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Public Statements

Speaker Boehner, Let Your People Go

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Garamendi for bringing us all together tonight. I couldn't stand with better Americans than I am standing with tonight. I mean that.

Mr. Speaker, the latest supercommittee plan that folks on the other side of the aisle gave us today is really absurd. In fact, as a member of the Budget Committee, this new-found Republican insistence on negotiations, referred to by Mr. Doyle from Pennsylvania, is mind boggling, since my colleagues have spent the last 6 months avoiding negotiations. And I didn't come here tonight to water the wine, so we're going to say it like it is.

My fellow Americans, this House of Representatives passed its budget over 200 days ago on March 21. Then the Senate passed its budget 2 days later. Now, think about what I just said. What happened to it? Well, the usual protocol is the two sides name conferees, they come together in conference, and they work out a budget. That didn't happen. That's 6 months ago. We've been asking to go to conference so we can resolve our differences, and there are always differences within parties, between parties, you name it. We want to fund the government. We want to get rid of sequestration, like Chairman Rogers said on July 31, 2013:

I believe the House has made its choice. Sequestration--and its unrealistic, ill-conceived discretionary cuts--must be brought to an end.

Mr. Rogers is the chairman, a Republican, he said it. He said that; I didn't say that. He said it better than I could ever imagine saying it.

So what happened? Democrats attempted to go to conference 20 times. The Republicans objected every single time. Fact check this: over here in the House, we have almost 200 Members who signed the discharge petition calling for a conference on the budget. We tried four times to bring the resolution to the floor. Leader Pelosi even went so far as to name conferees. Some of them are in this room. Some of us are conferees. She did that on June 27. What's the date today--October 8? June 27. So why, after this stalling, have the Republicans finally found religion and now they want to negotiate?

I'll tell you why: we've just discovered we have a phantom government in the United States. Every Congressman, every House Member, every Senate Member should be concerned that they're elected by the people of this country, be they Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, it doesn't matter, they've been elected. They stood for election. We respect that, regardless of denomination, because we know that neither party is ever perfect. Come on, we all share in the pluses, we share in the minuses. There's never one party that has all of the answers. We know that. But why?

Well, just this past Saturday, October 5, we had a front page story in The New York Times. It was mind boggling--mind boggling--that article. Here's the title of that article, ``The Federal budget crisis months in planning.'' Well, I don't remember planning this. I don't know if any Republicans were out planning this. Who in God's name are they talking about? And this is what it says in the article in the second paragraph, which refers to a manifesto--a manifesto--put together by non-elected people in this country. Hear me, America, hear me.

They sat down one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret. Wow. And came--little noticed--a blueprint. This is what they said, Mr. Speaker. A blueprint to defunding ObamaCare signed by--oh, you're going to love this, Ed Meese. Boy there's a name that pops up. I can't believe it. Ed Meese. It's not funny, it's serious; a phantom government. Leaders of more than three-dozen conservative groups, and I will put in the Record tonight who those groups are, and I got part of their manifesto. Listen to this. This is what they put together. And I'm sure there are only a few Congressmen on the other side who even knew about this. It says this:

Conservatives should not approve a CR unless it defunds ObamaCare. This includes ObamaCare's unworkable exchanges, unsustainable Medicaid expansion, and attack on life and religious liberty.

They said that February 14, 2013. This did not just happen, Mr. Speaker. It didn't just happen. It wasn't an accident; it was planned. That is the lowest thing you could ever read about a government that wasn't even elected. Who the heck are these people to decide what we're going to do?

Now we know why Mr. Ryan did not want to go to conference. Now we know why Mr. Boehner did not want to go to conference, because that was not the plan. Read it. Judge for yourself. Judge for yourself.

It also said that these 30 groups, and the names of each group besides Mr. Meese's, are right here. You've got every right-wing group in the universe. They go into this manifesto on Medicaid expansion, permanent appropriations, implementation. They want to run the government. These people actually wanted to run the government.

My friends, the Republicans don't want to negotiate. They want to use this shutdown and the threat of default to invalidate the results of--oh, an election last November. These people weren't elected, we were elected. And I love debating people from the other side who are elected. That's their God-given right. That's what liberty is all right. Why don't they come in here, this shadow government, this phantom group, why don't they stand there and tell us who they talked to within the

Republican Party. Tell us. America has a right to know.

Don't you talk to me, Mr. Speaker, about let's have transparency in government when you have this vagabond group out here funded by--guess. I'll give you three guesses. No, I'll only give you one guess: the Koch brothers. They think they're running this government. The Supreme Court heard another case today--isn't that interesting. This is mild compared to what would happen if they were able to do and spend as much money as they want.

I did not come here to water the wine. You better listen to it, and every member of the staff better listen because they tried every trick in the book, putting your own health care in jeopardy, saying that you get a subsidy from the government when it's just like any company that in some way contributes to your health care. Somebody gets hired by the Federal Government to be a secretary, making $20,000, $25,000 a year, the cost of their health care will go up between $5,200 and $12,000. How are you going to live on that being a staff member here on the floor or back in your districts. They will stop at nothing, nothing, to bring the government down at any cost. At any cost.

The November election apparently did not occur in their minds. We are dealing with dangerous people. Either they are on hallucinogenic drugs or they just lost their minds. This is what we're dealing with. To bring us to this precipice only a few days away, something's wrong. This is not how we debate things in the United States of America. This is not in any manner, shape, or form. As President Obama said, Democrats are willing to negotiate, but not with a gun to our heads. Never. I'm from Paterson, New Jersey; you never put a gun to my head, I've got news for you.

Let's end this irresponsible shutdown and default threat, and let's get back to work. That's what we were sent here for.

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