Mr. KILDEE. Mr. Speaker, I was sitting and listening to some of the previous speakers, and I heard more than one, but one in particular, make the point really forcefully that nobody wants this government shutdown, that universally we oppose, as Members of Congress, keeping our government closed. I just wish that were true.
I have been doing a lot of reading on this and looked back at some of the reports from months ago. There was a really interesting story in a magazine recently that described a strategy to not adopt the budget and to force an argument over the continuing resolution and to force the debate over the Affordable Care Act into the debate about the continuing resolution with the idea that if we don't, here in Congress, capitulate on a previously enacted law that the House and the Senate agreed to, that the President signed and the Supreme Court upheld, if we don't capitulate, that there will be a shutdown of the government. So I only wish it were true that not everybody in this body wanted to avoid this shutdown that is crippling our economy and hurting the American people.
There is something that we can do, however, to get out of this, and it would be simply to allow for a dose of democracy in the House of Representatives; because we know, and I have talked to many Members on both sides of the aisle, particularly Members on the other side, and it is not just the 17 that have already declared their willingness to buck the Tea Party leadership--and essentially the leader of the group in the House is the Senator from Texas. More than 17 are willing to vote for a clean bill to reopen government so that we can get back to the business of legislating. I think it is a big number. I suspect it might even be a majority of the other side. The Senate would approve it. It already has. The President said he would sign it, and a majority of this House, probably a majority of both parties, would approve a clean resolution to reopen government so that we can get on with the fights on things that we don't agree on. That's the way this democracy was designed.
I'm new here. I've only been here 9 months, but I've been following government, been a part of it for a long, long time. I'm a citizen who understands how our democracy is supposed to work; and I always believed that if a majority of both bodies agree on a particular position and the President agrees, that we can put a law through, sign it, and get on with the business.
The other side talks a lot about negotiating, having a conference committee. It is so interesting to me that back in April after both bodies, the House and the Senate, had adopted budget resolutions, that it was the Republican leadership that not only failed to, but refused to negotiate a budget resolution that could have avoided this whole thing in the first place. I had to wonder then--I was scratching my head--Why?
The charade of the last week or so has made it clear to me why: This was the intent all along, to shut down government and use that--the kindest term I can use, I suppose, is ``leverage''; I've heard others use other terms--but to use that leverage to try to extract from the government that which the other side couldn't win legislatively, couldn't win at the ballot box, but will use every tool, including the closing of the Federal Government and now the threat to default on our Federal obligations, and wreck the economy in doing so.
The President agrees, the Senate agrees, a majority of the House agrees we should continue to operate government. We should adopt the continuing resolution at the number that the Republican leadership has supported all along and get back to providing the services that our country needs and provide stability back into our economy.