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Public Statements

Legislative Program

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Maryland, the Democratic whip, for yielding.

I too want to join the gentleman in expressing our sorrow and extending our thoughts and prayers to those in the Hokie Nation in Blacksburg who, unfortunately, have endured more pain today, reminiscent of the pain that so many have felt in that fine university in the past. Hopefully, things can look up. I know that there are reports that law enforcement was involved. We also want to extend our thanks to law enforcement in that community as well as everywhere else in this country--certainly in this Capitol--for what individuals of the Capitol Police and other police forces across the country do for us every single day.

Again, we express our sorrow to those who are mourning the loss of life and extend our thoughts to President Steger at Virginia Tech and to that community.

I do thank the gentleman from Maryland for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, the House will meet at noon for morning hour and 2 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

At this point, the House is scheduled to be in session for the remainder of the week, with a weekend session possible. Per our usual weekly schedule, I would expect morning hour on most days to begin at 10 a.m. and legislative business to start by noon. However, because this will likely be our last week in session prior to the end of the year, the daily convening times may fluctuate to accommodate our year-end business.

I can assure Members, however, that we do not expect votes on Tuesday, December 13, prior to 1 p.m. That is as far as Tuesday, December 13 is concerned.

Mr. Speaker, our legislative business next week will include a number of suspensions, a complete list of which will be announced by the close of business tomorrow. In addition, we expect to consider a conference report on the remaining appropriations bills for FY12 as well as a conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act. I want to thank both Chairman HAL ROGERS and Chairman Buck McKeon for their incredibly hard work throughout the year.

Finally, we anticipate a vote on a year-end package of expiring laws that will include extensions of the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits, and the physician reimbursement issue.

If the gentleman will continue to yield, Mr. Speaker, I want to take a minute to highlight a bipartisan event that took place here in the Capitol this week.

Yesterday the Democratic whip and I hosted the first-ever Facebook Hackathon, allowing private sector programmers and software developers to get together with us to work on ways to utilize social media in making Congress more accessible to the public. I'm happy to report that over 200 developers from all over the country participated in this bipartisan event and shared their ideas.

I thank the gentleman for joining me and for his help in facilitating this noteworthy cause, and I look forward to working with him to continue to make Congress a more transparent and accessible institution for the people who have sent us here.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I would respond to the gentleman by saying that we are still in discussion about that bill and in drafting; and we do intend to abide by our necessary 3-day notice period so that all sides and all Members, as well as the public, can enjoy their right to know what will be in that legislation. But the gentleman is correct, we do expect that bill on the floor next week.

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Mr. CANTOR. Well, you may have made the point.

Maybe, Mr. Speaker, what I'm trying to say is that I disagree with the gentleman, that if the provisions dealing with the Keystone pipeline are in the measure that makes it to the floor that we shouldn't join together and do what was done in the past, and that is demonstrate a strong bipartisan vote in support of that project. Because, as the gentleman knows, organized labor in this country is very supportive of that bill, of that provision. It means immediate jobs. The President continues to say he is for creating jobs, doing all we can to get America back to work. This is a provision that allows for that.

We also have seen, Mr. Speaker, in response to the gentleman's concerns about Nebraska and the issues raised by its Governor as well as its State legislature, I believe and am told that there have been many discussions in which an alternative route has been determined, and there is agreement on that to allow for the proceeding of the construction of the pipeline.

Again, knowing that there is strong bipartisan support for the project, knowing that labor is in support of it, knowing that it puts people back to work immediately, it would seem to me that this is a consistent provision to go along with making sure that we deal with the unemployment situation in this country through an extension of the UI provisions--with, hopefully, some reforms--as well as the extension of the payroll tax holiday.

As the gentleman knows, our side is concerned. We don't want taxes to go up on anybody, especially in an economy like this. But again, I hope the gentleman can consider joining us in terms of helping promote an environment for job creation.

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Mr. CANTOR. I'd just say to the gentleman I've already responded to the notion of issues arising in Nebraska that I am told have been resolved, so the issue that he is concerned about has apparently been resolved.

I would say to the gentleman there are 47 Members on his side of the aisle, including five ranking members of committees, that have supported the measure allowing for the construction proceeding on the Keystone pipeline.

There's no gratuitous move here. It's an attempt to try and bring the two sides together on the most important issue, which is creating jobs. This is a provision that I believe has been demonstrated has support on both sides of the aisle.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I would hope the gentleman could refrain from trying to say and impute motives here. We're trying to work in a fashion--open, transparent, together so that we don't come to any kind of end that doesn't produce a result for the people. That's it.

Again, I appreciate the gentleman's sentiments.

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Mr. CANTOR. Sure. Absolutely.

First of all, the issue of insider trading is something that we abhor as well, do not tolerate, and believe that all Members of Congress should fall under the same laws that apply to anyone, and want to make sure that is the case, if it is not.

And transparency is the key because the public needs to know what their Members are doing. We intend to take this issue, make sure that concerns that have been raised by Members on both sides of the aisle are being vetted. This is an issue of extreme import for the confidence of the public towards this institution. We intend to do so in a deliberate manner.

There were issues raised again by Members on both sides of the aisle about this bill not being brought up in a vetted way. There are many other chairmen who have jurisdiction in this matter who need to be involved in this with a full vetting, and we intend to do that. And I do hope the gentleman will work with us in doing so.

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