THE OFFICIAL TRUTH SQUAD -- (House of Representatives - January 04, 2007)
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Mrs. BLACKBURN. I thank the gentleman from Georgia for his work on this issue and for his work on the Truth Squad.
Today is a historic day, as my colleagues have mentioned. I commend my colleagues from both sides of the aisle on their collegiality and their tone as we have approached this day, and have recognized the historic importance and the significance of the first female taking the position of Speaker of this wonderful body which is the people's House.
You know, as the gentleman was saying, it is so important that we note, we are not here to complain. We are not here to gripe. What we are here to do is to highlight for our constituents some of the content of a rules package that seems to be hastily pulled together that did not go through the committee process, that didn't have hearings, and was brought to the floor for a vote.
I think it is important that our constituents know, because we have a lot of new Members of this body, and those voters that voted in the elections this fall did not go to the ballot box voting to have a government that was going to be carried out in the shadows. They went to the ballot boxes saying we want government that is more accountable. We want government that is more open. We want government that is more responsive to the needs of our constituents. We want government that is going to work more effectively and more efficiently for the American people.
And the very first vote that is taken on the rules package presented in the people's House today is a vote that would eliminate recorded votes in the Rules Committee.
Now, in my great State of Tennessee, we have had this discussion, and in our general assembly in the great State of Tennessee, we have had this debate, and people said over and over again we want those votes recorded. We want sunshine. We want openness. And that is something that needs to be highlighted with our constituents. They need to realize the format that they are wanting to push forward would deny the minority the opportunity to hear, have their amendments heard in the Rules Committee. Dr. Gingrey has highlighted some of the provisions, and he does such a wonderful job with our Rules Committee and the concerns that we have with the format that would go before the Rules Committee that would deny recording some of these votes, which means there is less accountability. So it is our responsibility to come and highlight those things.
You know another thing that the people did not vote for this November was to raise their taxes. They did not go to the poll and vote saying, ``Representatives, we want you to make it easier to raise the taxes on us.' And one of the things that we find with the PAYGO rules is that it is basically pay as you go on a spending spree. Even the Concord Coalition has estimated that this 100 hours would cost $800 billion over 10 years if everything was funded. That is $80 billion a year for 10 years, $80 billion a year additional, additional, new spending.
Now, I can tell you one thing for certain. I don't know a lot, but one thing I do know is that the people of the Seventh District of Tennessee do not want to be forking over another $80 billion a year.
What they did vote for this November was to see government spending reduced, and that is where they want our emphasis to be. And it is important that we spell this out for our constituents, for the American people, for them to know what is transpiring as we come into the 110th Congress.
Words are important and it is important that we provide the clarification that is there and that is needed. And as I have viewed the package that we have debated some today and will debate tomorrow, I have come to realize that one of the things our colleagues across the aisle, the Democrats, have said is they want to go back to the way things were. I even said maybe Barbara Streisand's ``The Way We Were' should be their theme song because that is how they want to go back to doing business where it is closed. This is what people voted against with the revolution in 1994. They voted then for more openness.
This past November, people thought they were going to see more action and more openness, and the first votes that are being taken are closing that process and are excluding people, excluding representatives of as many as 140 million Americans from participation in that process.
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