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Public Statements

Government Shutdown Prevention Act Of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WEINER. My friends, I think one of the truly edifying experiences we had in the opening days of Congress was that we read the Constitution, and I think one of us had the great good fortune to read article I, section 7: ``Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States.'' That's how a bill becomes a law.

Now, this is how Eric Cantor on 3/30/2011 said a bill becomes a law: ``The Senate's gotta''--this is just a transcription. I didn't do that. I just assume it's a Southern thing. ``The Senate's gotta act prior to the expiration of the CR. If it does not act,'' meaning if the Senate does not do something, ``H.R. 1 becomes the law of the land.''

[Time: 14:00]

That's not true. That's not constitutional. That's not fitting of this body.

Now, it is, however, consistent with how the majority party has been governing around here. They've passed rules that they have ignored. For example, on January 5, they had members of their caucus take the oath in front of a television set. On February 9, they failed to provide constitutional authority for a bill despite that it was one of their rules. On March 13, they failed to get a three-fifths majority for passage of a bill that raised tax rates, despite the fact that it was part of the rules. On March 17, they failed to make a bill available within 72 hours, despite the fact that it was part of the rules. And just March 30, they failed to include an offset for a new government program.

The rules are not a big thing for them to follow because this is why it's hard. It's a big book. So I brought you this, ``House Mouse, Senate Mouse,'' which is sold in the gift shop to teach children how to understand the Constitution, and permit me to read:

``It's the floor of each Chamber of the Senate and House where each Senator and each Congress mouse gets to vote on the bill, and if enough do, if enough do, this President signs it if he likes to.''

Well, the Senate mice haven't passed this yet. Perhaps if these were the rules that the Republicans had to follow--it's a much thinner book and it rhymes--maybe you'd get it right, but this is not the Constitution.


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