New House rules package: Subpoenas for former presidents, ‘gender-inclusive language’

"Father, mother, son, daughter," other terms could be prohibited in rulebook.

Updated: January 2, 2021 - 2:57pm

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A new rule package being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives would prohibit various gendered terms in congressional rules language as well as clarify that former presidents and vice-presidents can be subpoenaed by Congress.

The new rules will, if passed, "moderniz[e] 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," according to a summary of the proposed changes.

Terms like "sister-in-law" and "stepson," for instance, would be replaced by "sibling-in-law" and "stepchild," while the terms "uncle" and "aunt" would become "parent's sibling."

Other changes, meanwhile, would clarify the subpoena authority of House committees and subcommittees, appearing to tee up the possibility of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence being subpoenaed by the House following the conclusion of the Trump administration.

The rule package "expressly authorizes the issuance of subpoenas to any current or former President and Vice President, either in their personal or official capacity," the summary states, arguing further that the rules also authorize subpoenas for "the White House, the Office of the President, the Executive Office of the President, and any individual currently or formerly employed by those entities."