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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.J. Res. 48, Additional Continuing Appropriations Amendments, 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. WOODALL. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 167 provides a closed rule for consideration of H.J. Res. 48. Keeping in line with the actions of the minority party and its CRs last year, this rule also provides for 1 hour of debate and a motion to recommit.

We are here again today dealing with the continuing resolution, Mr. Speaker, because H.R. 1 sits idly on the Senate side. As you will recall, H.R. 1 has been the singly most debated piece of legislation that we've had in this body this year. In fact, we considered more amendments on that spending bill in February than on all of the previous spending bills in the last two Congresses combined. Yet, even as the House has worked its will, even as, I think, we on both sides of the aisle identify that as one of the finest hours of this body, it sits in the Senate--unused, unexamined, undebated.

Mr. Speaker, we are in the middle of a debate on spending. It's not that we tax too little in this country. It's that we spend too much.

We're operating with $1.4 trillion annual operating deficits, $1.5 trillion, $1.6 trillion, and now they're saying next year it could be $1.7 trillion--spending that we do with money that we don't have.

We need to get to the big picture, Mr. Speaker. We need to have this debate about how do we move beyond what was last year's business and get on to what is this year's business. These thing that we're working on, this three-week CR, Mr. Speaker, is not the real business. The real business is yet to come. I sit on the Budget Committee. If you want to talk about real business, look at the tough decisions that are coming down the pipe from the Budget Committee. Look at what it's going to take to get this budget back in balance. Look at what it's going to take to restore integrity to our fiscal system. Look at what it's going to take to inspire confidence in our foreign creditors. These are the real issues that we have to discuss, but we can't discuss them, Mr. Speaker, because we are still working on last year's business.

Now, I think we're frustrated on both sides of the aisle that we're still working on last year's business, and candidly, it may come as a surprise to you, Mr. Speaker, but I don't blame a soul on the other side. The other side of this body has been our partner in moving H.R. 1 to the Senate. They've been our partner in making the tough decisions that had to be had, and we had Republican amendments that succeeded and Republican amendments that failed. We had Democratic amendments that succeeded and Democratic amendments that failed, and this body worked its will.

But the Senate has yet to take up the legislation, has yet to take up legislation passed in February, has yet to be taken up as we sit here in the middle of March. Now, I don't know how in the world we have negotiations, Mr. Speaker. We have done our work here in the House. I'm proud not only that we did it but I'm proud of the way in which we did it. But now we wait on the Senate to come to the table and lay down its vision for how we fund this government through September of this year.

We continue to wait, and hopefully, these 3 weeks, Mr. Speaker, will provide the time needed for the Senate to gear up and get going, because I will say it over and over and over again today, this is last year's business, and it is distracting us from the important business that needs to happen.

I'll tell you this. This CR for 3 weeks isn't what I would have liked to have seen. What I would like to see is H.R. 1 come back to this floor. What I would like to see is H.R. 1 go to the President's desk. What I would like to see are the tough, tough, tough decisions that we made and the difficult, difficult, difficult decisions that we had on this floor be translated into the law of the land as it sits on the President's desk and receives his signature. But we cannot move to that point until the Senate acts.

So I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to support this rule that will bring to the floor a continuing resolution that will give the Senate three more weeks to get its house in order to do the business that the American people sent the Senate here to do, to join us in doing the good work that we have done, and to move a bill to the President's desk so that we can get on to the rest of the business that the country has laid before us.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds just to say that we brought H.R. 1 to the floor under the single most open process this House has seen in 4 years--and I've only been on the job 65 days--the single most open process that this House has seen in 4 years. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of what we did together.

Are there other alternatives out there to H.R. 1? I don't know, Mr. Speaker, because I haven't seen one, haven't seen one come back from the Senate. Is the Senate over there debating things? Absolutely. Are they passing things? No, they're not, and I don't know where we go to move forward with that.

But a gentleman who might, Mr. Speaker, is my good friend, the president of the freshman class from the great State of Georgia.

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Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds.

Reckless and heartless is exactly the debate that we are going to have to have. Is it reckless to pass on $14 trillion in debt to our children with no end in sight? I would say to you that it is. Is it heartless to saddle our children with that burden that is going to drain their economy dry? I would say to you that it is. Is it reckless to treat the world credit markets as if they will forever feed our voracious appetite? And I say to you that it is. We have to take these steps today.

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Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to say there are really a number of things that we agree on across this body. The gentleman from Massachusetts has very strong feelings about paying for the bills that we create today. I share his passion, and I look forward to getting into the business of paying for those bills.

What I do know is that we are not paying for the bills today.

What I do know is that when I showed up for Congress on January 3 of this year, that there was no spending plan to get us past March 4. No spending plan.

Just to be clear, I showed up as a brand new Member of Congress in January to learn that getting about the business means putting together a funding bill before March 4 because the previous Congress didn't take care of business.

Now, I know my friend from Massachusetts wasn't in charge of the other side of the aisle last year. He certainly wasn't in charge of the Senate, although we all wish that we could be in charge of the Senate. But the business didn't get done, and that is why we are here today. That is the first reason why we are here today, to take care of business that didn't get done last year.

But the second reason, Mr. Speaker, and the more important reason that we are here today, is because we said when we took over this body on January 5 that we would not go along with business as usual. It would have been a nothing to pass a bill that the President would sign that would say, hey, just keep on funding the government the way you've been funding it. Keep on racking up those trillion-dollar deficits the way you've been racking them up. Don't change a thing. Fiddle while Rome burns.

It would have been easy. Except for my conscience, except for the conscience of the folks who were elected with me in November, except for our principles, it would have been easy.

We chose the road less traveled that said, no, we're not going to put it off. There is always a reason to wait Mr. Speaker. There is always a reason to wait. And we said, no, we are going to begin making the tough decisions today. Today. Now, that today was back in February, and we are still waiting for the Senate to get to the table so that we can have some of those negotiations.

But I will say to my friend from New Jersey, who was so terribly pleased that the riders were not included on this bill: If you think for a minute that I am done fighting for life, you're mistaken. If you think for a minute that I am done working to defund Planned Parenthood and its work that it is doing with Federal dollars, you're mistaken. If you think for a minute that I have given up on ripping every nickel out of the budget that belongs to ObamaCare and the nationalization of our health care system, you are mistaken. And if you think for a minute that I am going to stop trying to repeal every single one of the job-killing, energy price-hiking regulations that the EPA is promulgating across this country chaining our small businesses down, you are mistaken.

That fight might not be today. Today is about cutting $6 billion out of a budget that our children are not going to have to repay. Today is about keeping the government open for 3 more short weeks to give our friends in the Senate a chance to come to the table. But, Mr. Speaker, that day of reckoning is coming. The day of reckoning is coming because these are ideals that deserve the attention of this body. These are decisions that cannot be kicked down the road even further. These are decisions of principle on which compromise is often not an option. Sometimes you just have to take the vote, and somebody's going to win and somebody's going to lose.

I rise in strong support of this rule, and I rise in strong support of the underlying bill.

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