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Public Statements

Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I thank the gentleman.

I think it's important for our colleagues to understand just what is being asked of this body. I believe it is a nullification of the Constitution, which I like to carry, and the very distinct definition of the three branches of government and their responsibilities.

Frankly, our friends are trying to equate this Congress and its do-nothing record to the work of the executives, and now to create a do-nothing pathway for the rulemaking process which, as I've indicated on many of the bills that have already passed, there is a Federal court process for anyone that wants to challenge the process of rulemaking or whether or not due process has been denied. So I'd actually say that what we have here is a complete shutdown of the Federal Government, for it is asking this Congress to pass a joint resolution of approval for any major rule to be passed.

Now, Mr. Chairman, let me suggest to you what would happen: Warnings on cigarette packages would no longer exist; Medicare payments for those lying in psychiatric hospitals would not be able to be paid; and the emissions standards for boiler pollutants, hazardous pollutants out of industrial, commercial, and institutional emissions would go flat; and we would have a nation that small businesses, I believe, would argue would also be a distraction from the work that they do.

It is interesting that my friends would want to use the backs of small businesses to pretend that they are protecting them. First of all, if they look at their facts, they will note the Obama administration has passed less rules than the Bush administration.

As I indicated, they will also note that the 111th Congress passed more constructive bills to help small businesses than this Congress could ever do, and the fact that they would note that it has been recorded that this Congress is the largest do-nothing Congress that has ever existed. It would be helpful if we could pass the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans, allow them to infuse dollars, 1,000 or $1,500, into the small businesses of America.

I will tell you that my small businesses will celebrate that. In visiting a medical clinic owned by a doctor that had thousands of feet that he wanted to rehab and expand, he said that payroll tax that was part of the jobs bill that the President wanted to pass through this do-nothing House of Representatives would have helped him greatly.

Then we have millions of Americans, 6 million, who are trying to get unemployment insurance. Here we are down to the last wire telling those in this blessed holiday season, whatever your faith, that you have to wait at the door and, in fact, there may not be any room at the inn for 6 million who don't have their unemployment insurance.

I don't want to shut down the government.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I thank the distinguished gentleman.

I don't want to shut down the government. I want a government that works. Rulemaking is not the demon here; and the process of rulemaking, if you read it, provides the input and assessment of those who are concerned.

What this does is involve the President, the Congress, in a scheme that is so dilatory that we will never do any work in this Congress. I beg of you to defeat this legislation.

[Begin Insert]
Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Chair, I rise today to debate H.R. 10 Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS). REINS would amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA) and require Congressional approval of all major rules (rules with an economic impact that is greater than $100 million). If Congress fails to act within 70 days the rule cannot be implemented. This change is targeted directly at executive agencies and does nothing to create jobs.

In other words, this bill is calling for Congressional oversight of Executive branch activities and functions. I have been serving as a member of this governing body since 1995, and oversight of the Executive branch is exactly what Congress does. One of the main functions of the Congressional Committees is oversight.

If Congress were required to proactively approve every federal rule, it would be extremely time consuming. The Federal agencies of the Executive branch are made up of experts in their respective fields. Many of the regulations that Federal agencies enact are very specific and require a high level of familiarity with the minute details of certain issues. The time it would take members of Congress to become adequately acquainted with each issue being proposed by each Federal agency would certainly be more productive if channeled into efforts to effect the change that Americans want. For example extending unemployment insurance, job creation, and encouraging job growth. Yet, here we are again wasting time on a measure that will not help our economy.

There is no credible evidence that regulations depress job creation. The Majority's own witness at the legislative hearing (on H.R. 3010 a bill based on the same false premise) clearly debunked the myth that regulations stymie job creation. Christopher DeMuth, who appeared on behalf of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, stated in his prepared testimony that the ``focus on jobs ..... can lead to confusion in regulatory debates'' and that ``the employment effects of regulation, while important, are indeterminate.''

If anything, regulations may promote job growth and put Americans back to work. For instance, the BlueGreen Alliance notes: ``Studies on the direct impact of regulations on job growth have found that most regulations result in modest job growth or have no effect, and economic growth has consistently surged forward in concert with these health and safety protections. The Clean Air Act is a shining example, given that the economy has grown 204% and private sector job creation has expanded 86% since its passage in 1970.''

Regulation and economic growth can go hand in hand. Regarding the Clean Air Act, the White House Office of Management and Budget (``OMB'') recently observed that 40 years of success with this measure ``have demonstrated that strong environmental protections and strong economic growth go hand in hand.'' Similarly, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the United Auto Workers cite the fact that increased fuel economy standards have already led to the creation of more than 155,000 U.S. jobs.

REGULATORY UNCERTAINTY IS NOT WHY BUSINESSES ARE NOT HIRING WORKERS

The claim that regulatory uncertainty hurts business has been debunked as political opportunism. Bruce Bartlett, a senior policy analyst in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations observed ``[R]egulatory uncertainty is a canard invented by Republicans that allows them to use current economic problems to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out. In other words, it is a simple case of political opportunism, not a serious effort to deal with high unemployment.''

Regulatory uncertainty does not deter business investment. A lack of demand, not uncertainty about regulation, is cited as the reason for not hiring.

At a legislative hearing on regulatory reform (H.R. 3010), Professor Sidney Shapiro similarly noted, ``All of the available evidence contradicts the claim that regulatory uncertainty is deterring business investment.''

A July 2011 Wall Street Journal survey of business economists found that the ``main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies.''

The most recent National Federation of Independent Business survey of its members likewise shows that ``poor sales''--not regulation--is the biggest problem. Of those reporting negative sales trends, 45 percent blamed faltering sales, 5 percent higher labor costs, 15 percent higher materials costs, 3 percent insurance costs, 8 percent lower selling prices and 10 percent higher taxes and regulatory costs.''

Small businesses reject the argument that deregulation is what they need. The Main Street Alliance, an alliance of small businesses, observes: ``In survey after survey and interview after interview, Main Street small business owners confirm that what we really need is more customers--more demand--not deregulation. Policies that restore our customer base are what we need now, not policies that shift more risk and more costs onto us from big corporate actors. ..... To create jobs and get our country on a path to a strong economic future, what small businesses need is customers--Americans with spending money in their pockets--not watered down standards that give big corporations free rein to cut corners, use their market power at our expense, and force small businesses to lay people off and close up shop.''

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of my amendment #6, to H.R. 10, ``Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny'' (REINS). This bill amends the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to require Congressional approval of all major rules (rules with an economic impact that is greater than $100 million). If Congress fails to act within 70 days the rule cannot be implemented. This change is targeted directly at executive agencies and does nothing to create jobs. Under current law Congress can provide oversight and disapprove of a promulgated bill.

My amendment would exempt all rules promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security. As a Senior Member of the Homeland Security and Ranking Member of the Transportation Security Subcommittee, I am very concerned about any legislation that would hinder the Department of Homeland Security's ability to respond to an emergency.

The bill would add new review requirements to an already long and complicated process, allowing special interest lobbyists to second-guess the work of respected scientists and staff through legal challenges, sparking a wave of litigation that would add more costs and delays to the rulemaking process, potentially putting the lives, health and safety of millions of Americans at risk.

The Department of Homeland Security simply does not have the time to be hindered by frivolous and unnecessary litigation, especially when the safety and security of the American people are at risk.

According to a study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, public protections and regulations ``do not tend to significantly impede job creation'', and furthermore, over the course of the last several decades, the benefits of federal regulations have significantly outweighed their costs.

There is no need for this legislation, aside from the need of some of my colleagues to protect corporate interests. This bill would make it more difficult for the government to protect its citizens, and in the case of the Department of Homeland Security, it endangers the lives of our citizens.

In our post 9/11 climate, homeland security continues to be a top priority for our nation. As we continue to face threats from enemies foreign and domestic, we must ensure that we are doing all we can to protect our country. DHS cannot react to the constantly changing threat landscape effectively if they are subject to this bill.

Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, we have overhauled the government in ways never done before. Steps have been taken to ensure that the communication failures that led to 9/11 do not happen again. The Department of Homeland Security has helped push the United States forward in how protect our nation. Continuing to make advance in Homeland security and intelligence is the best way to combat the threats we still face.

The Department of Homeland Security is tasked with a wide variety of duties under its mission. One example of an instance where DHS may have to act quickly to establish new or emergency regulations is the protection of our cyber security.

In the past few years, threats in cyberspace have risen dramatically. The policy of the United States is to protect against the debilitating disruption of the operation of information systems for critical infrastructures and, thereby, help to protect the people, economy, and national security of the United States.

We are all affected by threats to our cyber security. We must act to reduce our vulnerabilities to these threats before they can be exploited. A failure to protect our cyber systems would damage our Nation's critical infrastructure. So, we must continue to ensure that such disruptions of cyberspace are infrequent, of minimal duration, manageable, and cause the least possible damage.

Like other national security challenges in the post 9/11 era, the cyber threat is multifaceted and without boundaries. Some cyber attackers are foreign nations that utilize their military or intelligence-gathering operations, whereas others are either operating alone or are connected to terrorist groups. In addition, there are cyber threats that are international or domestic criminal enterprises.

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the number of cyber incidents reported by Federal agencies to US-CERT has increased dramatically over the past four years, from 5,503 cyber incidents reported in FY 2006 to about 30,000 cyber incidents in FY 2009 (over a 400 percent increase).

The four most prevalent types of cyber incidents and events reported to US-CERT during FY 2009 were malicious code; improper usage; unauthorized access and incidents warranting further investigations (unconfirmed malicious or anomalous activity).

Critical infrastructure in the Nation is composed of public and private institutions in the sectors of agriculture, food, water, public health, emergency services, government, defense industrial base, information and telecommunications, energy, transportation, banking and finance, chemicals and hazardous materials, and postal and shipping.

With cyberspace as their central nervous system--it is the control system of our country. Cyberspace is composed of hundreds of thousands of interconnected computers, servers, routers, switches, and fiber optic cables that allow our critical infrastructures to work. Thus, the healthy, secure, and efficient functioning of cyberspace is essential to both our economy and our national security.

In light of an attack that threatens the United State's cyber protection, Homeland Security officials may need to issue emergency regulations quickly. Attacks can be sent instantly in cyber space, and the protection of our critical infrastructure cannot be mitigated by cumbersome bureaucracy.

As the Representative for the 18th District of Texas, I know about vulnerabilities in security firsthand. Of the 350 major ports in America, the Port of Houston is the one of the busiest.

More than 220 million tons of cargo moved through the Port of Houston in 2010, and the port ranked first in foreign waterborne tonnage for the 15th consecutive year. The port links Houston with over 1,000 ports in 203 countries, and provides 785,000 jobs throughout the state of Texas. Maritime ports are centers of trade, commerce, and travel along our Nation's coastline, protected by the Coast Guard, under the direction of DHS.

If Coast Guard intelligence has evidence of a potential attack on the port of Houston, I want the Department of Homeland Security to be able to protect my constituents, by issuing the regulations needed without being subject to the constraints of this bill.

The Department of Homeland Security deserves an exemption not only because they may need to quickly change regulations in response to new information or threats, but also because they are tasked with emergency preparedness and response.

Take for example U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which identifies prosecutorial discretion as ``the authority of an agency charged with enforcing a law to decide to what degree to enforce the law against a particular individual.'' When ICE favorably exercises prosecutorial discretion, it ``essentially decides not to assert the full scope of the enforcement authority available to the agency in a given case.''

In the civil immigration enforcement context, prosecutorial discretion may take the form of a broad range of discretionary enforcement decisions, including: focusing enforcement resources on particular administrative violations or conduct; deciding whom to stop, question, or arrest for an administrative violation; deciding whether a suspect will be detained or released on bond; and granting deferred action, granting parole, staying a final order of removal, or other alternative to obtaining a formal order of removal.

Let me be clear; prosecutorial discretion is not amnesty; it is done on a case by case basis to ensure that the limited resources ICE has to work with are put toward removing those who pose a threat to the safety and security of the American people. Allowing ICE to identify and focus on priorities strengthens immigration enforcement by targeting the right individuals.
Furthermore, ICE Director John Morton issued a memorandum in March of 2011 that outlined the enforcement policies for the agency. Among the priority enforcement cases were aliens posing a risk to national security or public safety, recent illegal entrants, and those who are fugitives or have a history of violating U.S. immigration law.

Director Morton's memorandum indicates that prosecutorial discretion is by no means widespread, blanket amnesty for undocumented aliens; it is a law enforcement method used by many agencies, including ICE, under Republican and Democratic administrations. In fact, prosecutorial discretion allows ICE to allocate its resources to ensure their enforcement efforts provide for the safety and security of the nation. Why would this rule need additional scrutiny?

And another major impact rule deals with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule the final rule will provide DHS with an average of $209 million in FY2010 and FY2011 annual fee revenue, based on a projected annual fee-paying volume of 4.4 million immigration benefit requests and 1.9 million requests for biometric services, over the fee revenue that would be collected under the current fee structure. The increased revenue will be used to fund the full cost of processing immigration benefit applications and associated support benefits; the full cost of providing similar benefits to asylum and refugee applicants; and the full cost of similar benefits provided to others at no change. These are the sorts of rules that are going to be needlessly hindered by this Legislation.

Again, instead of focusing on jobs we are focusing on regulations that Congress already has the power to review and prevent its implementation if and when necessary.

There are many challenges our communities face when we are confronted with a catastrophic event or a domestic terrorist attack. It is important for people to understand that our capacity to deal with hurricanes directly reflects our ability to respond to a terrorist attack in Texas or New York, an earthquake in California, or a nationwide pandemic flu outbreak.

On any given day the city of Houston and cities across the United States face a widespread and ever-changing array of threats, such as: terrorism, organized crime, natural disasters and industrial accidents.

Cities and towns across the nation face these and other threats. Indeed, every day, ensuring the security of the homeland requires the interaction of multiple Federal departments and agencies, as well as operational collaboration across Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector. We can hinder the Department of Homeland Security's ability to protect the safety and security of the American people.

I urge my colleagues to support the Jackson Lee amendment in order to ensure that regulations that save lives that are promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security are not unnecessarily delayed by this legislation.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I am pleased to join my dear friend and colleague on the Judiciary Committee, the gentleman from Georgia, in offering this amendment as the Johnson-Jackson Lee amendment.

I hold a sign that, I think, speaks to the gist of this amendment, ``Make It In America.'' A number of us have been on the floor of the House on a regular basis talking about creating jobs and about making it in America. My good friend from Texas just passed an amendment without opposition, and I see no reason why the Jackson Lee-Johnson or Johnson-Jackson Lee amendment cannot be accepted in the very same way.

Bruce Bartlett, one of the senior policy analysts in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, observed that regulatory uncertainty is a canard, an invented canard, that allows those who use it to use current economic problems to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out. In other words, it is a simple case of opportunism because regulations don't stop you from creating jobs. In actuality, they provide cleaner air; they provide clean food; they provide the opportunity of a roadmap so that small and large businesses can do their work.

The Clean Air Act is a shining example. A lot of regulations came out of the Clean Air Act. Given that the economy since the Clean Air Act was passed
in 1970 under Richard Milhous Nixon, a Republican, it shows that the economy has grown 204 percent and that private sector job creation has expanded 86 percent.
I would ask my colleagues to join us in supporting the Johnson-Jackson Lee amendment. Let's make it in America. Let's ensure there is a regulatory process that exempts any regulation that creates jobs. I ask my colleagues to support the amendment.

[Begin Insert]
Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of amendment #2, that I offered along with my esteemed colleague Mr. JOHNSON, to H.R. 10 Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS). Our amendment would exempt the Office of Management and Budget once it is determined that the rules they offer will result in net job creation.

REINS would amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA) and require Congressional approval of all major rules (rules with an economic impact that is greater than $100 million). If Congress fails to act within 70 days the rule cannot be implemented. This change is targeted directly at executive agencies and does nothing to create jobs.

In other words, this bill is calling for Congressional oversight of Executive branch activities and functions. I have been serving as member of this governing body since 1995, and oversight of the Executive branch is exactly what Congress does. One of the main functions of the Congressional Committees is oversight.

If Congress were required to proactively approve every federal rule, it would be extremely time consuming. The Federal agencies of the Executive branch are made up of experts in their respective fields. Many of the regulations that Federal agencies enact are very specific and require a high level of familiarity with the minute details of certain issues. The time it would take members of Congress to become adequately acquainted with each issue being proposed by each Federal agency would certainly be more productive if channeled into efforts to effect the change that Americans want. For example extending unemployment insurance, job creation, and encouraging job growth. Yet, here we are again wasting time on a measure that will not help our economy.

As we consider REINS, it is important that we not forget that federal agencies have their own oversight process in place to ensure that proposed regulations are thoroughly vetted.

For every proposed regulation, agencies are required to issue notice of proposed rulemakings to the industry and market over which they regulate. Those entities then comment on the rules, and they go through many rounds of changes before a final order is enacted.

Furthermore, rules enacted by Federal agencies are subject to Congressional oversight and review, and must meet standards of judicial review. Arguably, rules and regulations issued by Federal agencies go through just as much, if not more, review as bills considered and passed by Congress.

Implementing this rule would put a tremendous burden on Congress, and to be frank, as members elected by our constituencies to represent their interests, our time could be utilized in a much more effective manner.

Instead of debating about oversight authority that Congress already has, we should be focusing on the issues that most concern the American people, particularly, creating jobs. As our country rebounds from one of the most severe economic downturns in our history, it is imperative that we make decisions that will enable our economy to grow and, most importantly, create jobs. We should be using our judgment in a manner that would create American jobs by comprehensively reforming our broken immigration system. We should be working to implement an orderly process for immigration that eases the burden on employers, improves documentation, and complements our enforcement efforts to make them more effective.

Healthy market competition not only protects consumers, but will help our economy to prosper. Congress should be examining the consolidation taking place in certain industries to ensure healthy competition is alive and thriving.

America is a free enterprise society, and small businesses are part of the backbone of our economy, employing a vast portion of Americans. We should be ensuring that any consolidation taking place in the marketplace does not push out small businesses and render them unable to compete.

In the last couple of years, some sweeping mergers and acquisitions have taken place. Just recently, it was reported that 500 jobs are being cut as a result of last year's United-Continental merger. As we face a high unemployment rate, and Americans struggle to make ends meet, every job counts. We should be investigating the outcomes of mergers such as United-Continental, amongst others, to ensure that no more precious jobs are being lost.

Many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have stood up here and emphasized the importance of jobs for American workers--especially in the context of immigration debates. However, one of the largest contributors to the lack of employment opportunities here in American is the outsourcing of jobs to other countries where the labor is less expensive. We should be focusing our efforts on ways to return outsourced jobs to American soil.

Bottom line, Congress has a large responsibility. We carry on our shoulders the needs of the American people. Our time here is valuable and our work load is great. We should not further burden this body with the work that an entire branch of government has already been commissioned to do, especially since Congress still has oversight authority.

For each one of us, the needs of the constituents in our districts should be our priority. The needs of the American people as a whole should be our priority.

There is no credible evidence that regulations depress job creation. The Majority's own witness at the legislative hearing clearly debunked the myth that regulations stymie job creation. Christopher DeMuth, who appeared on behalf of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, stated in his prepared testimony that the ``focus on jobs ..... can lead to confusion in regulatory debates'' and that ``the employment effects of regulation, while important, are indeterminate.''

If anything, regulations may promote job growth and put Americans back to work. For instance, According to the BlueGreen Alliance, notes: ``Studies on the direct impact of regulations on job growth have found that most regulations result in modest job growth or have no effect, and economic growth has consistently surged forward in concert with these health and safety protections. The Clean Air Act is a shining example, given that the economy has grown 204% and private sector job creation has expanded 86% since its passage in 1970.''

Regulation and economic growth can go hand in hand. Regarding the Clean Air Act, the White House Office of Management and Budget (``OMB'') recently observed that 40 years of success with this measure ``have demonstrated that strong environmental protections and strong economic growth go hand in hand.'' Similarly, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the United Auto Workers cite the fact that increased fuel economy standards have already led to the creation of more than 155,000 U.S. jobs.

The claim that regulatory uncertainty hurts business has been debunked as political opportunism. Bruce Bartlett, a senior policy analyst in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations observed ``[R]egulatory uncertainty is a canard invented by Republicans that allows them to use current economic problems to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out. In other words, it is a simple case of political opportunism, not a serious effort to deal with high unemployment.''

Regulatory uncertainty does not deter business investment. A lack of demand, not uncertainty about

regulation, is cited as the reason for not hiring.

At a legislative hearing on regulatory reform (H.R. 3010), Professor Sidney Shapiro similarly noted, ``All of the available evidence contradicts the claim that regulatory uncertainty is deterring business investment.''

A July 2011 Wall Street Journal survey of business economists found that the ``main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies.''

The most recent National Federation of Independent Business survey of its members likewise shows that ``poor sales''--not regulation--is the biggest problem. Of those reporting negative sales trends, 45 percent blamed faltering sales, 5 percent higher labor costs, 15 percent higher materials costs, 3 percent insurance costs, 8 percent lower selling prices and 10 percent higher taxes and regulatory costs.''

Small businesses reject the argument that deregulation is what they need. The Main Street Alliance, an alliance of small businesses, observes: ``In survey after survey and interview after interview, Main Street small business owners confirm that what we really need is more customers--more demand--not deregulation. Policies that restore our customer base are what we need now, not policies that shift more risk and more costs onto us from big corporate actors ......

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment to create jobs and get our country on a path to a strong economic future, what small businesses need is customers--Americans with spending money in their pockets--not watered down standards that give big corporations free reign to cut corners, use their market power at our expense, and force small businesses to lay people off and close up shop.''

[End Insert]

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

What America wants and what I believe is important to the institution that we have such great respect for is for Members to work together. There are a number of amendments that were allowed by the Rules Committee, and I thank them; and the idea should be that these amendments improve a bill.

It is obvious that I disagree with this bill because I think it will literally shut down government. If you cannot pass simple bills that have been passed out of the House of Representatives to the other body and they have not yet passed, we've finished one year of the 112th Congress, how do you think we can manage what is called major rulemaking? Eighty different rules would have to be approved by the President, the House, and the Senate. Literally, the American people would be held hostage.

So this amendment is a cooperative amendment. I think it makes the bill better. The reason why, we have our soldiers, most likely on the front lines of Afghanistan. On account of a heinous act of terrorism on 9/11, our soldiers were dispatched to defend this Nation in Afghanistan. In doing so, they had as their backup the Department of Homeland Security, a Department whose responsibility is to secure the homeland. Simply ask the 9/11 families how serious it is to secure the homeland.

My amendment would simply say that Homeland Security regulations or regulations dealing with securing the homeland, making America safe, would be exempt from this dilatory, long-winded process of approval. We need urgency when we speak of securing the homeland.

For example, it is well known that we deal not only with a terrorism potential from around the world, but it is also possible to have a catastrophic event that deals with a domestic terrorist attack.

I cannot believe that my colleagues would not want to act in a bipartisan manner and, in particular, with the REINS Act that requires a voted-on resolution of approval, otherwise the security amendment does not go into place. I cannot believe that we would not in a bipartisan way accept the Jackson Lee amendment.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I thank the gentleman for his explanation, but I think he plays right into the reason why he should join me and make this a bipartisan amendment.

Frankly, I don't think we would want to throw out or delay any process of rulemaking dealing with securing the homeland. I think when the gentleman was citing licenses, he was speaking 9/11. It is now 11 years, and we have passed a number of rulemakings that have improved securing the homeland. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, I'm quite aware of the progress we've made, such as not having to address that kind of, if you will, mishap--more than a mishap--but that kind of lack of communication that we had on 9/11.

The point I want to make is our soldiers are on the front line in Afghanistan. They are asking, as someone would say on the playing field, Have you got my back? The Department of Homeland Security is that Department created from the Select Committee on Homeland Security which I was on, now in the Homeland Security Committee, to in fact provide for the security of the Nation. With that in mind, I think it is untenable to think of thwarting that process.

What we have here in the REINS Act is truly the REINS Act. It is a stranglehold on moving the Nation forward on good regulations, clean air, clean water, but in this instance securing the homeland. I believe that having the President, the Senate, and the House come together in a reasonable period of time to approve a rule dealing with securing the homeland while soldiers are on the front line defending us is an atrocious position to put the securing of the Nation in.

Let me just say this, Bruce Bartlett is a Republican. He said that the regulatory uncertainty that Republicans talk about is a canard invented by Republicans that allows them to use current economic problems to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out. That's from a Republican.

The question is let's separate the special interests. The REINS Act is here. They have the majority. More than likely it will pass. But they're going to ignore our war and our fight to secure the homeland.

Here on the front line, what are we doing? We're putting a stranglehold on the rulemaking that will come forward that's attempting to help the American people. If we have to do something for the Transportation Security Administration and the security checkpoints and we need a rule, it's going to be held back because of this process.

I ask for the support of the Jackson Lee amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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