Shea-Porter Statement on Appointment of Special Counsel to Oversee Russia Probe
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today released a statement on the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the FBI’s Russia probe. She also signed a discharge petition that would force a House vote on the Protecting our Democracy Act, following her call yesterday for Speaker Ryan to schedule an immediate vote on the bill.
“I am encouraged that the Justice Department is recognizing the gravity of this situation by appointing a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller,” said Shea-Porter. “I don’t believe this step would have been achieved without pressure from the American people and hardworking journalists, and I thank all those who are fighting alongside us to follow the facts, wherever they may lead.”
Shea-Porter signed a discharge petition to force a vote on a bill she co-introduced in January: H.R.356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, which would create a 12-member, bipartisan, independent commission empowered to interview witnesses, obtain documents, issue subpoenas, and receive public testimony to examine attempts by the Russian government or others to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or undermine trust in last year’s U.S. elections. The bill is currently cosponsored by 199 Members of Congress, two of whom are Republican. One of the Republican Members, Congressman Walter Jones, has also signed the discharge petition.
BACKGROUND: DISCHARGE PETITIONS
After a bill has been introduced and referred to committee for thirty legislative days or more, any Member may file a motion (under clause 2 of rule XV) with the Clerk of the House to discharge the committee from further consideration of the bill. A member may also file a motion to discharge the Rules Committee of a special rule, pending before that committee for at least seven legislative days, providing for the consideration of that bill.
Discharge petitions may cover only a single introduced measure, not multiple bills. If the Member is successful in convincing a majority of the total membership of the House (218 Members) to sign a discharge petition, the motion to discharge is placed on the Calendar of Motions to Discharge Committees and becomes eligible for consideration on the second or fourth Monday of the month after a seven legislative day layover (except during the last six days of any session when the layover is waived). If the motion to discharge a bill is adopted, it is then in order to move that the House immediately consider the bill itself.