Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, as always it's my privilege and honor to address you here on the floor of the United States House of Representatives and take up a series of issues that I think you should be considering, and I would recommend that be the case as long as the broader part of the body of this Congress and the public is listening in to this conversation that we are having, Mr. Speaker.
I would make a series of points on where our Nation needs to focus our energy, where this Congress needs to focus its energy, and how we turn this country back into the country that was envisioned by our Founding Fathers. I would make the point, Mr. Speaker, that we have now, coming on almost 4 years ago, elected a President who rode into office with a large majority in his party, in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
I warned then, going into the 2008 election, that if America elected--and I quote it this way--the ruling troika, the troika of President Obama, the majority leader of the United States Senate, Harry Reid, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, that the three of them could go into a phone booth and thereafter make a decision on what they decided to do to America without accountability that could check them in their very active endeavor to shape America in a way that wasn't envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
Lo and behold, Mr. Speaker, that is what happened. The voters in 2008 made that decision. They expanded the Democrat majority here in the House of Representatives. They also elected Barack Obama to the Presidency, the most liberal President America has ever seen and, of course, maintained a majority of Democrats in the United States Senate.
What unfolded was an effort here in the House that passed cap-and-trade, and we stood here on the floor, Mr. Speaker, over and over again and did battle with cap-and-trade. We called it cap-and-tax. Cap-and-tax was the right way to describe the bill that would tax people who were burning hydrocarbons and, doing so, create a disadvantage for American industry and an advantage for the industries in places like India and China, where they care less about what goes into the atmosphere than we do here in this country.
That legislation, which I will always believe we had the ability to kill--even in the House Republican minority at the time--if we had turned up all of our efforts, we had the ability to kill it, Mr. Speaker. We didn't get that done.
We came close. We didn't get that done. And the cap-and-tax legislation passed over to the United States Senate, where it was subsequently killed in the Senate. But the sentiment of the President of the United States; the Speaker of the House, then Nancy Pelosi; and the majority leader of the United States Senate was to impose cap-and-trade or cap-and-tax on us. And they tried. They tried mightily. And President Obama has since said that if he can't get cap-and-tax passed--he would say cap-and-trade, Mr. Speaker--that he would implement it by rule and implement it by regulation if the Congress will not comply with his directive.
Now, we haven't heard very much about that effort in the media--not very much from the President, not very much from Democrats in this Congress or Democrats in the United States Senate. But it remains that this executive branch is implementing rules and regulations to carry out the initiative of cap-and-tax, cap-and-trade, which has been so rejected by the American people and exposed to be at least perpetuated by a fraud of dated information that went back and forth between the United Kingdom and the United States.
So that's one piece that has been coming at us. It's a result of that decision made by the voters in 2008. And as they pushed on cap-and-tax from that election, we saw then also that supermajority of the House Democrats, Senate Democrats, and the most liberal President America has ever seen. By the way, Mr. Speaker, I'm not making that number up. That is the data that shows that when they measured the votes of the United States Senators during the entire tenure of Barack Obama as a United States Senator, which I recognize wasn't long, he voted to the left of every Senator in the United States Senate, including Bernie Sanders, the Independent Senator from Vermont, who I served with in the House of Representatives. I personally like the gentleman. He's a self-professed socialist. Yet Barack Obama voted to the left of the self-professed socialist Senator, Bernie Sanders, and the left of every United States Senator.
While he was a Senator advancing cap-and-tax, cap-and-trade, he said that under his proposal of cap-and-tax, cap-and-trade, that the costs of electricity generated by coal would ``necessarily skyrocket.'' Well, that's happening. They have written regulations through the EPA and other means of the executive branch of government to the point now where it's been I think clearly established that from a regulatory perspective it is not just virtually, Mr. Speaker, but literally impossible for a new coal-fired generating plant, no matter how clean burning that coal might be, to be constructed in the United States.
We tried that in Iowa a year and a half or so ago, to build a coal-fired plant in Marshalltown. It had the best combination of entities that you could bring together that could utilize this and the longest-term, best vision you could put together with the engineering and the business model. And they finally had to, as we say on the chess board, tip over their king and concede that they couldn't build a new coal-fired plant.
Now it's become ever increasingly clear that expanding coal-fired generation also is regulatorily virtually impossible, perhaps literally impossible as well.
So the costs of our electricity go up and the leverage that comes in on creating subsidized forms of energy that fit within the political wishes of the President seems to be pushed well out of the White House. In any case, Mr. Speaker, that was one of the fights that went on here in this Congress back in those years between 2008 and the election in 2010.
Of course, another one was the passage of ObamaCare. ObamaCare sometimes is described as the pejorative way that it should define the health care plan that the President advanced and that had the full support of then-Speaker Pelosi. I would remind people of that--then-Speaker Pelosi.
That legislation first came to this floor as H.R. 3200. That was the precursor to the final package of ObamaCare. In the end, the bill that they define it as--two different bills, by the way. One, a reconciliation package that was slid around the filibuster in the Senate. That's a component of ObamaCare. The other one was legislation that passed out of the House and Senate with a supermajority in the Senate--a temporary supermajority in the Senate, I might add--and that was only passed because there was a promise made here that the President would sign an executive order that in effect amended legislation that the House was about to pass.
Now, Mr. Speaker, if there are any civics students listening to this discussion, I imagine that I have just heard their jaws drop across America, to think that the President of the United States, who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago as an adjunct professor, would think that he, now as President of the United States, could sign an executive order that could amend legislation under the promise that it would amend legislation that was about to be passed on that condition in the House of Representatives.
That took place right here, Mr. Speaker. That's what's happened to this country. That's what's happened to the constitutional constructs of this country when you have leftist activists in charge of this government and they took the bit in their teeth and they ran off the cliff into the left and we ended up with ObamaCare, which they call the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. You can walk up and down the streets of America, and with the exception of right around the Capitol here in Washington, D.C., I would suggest that you wouldn't find two people in 100 that would know what that means.
We know what ObamaCare means. That's the President's advance of the health care policy that takes away our constitutional right to manage our own health care. And I tell people often that ObamaCare needs to be repealed for a lot of reasons. It's unaffordable, it's unsustainable, and it does set up rationing. Sarah Palin was right: it reduces research and development. It
means that America will no longer be the lead in the innovation and health care systems in the world.
All of those things are bad and wrong and unsustainable about it, but the worst thing is that ObamaCare is unconstitutional. It's a direct assault on Americans, on our sovereign right. Mr. Speaker, the most sovereign thing that any of us has in the United States or anyplace in the world is our own soul. We protect that. We decide. That's freedom of religion that's in the First Amendment in the United States Constitution, take care of your soul. That's sovereign.
The second most sovereign thing we have is our health: our bodies, our skin, and everything inside it. And what is ObamaCare? They went in and nationalized Chrysler. They nationalized General Motors. For a time, they nationalized three large investment banks, AIG, Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac. The entire flood insurance program in the United States and the student loan program in the United States, all of that taken over by the Federal Government in the last few years.
And then ObamaCare came along. And that is, Mr. Speaker, the nationalization of your skin and everything inside it and a 10 percent tax on the outside if you go to the tanning salon, just to add a little extra insult to injury.
That's what ObamaCare has done. It has tapped into this vigorous American people, the most vigorous people the world has ever seen. We've skimmed the cream of the crop off of every donor civilization on the planet and gotten the best that any civilization had to offer because they were inspired by the American Dream, inspired by those visions that are embodied within the Statue of Liberty. Those visions altogether attracted people to come here to this country so they could live free, be free, breathe free, and do as they will in a free enterprise system that has a rule of law, freedom of speech, religion, and the press and assembly, and no double jeopardy and tried by a jury of your peers and states' rights that flow down to the States or the people respectively.
All of that is the promise of America. And when you come to America and you embrace that promise, then you can work to achieve the American Dream. But the Federal Government taking over the nationalization of our bodies takes that away from us. And the 1,300 health insurance companies that we had 2 1/2 years ago when the ruling troika imposed ObamaCare on this country are fewer now. The 100,000 possible health insurance policies that were out there on the marketplace that one could choose from are fewer now. And the government stepped in and reached more.
And just yesterday, I got the news that Nemschoff Company, which is a subsidiary of Herman Miller, Inc., and provides 111 jobs up in Sioux Center, Iowa--111 jobs making furniture and other equipment, a lot of it that goes into medical clinics and hospitals, a specialized type of a production facility, 111 jobs, will close its doors, and they cited, Mr. Speaker, ObamaCare. The uncertainty and the cost and the burden of the imposition of ObamaCare upon a company that's building products for health care causes them to shut their doors down. They didn't give any other reason. I didn't talk with them. I didn't solicit this. That was what came out in their press release. And I learned it when I read the paper.
ObamaCare forces them into a situation where they are shutting down a company that has been there for years, and it has 1,100 jobs. Well, the profit has been taken out of it for them. That's why the plant has to be closed.
We need to remember that this economy doesn't function to produce jobs. This economy and this free enterprise system we have functions to give a return on capital. When capital is invested, it needs to be invested with an anticipation that there will be profits. And that anticipation for profit is what brings about jobs. And keeping those jobs competitive is what is an incentive to produce the expanses in technology so that America can be the innovators for the world and the most competitive economy in the world.
But this administration seems to believe that you can't have a business model unless you can have the government at the table. And the government will decide what kind of health insurance policy you can buy and that you shall buy it, and that there is an individual mandate in ObamaCare that takes away our constitutional rights, and that's the unconstitutional taking of the second most sovereign thing we have, which is our skin and everything inside it.
And if the Supreme Court--and I believe, Mr. Speaker, they will make a prudent constitutional decision, and I anticipate that decision very early--well, I will say next month sometime I anticipate that decision. They will be deliberate on this, that the Constitution defines a limited government, the principle of federalism.
The principle of federalism isn't to grow the Federal Government, it is to limit the size of the Federal Government and for those powers to be devolved down as close to the people as possible. The Federal Government should be the last resort, not the first option. If you can take care of things at the family level, take care of it at the family level. If you can't do that, take care of it at the friend level. If you can't do that, do so in your church. Do so in your neighborhood. Do so in your school. Do so in your community. Do so in your county. And if you can't do that, do so in your State. But as a last desperate resort, the Federal Government then maybe can step in if the cause is high enough and there is a constitutionally enumerated power to do so.
But this enumerated power of the Commerce Clause is where the proponents of ObamaCare pointed to argue that they have the constitutional authority to require every American that fits within their defined category to a buy health insurance policy that's approved by Barack Obama with the mandates on it that are approved by Barack Obama which, by way, include by Presidential edict--legislation by not Executive order; not legislation from the bench as we sometimes complain about with an activist judicial branch. The President of the United States legislated by press conference when he directed Kathleen Sebelius to issue the order that even our faith-based organizations, and especially our Catholic health care providers, but it also includes many of the Protestant organizations, that they shall provide contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients, and they shall do so free of charge, that it should be part of every health insurance policy.
So, Mr. Speaker, can you imagine if you were someone who had committed your life to Christ, for example, a celibate priest, a celibate nun, you're required to provide contraceptives for those who are not, and if it violates your religious convictions, whether or not you wear a collar? We can't discriminate in favor of someone who happens to be a professional reverend or pastor or a bishop or a cardinal. And a layperson on the street whose convictions may be as deep needs to have the same conscience protections from a religious perspective. And so for the Federal Government to step in and declare, You're going to provide health care services; you're going to buy this health insurance policy, and you will guarantee that it'll cover contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients, abortion-causing drugs for every one of your employees even if you're in the business to oppose the idea of abortion-causing drugs.
The President got the political pushback on that, Mr. Speaker, and over a couple-weeks period of time of taking the crossfire that came from across this country directed at the White House for the audacity to make that declaration, the President held a press conference and said--it was at noon on a Friday several weeks ago now, and he said this: I'm going to make an accommodation to the religious organizations, and, therefore, rather than requiring Catholic Hill Services, for example, to provide abortion-causing drugs and sterilization and Cadillac contraceptives, I'm going to instead make that accommodation and require the insurance companies to do that for free.
Now, you heard me say a little bit ago ``legislation by press conference,'' Mr. Speaker, and I say that because of this: The rule that was issued by Health and Human Services' Kathleen Sebelius that imposed this thing on religious health care providers especially, that rule was never changed. The language is identical to what it was. There is not an ``i'' dotted differently or a ``t'' crossed differently. The rule is the same. So the only thing that changed was the President did a press conference and said: Okay, I'm going to cut you some slack, religious organizations. I'm going to make an accommodation to you, and I'm now going to require the insurance companies provide it for free. He repeated himself: For free.
The audacity. King George would not have the audacity to step up and do a press conference 230 years ago and say to America: Well, regardless of what the Parliament thinks, I'm just going to go ahead and require you to, let's say, buy tea at the rate that the British would like us to buy. No, there would be a tea party in Boston Harbor if that happened.
Well, there's going to be a tea party in this country, too, only it's going to take place in November, and the American people will reflect on what has happened over these 3-plus, going now on 4 years, the imposition
of ObamaCare on all of America without regard to the Constitution and the restraint, requiring people to buy a health insurance policy that's approved by the Federal Government that has mandates that are stuck into it by what? Not by legislative action. Not by a rule approved by the United States Congress. By an executive branch that's directed out of the White House to write up the rules however they see fit and a President that has the audacity--and that's one of his favorite words, by the way, Mr. Speaker--the audacity to seek to legislate by press conference. Edicts by press conference. It is breathtaking the extra-constitutional reach that's been taken by this President and this administration, and this country needs to rise up and get back to our constitutional underpinnings. We need to reject ObamaCare.
I want to see this House vote again this summer after the Supreme Court decision, no matter what the Supreme Court decision is, and I'm optimistic about getting a constitutional decision from the Supreme Court. But I want to see this Congress vote again for a 100 percent repeal of ObamaCare so everybody's on record, everybody understands that it must all go. It must all be pulled out by the roots. There can be no vestige of ObamaCare left behind. It's an unconstitutional taking of American liberty. In a vigorous Nation, Mr. Speaker, we cannot reach our destiny if we are tied to the anchor of ObamaCare that directs and rules our lives and consumes about 17 or more percent of our gross domestic product.
And so the difference is this: The troika of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama has been broken. It was broken in the election of 2010 when they saw the extra-constitutional reach of ObamaCare. They saw the effort on cap-and-trade. They saw Dodd-Frank pass through the House and the Senate and become law, an overreach. You had the people involved in the solution for the economic downward spiral that were contributing to the problem.
There are a whole series of things that we need to put this aright, Mr. Speaker. One of them is to scrub out the regulations that have been put in place in an effort to try to implement cap-and-trade around the resistance of this United States Congress, the separation of powers that's clear in the Constitution itself between the legislative and the executive and the judicial branches of government. I'm just very confident that Barack Obama taught those separations of powers, that the article I component of this that says, Here, this is how we set up the legislature. They set the laws. They set the policy, and the establishment of the executive branch of government whose job it is to carry out the laws and take care that the laws are faithfully executed.
We have a President who apparently encourages someone like Eric Holder to disregard especially immigration laws and only enforce those laws that, let me say, do not make them politically vulnerable. They decided they had 300,000 people that were in this country illegally that had been already adjudicated for deportation, and they said we don't have the resources to enforce the law against everybody that's here illegally, and so they committed their resources to going back through the files, looking through 300,000 forms of people that had been adjudicated for deportation and coming up with a reason or an excuse to try to let them stay in America, to try to turn another blind eye. Those resources had already been used to enforce the law; all they had to do was follow through with the directive of Congress.
The administration created this new argument that has never been heard before, I think, in the history of jurisprudence that Congress had directed the executive branch--this is in their assertion in the Arizona immigration case--to establish and maintain a ``careful balance'' between the various immigration laws because it affects the different interests of the executive branch.
Enforcing immigration affects our foreign relations, so the State Department has an interest. It affects our homeland security, so Janet Napolitano has an interest. It affects, perhaps, the educational system, and so you have the Secretary of Education with an interest. And it goes on and on and on. These are not competing interests. Congress has directed that all of these laws be faithfully enforced, and the administration has refused. That's a new approach to, let me say, prosecutorial discretion, Mr. Speaker. It goes on and on.
We have to repeal ObamaCare, repeal Dodd-Frank, pass a balanced-budget amendment to the United States Constitution. It's clear this Congress doesn't have the will to balance the budget. Maybe a simple majority in the House could be convinced to do so; it would be very tough. You can't get it done in the United States Senate. Even if we could balance the budget, we can't keep that happening year after year and pay down and then off this national debt. We need a balanced-budget amendment to the United States Constitution.
My advice, Mr. Speaker, to the next President of the United States would clearly be: refuse to sign a debt ceiling increase as President unless and until the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States pass an acceptable balanced-budget amendment out of each Chamber that's identical in message to the States for ratification. If we can get that done, then there is a justification to give a short-term extension to our debt ceiling here in this Congress. If not, we need to hold the line until such time as the will is brought into this Congress to bring forth a balanced budget and to pay down and then off our national debt.
My youngest little granddaughter, Reagan Ann King, was born about 19--or maybe now 20 months--ago. Into the world she came with her share of the national debt at $44,000. I looked at that little girl and I thought, you know, a typical student loan might be $24,000, might be $30,000, but she's got a $44,000 loan and a mortgage on her head with interest accumulating every day, and she has just drawn her first breath. By the time she turned 1 year old, her share of the national debt was $48,000. And this little blonde-haired, brightest blue-eyed little girl with a beautiful giggle and smile doesn't know what kind of responsibility has been stuck on her by people that are living today at her expense and the expense of all of those babies that have been born and those yet to be born that will be taxpayers--and only about half of them fit that category today.
So, Mr. Speaker, that little girl turned 1 1/2 years old, and now her $44,000 debt that was $48,000 on her first birthday, it became $51,000 when she's 1 1/2 years old. She's going to be a taxpayer and a producer, and so you have to take that times two because only half the people have a Federal income tax liability.
So, $102,000 on the head of every American, young and old, that's our national debt. And we've watched trillion-dollar deficits roll up over the last 3 1/2 years. The President's budget came to this floor at $1.33 trillion in deficit--$1.33 trillion, Mr. Speaker--and now we're approaching $16 trillion in national debt and it's got to stop.
We have to turn this country around. The American voters spoke in 2010. They sent 87 freshmen here into this House of Representatives who are constitutional conservatives, and every one of them voted to repeal ObamaCare. They want a balanced budget; they want a balanced-budget amendment. They are God's gift to America.
We need another one in November 2012, and more fresh faces and more vigorous people here that will adhere to repeal of ObamaCare, a balanced-budget amendment, an all-of-the-above energy plan. We need more of the same kind of people in the United States Senate and a President that will sign that legislation into law. I look forward to the privilege to work with those new faces as they arrive here and work to make the case before the American people every day from now until November, and thereafter.
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your attention, and I yield back the balance of my time.