Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rules Committee chair James P. McGovern (D-MA) have unveiled the rules for the 117th Congress, including changes to the Standing Rules (Section 2, subsection e), which “modernize the use of pronouns, familial relationship terminology, and other references to gender in order to be inclusive of all Members, Delegates, Resident Commissioners, employees of the House, and their families.”
The proposals include specific examples where the wording of rules will be changed, starting with the switch from “seamen” to “seafarers” and “Chairman” to “Chair,” and continues by replacing a whole host of gender-specific words including “mother,” “father,” brother,” “sister,” “himself’” and “herself.”
“As House Speaker, I am pleased to join 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,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “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. 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.”
“Through months of consultation across our caucus and Congress, we have developed a rules package that makes the People’s House more accountable and responsive to all Americans. This proposal doesn’t tinker around the edges of ethics reform. It contains historic ideas to protect whistleblowers and prevent everything from the undue influence of lawbreakers on the House Floor to the dissemination of deepfakes on government accounts. This proposal also shines a light on those struggling to get ahead in America today and ensures we remain focused on the most pressing issues facing our nation. I want to thank my colleagues, outside stakeholders, and all those who helped us develop these transformative ideas,” said Chair McGovern.
The push for gender-inclusive language drew ire from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who simply commented “This is stupid,” signing his tweet, “A father, son, and brother.”