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Mr. WOODALL. I thank my chairman for yielding the time, and I want to thank my chairman for his work on opening this process up in the House. He's teamed up with our new Speaker to say that regular order is the better way to do things.
I want to say, and it needs to be said, it's too easy when all you do is read the headlines in this town to start pointing the finger of blame. Here is National Journal, one of our dailies: Dems Sign Conference Report. The White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had blocked passage of the measure.
It's not about where the blame is; it's about where the successes are.
When you look behind me, Mr. Speaker, at this stack of pages that represents this bill, what that represents is the work that didn't get done last year but that Norm Dicks and that Hal Rogers have come together to get done this year. When we talk about regular order and the regular order that hasn't happened this year, what we need to talk about is the fact that we had no regular order on appropriations bills last year. We got six of them passed through appropriations, the regular order process, this year. That's half. That's 50 percent of the way there, and I know we have a commitment from the Appropriations Committee to get the rest of them there next year.
This is a success story. This is not a failure. Is this the way that I wanted to legislate, 2,300 pages? No, it's not. And it's not the way that the Appropriations Committee wants to legislate, and it's not the way any Member of this House wants to legislate, and it's 50 percent better than what we did last year. We're going to get back to regular order. We're going to get back to regular order by clearing out the work from 2012--I'm sorry, 2011 was this year. We are now finishing 2012 today. We're going to be able to start 2013.
I sit on the Budget Committee. My commitment to my friends on the Appropriations Committee is we're going to move that budget. We're going to move it early. We're going to move it on time, and we're going to be done by the end of March so that you all can begin your important work. It's not just about the spending of the money. It's about the oversight of how the money is spent. And that's why regular order is so important.
Do you know that there is only one committee in this House that comes to the Rules Committee day in and day out and says this: I want an open rule on my bill so that all Members can be heard. I do not want waivers to go along with it, and I want the House to operate under regular order? There's only one, and it's the Appropriations Committee.
When you see what's going on today and what we're doing in the name of completing our business for the year, understand that this is the one committee in the House that wants to give everybody a say. This is the one committee in the House that tries to make every Member's opinion count. And if we can successfully deal with this in the same bipartisan way that we have been throughout the year, we can move this business today and begin anew, as we all want to, on January 1 of next year.
I thank my chairman, and I thank the appropriators for their very hard work.
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