Metro Weekly

House Democrats introduce rules package touting gender-neutral language, inclusion efforts

Democrats push various reforms regarding ethics and prioritizing legislation to address social inequalities

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern introduces the new package of Democratic-favored rules promoting inclusion – Photo: C-SPAN.

House Democrats have introduced a new rules package for the newly sworn-in 117th Congress that attempts to promote inclusion, including with respect to the LGBTQ community.

The rules, which were crafted by the House Committee on Rules and debated by the members on Monday afternoon before ultimately being approved, were touted as including new ethics reforms, “accountability measures,” and promoting greater inclusion. 

Among the inclusionary measures being pushed by the Rules Committee, with the blessing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), are the creation of a Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth; a requirement that standing committees explain how the legislation that they are working on will help address existing inequalities; and ensuring that witness panels at committee hearings are sufficiently diverse, in order to gain perspective on how legislation is viewed by and will affect various communities.

Another provision of the rules package seeks to honor all gender identities by providing that all language in House rules will be gender-neutral.

Some of the ethics-related provisions in the rules package remove privileges from former members convicted of crimes related to their House service or election; prohibit members from attempting to disclose the identity of a whistleblower; make it a violation of the Code of Official Conduct if a member of the House shares or disseminates “deepfakes,” or manipulated media, including photos and videos intended to lie to or mislead the public; and continuing the ban on registered lobbyists accessing spaces solely reserved for members of Congress, such as exercise facilities.

“As House Speaker, I am pleased to join [Rules] Chairman Jim McGovern in introducing this visionary rules package, which reflects the views and values of the full range of our historically diverse House Democratic Majority,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“Thanks to the leadership of Chairman McGovern and our Members, Democrats have crafted a package of unprecedented, bold reforms, which will make the House more accountable, transparent and effective in our work to meet the needs of the American people,” Pelosi added. “These future-focused proposals reflect our priorities as a Caucus and as a Country — including crushing the coronavirus, addressing economic disparity, combating the climate crisis, advancing inclusion, and promoting integrity in government.”

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