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Public Statements

Department of Defense and Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, D.C.

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Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for yielding. How I miss my magic minute.

I want to say to the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, how often he and I have said, you know, when we have these impasses, we need a clean CR. This CR is unclean. This CR will not get us to where you say you want to get, Mr. Chairman, and that's not shutting down the government, because you know and I know the President will not sign this bill. Why? Because you put in poison pills that you know are unacceptable to him. Why? So you can get the votes on your side of the aisle to vote for your bill to keep the government open. Why is that difficult? Because so many of your folks, unless they get 100 percent, are prepared to shut down the government. You and I both know that, Mr. Chairman.

I have great respect for you. Very frankly, I think you and I could go in a room and solve this in the next 30 seconds, but you and I are not in that room. It is time, as the Speaker has said, to be adults.

Why is this viable piece of legislation on the floor? Because you think you can hold the government ransom for an additional $12 billion. I said that I would not support, after supporting the first two--which I thought were reasonable to try to give us an opportunity to solve the differences that exist between us--that I would not vote for a third one, and I'm not going to vote for this one. It won't matter because it's dead anyway, and you all know it's dead. But you're banking on the fact that you know we don't want to shut down government. What's the proof in the pudding? We did not shut it down when we had disagreements with George Bush because we believed that reasonable people elected by a diverse community in America who had differences of opinion were expected by our public to come together, reason together, and act productively together.

Now very frankly, I don't take a back seat to anybody on this floor in my support of defense or the men and women in uniform, and Mr. Young knows that, my dear friend, not a back seat to anyone. And yes, if we passed a unanimous consent request to fund at present levels, defense would continue. Should we have passed a defense bill last year? I think we should have. I'm sorry we didn't. I urged that we do it. But the Senate, as you might recall, would not allow any bills to come to the floor, any bills--that is, the Republicans in the United States Senate would not allow that to happen.

So now we are faced with not a let's-reason-together bill but an additional $12 billion in cuts, which means that week by week by week you think you will get to what you want, not a compromise, not an agreement, but what you want. And you will do it $5 billion a week, $2 billion a week--this one is $12 billion a week. And you have no expectation that that will pass or be signed by the President, but you do it to pretend you want to keep government in operations. Newt Gingrich has said don't worry about shutting down the government, as he shut it down in 1995--and over Christmas--for 3 weeks, in '95 and '96.

Ladies and gentlemen on my side of the aisle, we ought to reject this specious political act which pretends that we want to keep the government open.

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

Mr. DICKS. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.

Mr. HOYER. We ought to do, Mr. Chairman, what you and I have done in the past as members of the Appropriations Committee: say we haven't reached an agreement, we will do a clean CR at present levels while we continue to negotiate on behalf of the American people to do what we all want to do.

Mr. DICKS. If the gentleman will yield on that point, if we did that, if we had a clean CR, the President would sign it into law.

Mr. HOYER. Absolutely. And that would pass the Senate as well.

I urge my colleagues to reject this CR and adopt a clean CR that will keep the government in operation and allow us to come together and reason together and pass a reasonable piece of legislation.

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Mr. HOYER. Madam Speaker, I want to ask the chairman if he will yield to me for the purposes of making a unanimous consent request that we proceed with what we would call a clean CR, which would provide for the funding of the troops, provide for the funding of all other government agencies at the levels that we are currently at, which of course involve all the cuts that have been made to date in the last two CRs that we passed and for which I voted. I tell my friend, the reason I want to propound this unanimous consent, it will in fact provide for a document, an act, to pass this House which I believe will in fact pass the Senate and will in fact be signed by the President.

As a result, we will protect our troops and we will protect all other services that government has available for the American people.

I ask my friend if he will yield to me for that purpose.

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

Mr. DICKS. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.

Mr. HOYER. I think I have concluded, Madam Speaker, in asking the chairman whether he would yield to me for the purposes of making that unanimous consent so that we could have an act pass this House that we know will be signed by the President and will protect the troops and will keep the government open.

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Mr. HOYER. Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I want to thank the chairman as well. I understand he has given me the 5 minutes, and I appreciate that.

First of all, I want to say to my friend from Kentucky--and he is my friend and we've worked together for many, many years. He told the story about a gentleman who was in court and he was in court for killing his two parents, and he pled for the mercy of the Court because he was an orphan.

I tell my friend from Kentucky, particularly appropriate because he's from Kentucky, because the mess that we have was created because some folks from Kentucky would not give some votes to put appropriation bills on the floor. To that extent I think that analogy is apt. The gentleman complains of a mess that, frankly, was of the Republican Members in the United States Senate refusing to allow bills to come to the floor.

Madam Speaker, this motion to recommit, if adopted, A, will take care of the troops; B, will keep the government open; and, C, importantly, I would presume, from all of you who have protested how you want to protect the troops, it will pass the Senate and be signed by the President. So it will become law, and it can become law by tomorrow night before 12 midnight when the government's authorization ends. So it should commend itself to all Members of this House as a viable document to protect the troops, keep the government open, and get signed.

As the great legislator Henry Clay, who was elected Speaker the first day he served in this House--Henry Clay was from where, Mr. Chairman? From your great State. And Henry Clay said this: ``If you cannot compromise, you cannot govern.'' Henry Clay.

And let me repeat that to my friends on your side of the aisle: ``If you cannot compromise, you cannot govern.''

Too many of our Republican colleagues have refused to compromise. And now you bring to the floor a resolution and say, If you only do what we tell you to do, things will be fine. My, my, my, what a definition of ``compromise.'' Then you say, If the Senate will only do what we say, we'd be fine. The first time, the second time, the third time, and now here we are on the fourth time.

Now, I supported you, as you know, on the second time and third time because I thought it was reasonable to give that opportunity, and the cuts you were asking for, yes, I thought would be included at some point in time.

The Senate, by the way, passed those two resolutions, as we indicated they would. And the President signed them, as the gentleman is telling me.

I'm getting a little help over here from the ranking member, and I appreciate it.

But now we are on the brink of bringing the government to a halt. That makes no sense, and anybody here knows that to be the case. My friend Mr. Simpson, for whom I have a great deal of respect, knows that it makes no sense. In fact, many of your folks who have said to shut it down in the past are now saying, We don't want to shut it down, because they know the American people think that makes no sense.

Republicans showed their priorities when they passed a spending bill that cuts billions in scientific research, kicks 200,000 children out of Head Start, and cuts college aid for millions of middle class students.

Yes, we don't agree with those priorities. They're not our priorities. We think we need to invest in growing this economy and growing jobs. We think we need to invest in young people so that they can have the educational opportunities. Ronald Reagan said Head Start worked. George Bush I said it worked. George Bush II said it worked. We don't want to cut 200,000 children out of that program. We think it's important to make sure the future of our country is secured by educating those children.

You have shown your priorities when you threatened a government shutdown over divisive social policy riders. Governor Daniels, Governor of Indiana, and a candidate for President, I understand, said, Take the social issues and consider them on another bill; let's get the finances of our country in order first.

That's what you say you want to do. We want to help you do that. We will work with you on that. We have been working with you on it. That's why I voted for the last two CRs, and the Senate passed them and the President signed them.

But, Madam Speaker, this motion to recommit will allow for our troops to be taken care of, as they should be; and, by the way, they will be taken care of even if we have a shutdown because they are critical to our national security.

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

Mr. HOYER. I urge the adoption of this motion to recommit that will be signed by the President of the United States.

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Mr. HOYER. Madam Speaker, this motion to recommit speaks directly to the funding of government. The continuing resolution offered by the gentleman from Kentucky, he has repeatedly said its objective is to fund the government and keep the government open.

This is an alternative which argues for the fact that we want to pass a piece of legislation that the President of the United States says he will sign. It is simply for 1 week. It is simply a short period of time while we negotiate.

I urge the Speaker to find this motion to recommit consistent with the rules and consistent with the objectives of the legislation that is under consideration.

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