“Neither the members nor the people are satisfied with how things are going. We need to
make some changes, starting with how the House does business… At this point, nothing
could be more inspiring than a job well done. Nothing could stir the heart more than
real, concrete results.” —Speaker Ryan, October, 29, 2015
We have turned the page and begun a new chapter of our majority. Speaker Ryan has laid
out a bold vision and emphasized the need for inclusion and regular order. I want to lay
out what I believe is the Whip team’s role in implementing Speaker Ryan's vision and our
responsibilities to contribute text to this exciting chapter.
I believe Speaker Ryan is asking for more from each of us. He is asking us as individual
Members to roll up our sleeves and become better legislative entrepreneurs. And he is
asking us to work better and harder as team members—at the Committees, the specific
caucuses, our state delegations, and the Conference as a whole.
And now I am asking the Whip team to adapt to this new, more inclusive environment. I
want the Whip team to be integral in:
· Making regular order a sustainable operating model
· Generating ideas and solutions from the bottom up
· Bolstering the work of Committees throughout the legislative process
· Communicating our House GOP vision
House Republicans are the most powerful force for limited government, strong national
defense and economic opportunity that exists in America today. But it is not enough to
just talk about conservative values. We need to pass conservative policy. And we can
only advance our values when we are united. Without 218 votes we have limited
influence. And it is the primary responsibility of the Whip team to build 218 votes to
advance those policies.
The Whip team is the strongest and most diverse organization in our Conference that
reaches into every committee, region and issue of the GOP Conference as whole. As we
open the process and allow more amendments and more committee-produced bills to
come to the floor, the pace will increase—and along with it so will the workload of the
The Whip operation will be critical to the success of this new era of our majority. We will
continue to develop mechanisms, products and platforms that assist in educating on the
policy, purpose and process of legislation moving to the House floor. I ask that each of
you share with me your ideas on how best to make this happen.
Hope Yes? Then Vote Yes!
I am optimistic that with greater inclusiveness and a more open Floor process, the House
can produce legislation that generates broader support from our Conference when we get
to final passage.
But, let’s be honest. Not every bill we are asked to vote on will be perfect and there will
be times when the choices we face are less than ideal. We are Members of Congress—
that’s part of the job. Too many in our Conference are falling into the pattern of voting
no on tough bills while actually hoping the bill passes because they know that the
outcome will be even worse if the bill fails.
To be clear, any Member who disagrees with the substance of a bill and genuinely
believes failure of the bill to pass is a better outcome not only has the freedom, but the
responsibility to their constituents to vote no. That is not the type of vote that has raised
frustration and concern within our Conference. The vote that hurts our Conference is the
no vote from a Member who hopes the bill passes, but relies on others to carry that load.
That vote isn’t fair to the Members who shoulder the responsibility of voting yes, and it
isn’t fair to the Republican Conference as a whole.
While we always strive to reach 218 with Republican votes, sometimes that is not
possible with divided government, and the story of a bill that passed with 150 Republican
votes is much more positive and assertive than the story of a bill that passes with 79
Republican votes. My point is simple: if there are 150 Republicans who hope the bill
passes, then there should be 150 Republicans who vote yes on final passage. As a
Member of the Whip team, I hope and expect you will do your part to help us build
consensus and help Members lean in to communicate back home why the tough vote was
the right vote.
I am really proud of the work the Whip team has done these past 16 months. In short,
we’ve delivered in a big way for our Conference. It is a great record and base to build
upon over the coming months.
President Obama, the mainstream media, Minority Leader Pelosi, Senate Democrats,
outside groups—they have all taken their best shots at House Republicans. We have
responded with a more united, focused, and bold Conference under the direction of one
our country's most dynamic young leaders to come along in a long time. I hope you are as
excited as I am to get back on offense and advance our bold conservative vision for all
the country to see and embrace!