Thanks to the new Republican majority, this Congress my committee responsibilities have expanded. Along with serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee, in January I was selected by Speaker Kevin McCarthy as one of eight Republicans to serve on the Committee on House Administration.
While not well known, the House Administration Committee has a significant portfolio.
Part of our job is focusing on Capitol Hill, overseeing the daily operations of the House of Representatives.
Since the beginning of this Congress, our biggest priority has been to restore regular order to the House, which the Committee hasn’t done since 2017.
This includes bringing greater transparency and accountability to House operations. We’ve had hearings to review each committee’s budget requests for the Congress, to ensure efficient use of House resources. We’ve also given individual Members the opportunity to testify on issues under our jurisdiction and provide feedback on how we can make the People’s House more effective.
The Committee is also striving to make the House more open and accessible to the American people by completely reopening the Capitol complex. With the pandemic largely behind us, it’s time for Americans to once again have the chance to engage with their Representatives in person.
House Administration is also tasked with overseeing Capitol security, including lapses in security on Jan. 6, 2021. In fact, we recently announced that the Oversight subcommittee, of which I am a member, is launching an investigation into the January 6th Committee, created by House Democrats last Congress. We will be reviewing not only security failures on that day, but also whether pertinent information about the riot was omitted in the Committee’s examination.
The Committee also has broad jurisdiction over our federal elections. While our role is limited, we do provide oversight over the Federal Elections Commission and Election Assistance Commission.
The Committee also has two joint Committee under its jurisdiction, which is a committee that consists of both Senate and House members. I am a member of the Joint Committee on Printing, which oversees the operations of the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO). It serves, by law, as the principal printing organization for Federal agencies.
Recently, the Republican members of the Committee gathered in the Capitol for a retreat, where we spent two days discussing each of our responsibilities as Members of the Committee and our goals for the next two years,
One of my favorite activities during the retreat was visiting the Library of Congress, which is under the jurisdiction of the Committee. Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is one of the largest libraries in the world, containing approximately 173 million items.
While there, we toured the Preservation Directorate and Conservation Division of the Library, responsible for the conservation of the library’s paper-based special collections.
We were shown fascinating pieces from our country’s founding, including George Washington’s Commission as General of the Continental Army and Thomas Jefferson’s original rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, written from June 12-27, 1776. Also, Francis Scott Key’s original draft of the Star-Spangled Banner.
We had a chance to view a couple items belonging to Abraham Lincoln, including his second Life Mask (made two months before his death, plaster was placed on Lincoln’s face to preserve his likeness) and notes for his Second Inaugural Address. We were also shown the contents of Lincoln’s pockets from when he was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in April 1865.
This opportunity was particularly special for me as I have spent many years collecting antique paper and at one point was a dealer of antique paper. A few years ago, I reached out to the Library of Congress to inquire about a book I inherited from my grandmother. Though the library had one copy, they requested to come to my office to see the book in person.
A favorite piece in my collection was an 18th century printing of recent Acts of the Assembly and a discussion on the Alien and Sedition Acts. I have since donated this piece to the Library of Virginia (Virginia’s version of the Library of Congress).
Now that it is open again, I encourage anyone coming to D.C. to visit the Library of Congress where you can see incredible mementos from our country’s founding and throughout our history.
You likely will also stop at one of the Smithsonian Institution museums, which also falls under House Administration Committee jurisdiction.