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Freedom Of Information Act Amendments Of 2007

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT AMENDMENTS OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - March 14, 2007)

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I came to the floor to oppose the bill not on the merits of the FOIA policy, but on the grounds that this bill had a budget section 303 point of order against it and that it violated the new PAYGO rules we have before us.

This bill that we just now got 10 minutes ago, as we read it, we believe does not violate section 303 of the Budget Act or the PAYGO rules. But I think the point I would like to make is this: 10 minutes ago this bill did have a section 303 violation against it; 10 minutes ago this bill did violate the majority's own PAYGO rules they put in place less than 10 months ago. And it scores not just a $7 million, but a $63 million increase over 10 years. So $63 million over 10 years is a lot of money. And given the fact that this new amended bill, as it appears as we read it, does have the required language, subject to appropriations, that it is not out of order, it doesn't waive the PAYGO rules because it does pay for itself subject to appropriations.

I will withhold my objection, but I simply want to say to the majority this place would run a lot better if, when we put bills on the calendar and bring them to the floor, that they comply with the rules that the majority themselves put in place just 2 months ago with respect to PAYGO and with respect to the Budget Act. I just think the whole place would work a lot better if we do that. Then we get on to debating the merits of this legislation.

I think FOIA is an important tool. It needs to work better. I think there is a lot of merit to that point. But let's make sure that as we take a look at our budget problems, and they are enormous, our budget problems, if we can't make sure that bills that spend $63 million over 10 years can't comply with the Budget Act, can't comply with PAYGO, who is to say that bills that spend $2.9 trillion like our Federal budget can comply with it? So if we can't get the rules right on small bills, who is to say we are going to get the budget discipline rules right on the big bills?

Fiscal discipline starts one step at a time, starts one bill at a time. We have got to get fiscal discipline rules in place and right on small business, especially if this Congress is going to get our arms around our larger fiscal problems.

That is simply the point I want to make to the chairman.

Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield to the gentleman from California.

Mr. WAXMAN. I thank the gentleman for yielding to me, and I just want to say what is seldom said on the House floor, that I agree with you. And we tried to correct the problems so that we didn't make the error that would have violated our PAYGO principles. And I thank the gentleman for pointing it out, and I think you have raised a very good point and we should all be mindful of it, including the points about the deficit, which I strongly think we need to deal with. So we will have differences about that, but I do want to show my agreement with your basic statement.

Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I appreciate the gentleman.

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