderly system whereby bills progress through committees in a defined and consistent manner. Instead, we constantly legislate in panic, dividing our conference and country even more. There is no reason to continue ignoring legislation that enjoys majority support.
We need to return to regular order procedures so members are more aware of and included in the legislative process. Returning to regular order will allow members the ability to carefully vet, amend, and strengthen legislation throughout the entire process. Most importantly, regular order respects the will of the House and provides members more opportunities for their districts and states. The House of Representatives cannot control the priorities of the Senate or the president, but we can control ours and ensure they are in line with the will of the American people.
As Republicans who were elected to change the way Washington operates, we were also elected to advance strong conservative legislation that empowers the American people to thrive, instills fiscally-responsible values, and promotes longstanding traditions and freedoms granted to us by our Constitution. However, if these principles are never allowed to be heard in the legislative process, what good are such principles?
It is time to advance conservative priorities in a positive way by passing legislation that forces the president to either sign bills into law or explain to the American people why he vetoed them.
Although a number of internal disagreements took place last week, I have faith House Republicans will emerge a more unified conservative party. Out of this confusion will come something good. I have no doubt vision, inclusivity and leadership will prevail. To achieve this, however, we must return to regular order and a more inclusive form of governing and legislative business.
I pray God continues to watch over and bless our great nation as Congress embarks on a more cohesive and regulatory process that better represents the American people.
First elected to Congress in 2010, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., is part of the congressional leadership as senior deputy majority whip.