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Public Statements

Motion to Go to Conference on H.R. 3043, Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. CARTER. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time, and I rise in support of the motion to instruct conferees.

I've been sitting here listening to what's been said here today and trying to figure this all out. I think everybody, I think the American people are trying to figure it all out. It's an interesting process to analyze how the Congress is working on this appropriation process.

But when you really look down as to what we're doing here, we're trying to solve three problems this week on this issue of appropriations. We've got three areas that we're going to look at.

We've got a problem that we want to resolve. We want to fund the Department of Defense and the job that they do defending our Nation, and we've got an appropriations bill that deals with that, deals with protecting our soldiers in the field, getting their mission done and all the things that go attached to the Department of Defense.

We've got a second issue we want to deal with. We want to take care of those veterans that have served us so well and so proudly over the years, make sure that we fund the programs that are necessary for them and to do the necessary military construction of the various bases around the world that is necessary to make sure we're providing for our active duty military what they need. We have those two bills that we've got to deal with this week.

We have a third bill, which is the Labor-HHS bill, that deals with issues of labor, health and human services. All those are important bills. Let's figure out how we can best get this done. The American people gave us a little survey this last week. They told us the one thing they are mad at us about is they say, why don't you just get something done? Why don't you get through the bull and get down to doing the job? That's their number one complaint.

Let's look at this. What's the best way to do this? We've got a Defense bill that there is really no obstacles for that anybody can find. Everybody is pretty much okay on that. We've got a MilCon-Veterans bill. In fact, we made an agreement when we had that little fight over earmarks that we would let those go without even discussing the earmarks, because they were going to go fast track through and be done very quickly. Nobody has got a complaint with that.

Then we have got one bill that a third branch of government has a serious complaint with and has the ability to actually veto. Let's see. Is it an efficient way to do our job this day, to take the two bills we can get done very simply and attach it to a bill that has a major roadblock on it? Is that doing our business efficiently? It seems to be not a good idea to me, but maybe it is. But why would we want to do that? We can pass two easily. The third, we're going to have a long discussion about and a fight and maybe a veto. We could get it done if we separated them apart, but we're putting them together. Why do we do that? Maybe it's because they've got people on their side of the aisle that won't vote for the Defense bill. There are 89 of them that said they won't. So maybe this would coerce them to do it. Or maybe they think they can roll over the President and the Republicans on the issue of spending. Who knows. But let's get down and do it efficiently and just deal with Labor-HHS today.


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