Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 7110, Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act of 2008

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 7110, JOB CREATION AND UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - September 26, 2008)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. I thank my good friend and colleague from Washington State's Fourth District, who has been a real partner in this effort to try and reauthorize and fully fund not only our Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, but also to support additional funding for payment in lieu of taxes, because, you see, both of those are actual commitments that this Federal Government has had to rural communities across its land for upwards of 100 years.

I know the gentleman on the other side of the aisle who is presenting this closed rule, a record, another time the majority has broken its promise to allow us to have an open rule, an open debate, and for the minority to offer up amendments, he is actually a cosponsor of legislation to reauthorize the Community Schools Act.

The irony here is that you are creating new programs. You are going to go into the capital markets and compete to borrow money to fund $60 billion in new Federal spending that you don't have an offset for in this bill. So you are going to be in the same capital markets trying to find money that is frozen now to the private sector, trying to maintain the jobs by maintaining their lines of credit. So you are out there competing to borrow money.

Yesterday and today you said you couldn't add the rural schools legislation to the tax bill because, one, it wasn't in your jurisdiction, and two, it wasn't paid for. So you defeated it. And you wouldn't allow us to offer an amendment.

Multiple times we came to this floor and came to the Rules Committee. We sought your grace, your indulgence, your support. This whole notion of bipartisanship would be a wonderful thing if it existed in the Rules Committee, or even here on the floor. We just wanted a chance to vote on an alternative to add. You wouldn't even give us that.

So the last time today, the good gentleman from Washington went back to the Rules Committee, offered up an amendment to go to this bill, since it is an appropriation bill, since it has no offsets, since it is being rushed to floor to deal with the Secure Rural Schools Act, and you rejected even allowing that amendment to be voted on here.

Meanwhile, I pick up this bill and on page 12 you fund a new program, a program for green schools. Now, I am all for conservation and energy efficiency and all those things. But it is $3 billion, $3 billion with a B dollars, for a new program for new grants to do conservation at existing schools, at a time when school teachers in California are being fired, when sheriff's deputies in Josephine and Jackson and Klamath Counties are getting their pink slips, when we won't have the people to do the search and rescue when mountain climbers and families get lost in the Federal forest lands and up on the mountains. All those people are actually losing their jobs.

The libraries in Jackson County closed last year. This is the biggest county in my district. We have got counties in southern Oregon, in the Fourth District, that are contemplating bankruptcy. That means going out of business altogether. There will be no nighttime patrols.

Why do you spend on a new program $3 billion, and not reauthorize and keep the commitment of an existing Federal program? Don't you care about those jobs? Don't you care about those people and those services?

Let me tell you what the Portland Oregonian wrote today. ``Help for rural counties simply is not a priority in the U.S. House of Representatives. That is the only explanation for the House leadership's decision to strip county payments from a popular tax bill that just hours after the Senate voted 93-2 for a bill that would have continued the program that sends $185 million a year to 33 Oregon counties. House Democrats first tried to blame the White House,'' as you have heard now, ``but the Bush administration on Thursday issued a clear statement that it would sign the Senate bill with the county payments included, but would not sign the bill the House Democrats favored. House Democrats also tried to pose as fiscal conservatives in denying county payments, but that was unconvincing too.''

They go on to write, ``It is Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders who decided to break the Nation's promise to help support rural counties who host vast areas of Federal timberland.''

It is the Democrat leadership. Not the President, not some Wall Street bailout. It is the Democratic leadership in this House who have told us they will help us, and then every vehicle that comes along, the door is slammed just as we reach for the handle, and it drives off, speeds off to somewhere else and runs over our feet.

That is what has happened here. You can talk all you want about a bailout of Wall Street. I don't favor a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, but I do support my local communities. Further, I do believe this government would have more credibility in this Congress, higher than a 9 percent approval rating, if it simply kept its word. If you kept your word that the rules would be open and we would be allowed to have alternatives brought to this floor, then your talk about bipartisanship might hold some validity.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield 1 additional minute to the gentleman.

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Why won't you allow us to have this amendment on the floor? I would ask the gentleman from Massachusetts, why won't you allow us to at least have an amendment on the floor?

I yield to the gentleman.

Mr. McGOVERN. I would just remind the gentleman that on June 5, we brought to the House floor H.R. 3058, which would have reauthorized the very program he talked about, and he and Mr. Hastings both voted against it. Thank you very much.

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Reclaiming my time, I would explain to you why. Why would you refuse not to bring that back under a rule? Why?

Mr. McGOVERN. Why didn't the gentleman vote for it when he had a chance to?

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. I will get to that. I will reclaim my time. You refused to bring it under a rule to the House because you wanted no alternative by the minority to be considered. You brought it under suspension.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield 30 additional seconds to the gentleman.

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. And under the suspension of the rules, you denied the minority the opportunity to offer an alternative. As you could on many other bills and have, you could have brought H.R. 3058 back yesterday, the day before, any day since it went down. You had 218 votes on the House floor and you could pass it.

I voted against it because it violates contracts. It was a placeholder. And you did not keep your word coming out of the Resources Committee that it would include payment in lieu of taxes when it came to the floor and it would have a different pay-for. That was another broken commitment.

So bring it to the floor. Bring it tomorrow. You are on the Rules Committee, you could do that, and you refuse. So stop the rhetoric, and let's get to the facts.
[From the Oregonian, Sept. 25, 2008]

For House Democratic Leaders, Rural Counties Are Not a Priority

Help for rural counties simply is not a priority in the U.S. House of Representatives. That's the only explanation for the House leadership's decision to strip county payments from a popular tax bill just hours after the Senate voted 93-2 for a bill that would have continued the program that sends $185 million a year into 33 Oregon counties.

We don't blame Oregon's congressional delegation. By all accounts, Reps. Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer, both Democrats, and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., argued strongly for inclusion of funding for county payments. This was not a matter of their will--it was a matter of the inability of Oregon Democrats to persuade their own party leaders to support the aid to counties.

House Democrats first tried to blame the White House, but the Bush administration on Thursday issued a clear statement that it would sign the Senate bill, with the county payments included, but would not sign the bill that House Democrats favored. House Democrats also tried to pose as fiscal conservatives in denying county payments, but that was unconvincing, too.

The House Democrats are only the latest leaders in Washington to turn their back on rural counties, The Bush White House has consistently been lukewarm to hostile on the payment program. And many of the Republicans who formerly controlled the Congress did not lift a finger to get county payments extended.

But this time, it is Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders who decided to break the nation's promise to help support rural counties who host vast areas of federal timberland. The Senate, encouraged by Oregon's Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith, provided strong backing for including the county payments in the popular tax bill.

Now that the White House has signaled its clear preference for the Senate version of the tax bill, Senate President Harry Reid of Nevada and other Senate Democratic leaders should stand firm and send their bill right back to the House, with the county payments intact.

While all this goes on, rural Oregon counties are preparing for wholesale layoffs of their sheriff's deputies and shutdowns of libraries and other local services. They are also watching the federal government rush to the financial aid, it seems, of everyone and anyone but the timber communities of Oregon and the West.

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Again, I think I responded to the gentleman. I would just say two other things that I think are important to make note of.

The gentleman, while his party was in control for 12 years, consistently voted for budgets that underfunded the very programs that we are talking about. Secondly, when he talks about a closed process, I don't recall a single incidence when the gentleman ever voted against his party on a closed rule when in fact his party was in control.

So let's get back to the point of this bill, which is to provide everyday people, who have been neglected by this President and by his allies in the Republican Congress for too long, this is to provide a little relief, to try to stimulate some job creation, to try to help with infrastructure, with rebuilding schools, with health care. I mean, the President of the United States is coming before the Nation saying $700 billion, I don't want to pay for it, for a bailout for Wall Street, and then he is telling us we can't do anything to help people on Main Street.

I would like to yield a minute to the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey).

POINT OF ORDER

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his point of order.

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. The comments made by the gentleman were not accurate when he referred to me.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman may address the accuracy of remarks by engaging in debate.

Mr. OBEY. * * *

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Speaker, I move to take down his words.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members will suspend. The gentleman from Wisconsin will take his seat.

The Clerk will report the words.

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, in the interest of continuing the debate on this issue, I will withdraw my words.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Wisconsin?

There was no objection.

Mr. OBEY. Now, if I may continue, what I should have said is that I found the gentleman's words in error. And let me explain why. He claims that this is a problem that was created during the Democratic control of this House. In fact, the program under discussion, the authorization expired under control of the Republican Party. Then, at the request of a good many Members, including you, I voluntarily agreed to extend that program on an appropriation bill, even though the authorization had expired. But I said at that time that he needed to understand that this would be a temporary extension, and because this matter was not under the jurisdiction of our committee, he needed to resolve this problem in the authorizing committee, the Agriculture Committee. And that is still where it belongs.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. McGOVERN. I yield 1 additional minute to the gentleman.

Mr. OBEY. The fact is that the Appropriations Committee is in a no-win situation. Every time we try to bring a bill out to extend an authorization, we get squawks from the membership because we are exceeding our jurisdiction. Then if we don't bring a bill out, we get squawks for not stepping into an area where we have no business treading.

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Would the gentleman yield?

Mr. OBEY. After I have completed my statement, I would be happy to.

So what I would simply say is this: I gave the gentleman a year. I took money out of the appropriations portion of the pot to give the gentleman a year's grace. Now, if the gentleman voted against a freestanding authorization bill, as I understand, I think from the conversation that the gentleman apparently did, if the gentleman voted against that free-standing suspension bill, it is not the fault of my committee, and I don't have to step in and make up for somebody else's mistakes.

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Would the gentleman yield?

Mr. OBEY. It would seem to me, if the gentleman wants that program funded, he needs to find an offset and take it to the proper committee of jurisdiction, because I am tired of having Members of this House combat us from both directions at the same time.

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Would the gentleman yield?

Mr. OBEY. I would be happy to yield.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. McGOVERN. I will yield the gentleman an additional minute.

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy in yielding.

My comments were never intended for the gentleman. I respect the fact that the gentleman helped us with a 1-year extension. In prior debates on this floor and in the last week and before, I have thanked the gentleman and credited him with that extension.

I also have legislation before the House Resources Committee that would not only extend this program but fully fund it.

Mr. OBEY. With all due respect, taking back my time, if the gentleman did, indeed, vote against the free-standing bill that would have corrected the problem, then, as far as I am concerned, he has no complaint with this committee. We are in the middle of serious economic problems. We are trying, as best we can, to find ways to counter the recession.

With all due respect, I don't want to get this committee into any more authorization fights than I have to, because I have got a long list of authorization issues that people have objected to when we have included authorization issues on appropriation matters, and you can bet that today there will be some squawks about the fact that we have done that.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top