House Republican Transition Team Chairman Greg Walden said Tuesday that a top priority for Members involved in the GOP power shift will be finding ways to make the House function more openly and transparently.
“We got the people’s business to do and the people have the right to see that business during done,” the Oregon Republican told reporters at a brief morning news conference Tuesday. He offered few specifics on which topics would be debated.
Walden said transition team members would break into three working groups to “really begin to drill down” into what policies should be implemented in the 112th Congress.
Each working group will focus on a separate part of the transition process: one will focus on House Republican Conference rules, the second on the House schedule and the third on House rules.
Walden said former Rep. Jim Nussle (Iowa), who led the GOP transition to power 1994, addressed the group early Tuesday morning.
“He said, ‘Sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day, the small stuff matters. It matters to how the institution operates, it matters how the public perceives us. It’s very important,’” Walden said.
Nussle also told Members of the group to “treat others the way you want to be treated,” Walden said.
Walden also said he had sought advice from Rep. Mike Capuano (Mass.), the leader of Democratic transition 2006, and retiring Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.).
Baird and Walden worked together last year to launch a transparency initiative that included a provision to make all bills public at least 72 hours before a vote.
Most GOP transition team members attended Tuesday’s meeting; only four of 22 Members — Reps. Paul Ryan (Wis.), Mike Conaway (Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Rep.-elect Cory Gardner (Colo.) — were absent.
Reps.-elect Tim Scott (S.C.), Martha Roby (Ala.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) attended the meeting, as did Reps. Rob Bishop (Utah), John Campbell (Calif.), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Tom Cole (Okla.), David Dreier (Calif.), Bob Goodlatte (Va.), Doc Hastings (Wash.), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Buck McKeon (Calif.), Candice Miller (Mich.), Mike Rogers (Mich.), Pete Sessions (Texas) and Patrick Tiberi (Ohio), according to GOP staff. The group met for the first time Monday night. That three-hour session involved presentations and discussions about the changes that might be implemented next year, according to Members who attended the gathering.
Also on the agenda was a review of the House GOP governing agenda, known as the “Pledge to America,” including ways to rein in spending; changes to the House schedule; safety and security in the Capitol complex; and how to “ensure proper oversight by House committees,” transition team spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.