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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1120, Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding.

In the summer of 2011, as the country continued to see rising deficits, Members of the Congress knew that they had to do something about that in connection with the extension of what we call the debt ceiling, which lets the country borrow money to pay its bills.

As a part of that agreement, a large number of people from both parties voted for something that hasn't turned out very well, and it's called sequestration. This is not something that's just a word that gets tossed around in this Chamber and has political consequences; it is having a real and negative impact on the country.

I just came from a hearing of the Armed Services Committee where the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense told us that nine battle groups and three bomber groups of our Air Force and our Navy planes have been grounded. About one-third of the Nation's air capacity isn't flying.

Across the country today, people who are on Medicare who need chemotherapy treatments from their doctors' offices are finding that many doctors are declining to do chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients because of the cuts that take place in sequestration.

I met earlier this week with employees of the Naval Sea Systems engineering command in Philadelphia, whom I represent. They are looking at a 20 percent pay cut because of furloughs. These are real problems that are affecting real people. The House is opting to do nothing about this--nothing.

The economists have told us that these ill-advised sequestration cuts will cost the economy 750,000 jobs this year. Mr. Van Hollen, my friend from Maryland, has a bill, and that bill says that we should save an amount of money equal to what the sequestration is allegedly saving and not have these cuts in cancer care and not have a third of our air power grounded and not have Federal employees take a 20 percent pay cut.

Mr. Van Hollen proposes that we cut subsidies to huge oil companies, that we cut subsidies to huge agribusinesses, and we have people who make more than $1 million a year in income pay a slightly higher tax rate. I understand, ladies and gentlemen of the House, that some would agree with that proposal and others would disagree with that proposal. That's democracy.

We're not even taking a vote on that proposal because the majority Republican leadership has refused to put on this floor any piece of legislation that would stop this harm to the country. I know they'll say it's the President's fault or it's the Senate's fault or it's whoever.

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Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I know that there will be lots of back and forth about whose fault it was that we got into this position. It's everyone's fault. There are people on both sides of the aisle that made a bad judgment on this. I'm one of them. But now we have a responsibility to fix it; and if the majority has an idea as to how we could fix the sequester problem, bring it to the floor.

Since the new Congress took office on January 3 of this year, there has not been one hearing, not one markup, not one bill, not one vote on fixing this problem that threatens the jobs of 750,000 Americans. Rather than this metaphysical legal debate we're about to have about the National Labor Relations Board, why don't we put on the House floor legislation that would create jobs in this country, postpone the sequester, and deal with the problems that we talked about here today. The House is in session, but it's missing in action when it comes to addressing the real problems of the American people.

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