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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2021, Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011, and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1249, America Invents Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DREIER. I thank my friend for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, let me say that we obviously are dealing with an irregular development that took place in the Judiciary Committee, that being the notion of believing somehow that they could appropriate dollars.

We know full well that the Judiciary Committee cannot engage in the appropriations process itself, and so all that this provision that we are pursuing does is allows us to take from mandatory back to discretionary spending without any cost whatsoever. The power will fall with this institution, with the first branch of government, which is exactly where it should be.

And everyone, Mr. Speaker, talks about the concerns that we have over mandatory spending. Both Democrats and Republicans alike have made it clear that if we don't deal with the issue of mandatory spending we're not going to successfully address the economic and budget challenges that we face.

So all this provision does is it allows us to deal with what was an irregular development that took place in the Judiciary Committee, and it is for that reason that I support my friend from Florida's effort.

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Mr. DREIER. Let me just say that this has absolutely no effect whatsoever on the actual spending level. By the way, the Congressional Budget Office is not able to take in the mix the details of this extraordinary development that took place in the Judiciary Committee. And so there is not going to be any cost.

This is a provision which clearly will allow us, as my friend from Florida has said, to proceed with a very important debate and to rectify a mistake that was made there.

I thank my friend for yielding.

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Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this rule.

I realize that we are dealing with a somewhat unprecedented situation here; but I've got to say that, as I listen to the characterization being put forward by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle as to this so-called CutGo waiver, they appear to be way off base.

I have no idea, Mr. Speaker, what this $1.1 billion figure is. I've been asking my staff members since I heard the distinguished former chair of the committee, the ranking member, throw this figure out, and they said, We have no idea where this $1.1 billion figure has come from.

If he wants to explain that to me, I am happy to yield to my friend, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers).

Mr. CONYERS. Yes. The letter to the distinguished chair of the Rules Committee came from the Congressional Budget Office, and I would be pleased to quote it to you. The $1.1 billion is an accumulation of several other costs that they reported.

Mr. DREIER. I reclaim my time.

Let me say, I asked my staff where this $1.1 billion figure came from. My staff members are right here on the floor, and they said they don't know where the basis of this $1.1 billion figure comes from. Mr. Speaker, what happened in the Judiciary Committee was unfortunate. It was an unfortunate development that took place because the Judiciary Committee proceeded to do something that they should not do, which is they began appropriating.

All we are doing with this provision that we have in place is simply saying that the power should, in fact, lie with the House Appropriations Committee and that it should not be mandatory spending that does not provide the first branch of government, the legislative branch, with the adequate oversight.

Now, as I walked into the Chamber, my friend from Kentucky was saying that this bill is not focused on job creation and economic growth when, in fact, we know that encouraging creativity and innovation is about our creating good jobs right here in the United States of America. Mr. Speaker, the American people get it. They realize that if we were to take our time and energy and focus on job creation and economic growth we would be able to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the American people. Unfortunately, we've not been vigorously pursuing those.

I think that one of the most important things that we can do is to open up new markets around the world for U.S. goods and services and for our kind of innovation that is developing. We at this moment are waiting for three trade agreements that have been languishing over the past 4 years. Unfortunately, this House in the last 4 years has failed to consider them. They would create good union and nonunion jobs for the American worker.

Good jobs for union and nonunion members would be created if we were to pursue that kind of policy.

Now, those agreements are pending. We've gotten a positive indication that the administration is going to be sending those to us. We need to move on those as quickly as possible. As we look at those market-opening opportunities, having the kind of innovative ideas that will be able to take place, creating new products is going to be wonderful because we'll have new markets for those products around the world.

And so that's why, again, Mr. Speaker, here we are under a process that allowed an amendment by my friend from Michigan, the distinguished ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary, to be made in order; my friend from Colorado from Boulder, Colorado (Mr. Polis), I'm very happy that we were able to make his amendment in order. Ms. Jackson Lee was here just a few minutes ago. She withdrew an amendment that she offered before the Rules Committee, and a similar amendment was offered by my colleague from California (Ms. Eshoo). We chose to make that amendment in order, which is virtually identical to the one that my friend from Houston offered.

And so as my friend from Lawrenceville, Georgia, my Rules Committee colleague, said, Mr. Speaker, here we are. We've made 15 amendments in order for considering allowing virtually every idea to be considered.

My friend from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) has his amendment made in order. And so the idea of somehow criticizing the Rules Committee and the action that we've taken is just way off base.

There were 15 amendments that are made in order under this bill; 10 amendments have been made in order for the Energy and Commerce legislation that's come before us.

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Mr. DREIER. If I can reclaim my time, Mr. Speaker, let me just say that I asked my staff about this, and they were unaware of exactly where this $1.1 billion figure came from. And so in light of that, it seems to me that we are in a position where we need to proceed with this very important work, and we're trying our doggonedest to make it happen.

We're going to allow proposals from Messrs. Rohrabacher, Conyers, and Polis and others to be considered, and that's why it's important that we pass this rule. If we don't pass this rule, we won't have the opportunity for the Rohrabacher, Conyers, and Polis ideas to be considered here on the House floor.

And so let me thank my friend for yielding. I know he has other speakers. And with that, I'm going to urge support of the rule.

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