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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss the House-passed continuing resolution now pending before the Senate.
Once again the Senate is considering a last-minute continuing resolution rather than regular-order appropriations bills. Handling the annual appropriations process in this way is a bad
deal for the American people, and it is a deal we have gone through for the last 4 years now without passing appropriations bills and having to deal with a continuing resolution or an omnibus, which is simply a terrible way to run this government.
Congress should be passing appropriations bills in regular order instead of waiting until the eleventh hour. I know the chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the ranking member are very much in favor of doing that and are ready to come to the floor to do that. But yet once again we are seeing the majority leader not let them come to the floor with those bills. This only creates uncertainty in the financial market and hampers America's economic recovery.
Unless we come to an agreement, the government is going to shut down Monday night because Congress failed to pass a bill that would fund the government for only a few months. And to what end? We will find ourselves back in this position in either November or December, when we will have to pass yet another continuing resolution. This is a foolish way to run the U.S. Government.
I was here in 1995 during the last government shutdown. It cast a pall on the American people, seeded distrust of government, and unnecessarily harmed our economy. It was not a pretty sight from either a political standpoint on either side of the aisle or from the standpoint of the American people or the government employees. No one wins when the government is shut down, least of all the American people.
We are all aware of the issues that have thus far slowed down the progress of this bill. While there may be differences of opinion on our side of the aisle about tactics, let me tell you--let there be no doubt--we are all unified in believing that ObamaCare should be stopped and should be defunded.
I was here on this floor a few years back when we fought tooth and nail to stop passage of ObamaCare. I believed it to be the worst piece of legislation I had seen in my now going on 19 years of serving in the U.S. Congress. And it still is the worst piece of legislation and the most damaging piece of legislation to the American people that I have seen in those 19 years.
As the October 1 enrollment date nears, President Obama's signature law continues to face several significant problems. Employers are cutting jobs and slashing employees' hours; businesses and labor unions are unhappy and want to be exempted from the law; families are confused, and insurance premiums for people who cannot afford them in the first place are now skyrocketing. In my home State of Georgia alone, our insurance commissioner has warned us that we could see premium increases as high as 198 percent on middle-income families. Other States have reported similar increases. So it is no surprise that a majority of Americans believe ObamaCare should be repealed and should be replaced.
I remain as committed as ever to dismantle and defund this law before it has a chance to further damage our economy and to replace it with a meaningful reform of our health care system.
The continuing resolution delivered by the House of Representatives to the Senate funds the government while defunding ObamaCare. It is what the American people want, and it is a bill I support. I will oppose any attempt by Majority Leader Reid to strip defunding language from this bill.
However, while I believe ObamaCare is a serious threat to the future of our Nation's economy, allowing a prolonged government shutdown would be counterproductive. My priority has always been the well-being of Georgians, as well as the American people, and I cannot support a strategy that could cause Americans to suffer unnecessarily. Further harm to our already fragile economy is not a course we should pursue, nor should it be a price our friends on the other side of the aisle are willing to pay just to uphold the President's signature law.
This fight is long from over. It is something Republicans have been fighting since 2009, since we first tried to stop ObamaCare from becoming law. I am grateful that this debate has brought the problems with this law back into the spotlight and look forward to repealing and replacing this law at the end of the day.
I yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
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