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30-Something Working Group

Location: Washington, DC

30-SOMETHING WORKING GROUP -- (House of Representatives - November 04, 2005)


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Right. I guess they believe they can say anything they want to. They do not have to follow it, and there would be no consequences. But, see, unfortunately for them, fortunately for the American people, the American people get it now. They are on to them.

Let us talk about the Washington Post poll, and I know we will have an opportunity to put this up in poster form probably next week, but one of the questions that the Washington Post/ABC News poll asked was, Please tell me whether the following statement applies to Bush or not: He is honest and trustworthy. In May of 2004, 53 percent of the American people answered that question yes and 45 percent said no. Now 40 percent think he is honest and trustworthy, and 58 percent say he is not.

I think that is in part because you can tell a lot about a person by the people they surround themselves with. Right now, let us look at who is surrounding the President of the United States or who previously was surrounding him.

You have Mr. Libby, who was indicted on Friday; and, of course, it is not confirmed unless and until he is convicted. He is not guilty of a crime yet. But he was indicted. The first official in the White House in 130 years. The President said if somebody committed a crime they will no longer work in his administration.

The gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Ryan) I know will probably talk a few minutes about the difference in the shifting sands of the President's statements. But you have Mr. Rove who increasingly it has become clear, as clear as a bell, that he absolutely was directly involved in outing a covert CIA agent, directly involved, yet he is still in the White House with the highest security clearance, access to the most top secret information.

It is easy to see why 58 percent of the American people do not think the President is honest and trustworthy. Because if you take it a step further, the same Washington Post/ABC News poll says it has been reported that another subject of the investigation has been Karl Rove, who has been a close advisor to Bush.

The question was, Given what you have heard or read, do you think Rove did anything wrong in connection with this case or not? If yes, do you think he did something unethical but not illegal or did you think that he did something illegal? Forty-nine percent of the American people answered that question that he did something wrong for sure. Of the 49 percent, 26 percent believe he did something illegal and 23 percent think he did something unethical. Forty-nine percent of people asked believe that Karl Rove did something either illegal or unethical, and 59 percent of the people believe that he should resign from the White House.

Now, is President Bush so incompetent that he is not able to cope without Mr. Rove by his side? I do not know. Generally, I expect that, I know I surround myself with a number of competent people. You make sure you put together a team of people that does not rise and fall on one person and their knowledge and ability to assist you.


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. You mean to tell me they did not keep track? They do not have a file?

Mr. MEEK of Florida. It gets better. Let me just tell you. Because it is so detailed between September 19 and September 29, the Congressional Research Service spoke to four House committees and was given the following response.

This is when you talk about the Potomac two step here. Someone is asking for records. Oh, my God. Well, people would assume here in the Congress that records is one of the things that we do so we know what we have done in the past, so that either we can do better in the future or not make the same mistake in the future. But here is the response: The committee does not have records. That was the first one. The other one: Committee does not have records of previous Congresses.

Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Wait. They do not keep records of previous Congresses?

Mr. MEEK of Florida. So we do not know what is going on under this majority.


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Well, you bet your sweet bippy they are worried. They are worried you are asking for those documents. Because there are those on the other side of the aisle that would try to lead people to believe that we are just a bunch of malcontent Democrats who are standing on the floor complaining about something inconsequential. It is just the same old, same old. Not true.

Look at the reasoning and the motivation that was behind the outing of a covert CIA agent and of the planning and machinations that were going on in the White House to conceal and deceive the American people about what their plans were. It was all about making sure that they could have their way in going to war in Iraq. That is what it all boiled down to. And the consequences of that motivation are that now we have more than 2,000 American soldiers, men and women, who are dead, who lost their lives because this administration was hell-bent on being right, facts be damned.

It made no difference to them that all the evidence mounting showed that they were wrong, that there were no weapons of mass destruction. It was obvious there was no other reason to go into Iraq other than the President and his people decided we should, long before September 11. With all the documentation that has come out now pointing to the fact that, soon after the President was elected in 2000, it had been decided that they were going to go to war in Iraq, and what they have been doing for the last few years leading up to our entering Iraq and since then is assembling the facts around their decision.

Then subsequent to our entry into Iraq and it being discovered there were no weapons of mass destruction, in part because Joe Wilson went there to Niger and demonstrated factually that that was not the case, subsequently they have had to prevaricate. They have had to lie, because, oops, it was shown that not only were they wrong but they were deceitful.

Can you think of any more heinous an act than deceiving the American people and the world on the ultimate sacrifice that Americans are asked to make for their country?


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. They have no respect for the American people. They have no respect for the American people. When you are willing to do anything and say anything to have your way, regardless of the consequences, that demonstrates that you have no respect for the people that you represent, for the people that sent you to Washington to do right by them.

As elected officials, the three of us and all our colleagues here who serve in this Chamber, who have stood for office, most of us many times, what we are doing when we go and put our name on that ballot and ask people to support us, we are asking them to put their faith and their trust in us. We are telling them that we respect their opinion, that we will honor their opinion.

People in America do not expect to always agree with what we do here. I know there are people in my district who sometimes agree with me and sometimes they do not agree with me. But what they have told me, and I know each of my colleagues have heard this same thing, they have told me, Debbie, I do not always agree with you, but at least I know you are up there fighting for what you believe in. I know that you have the utmost integrity. I know I can put my faith and trust in you and that you are always going to look me in the eye and tell me exactly how things are and tell me the truth.

There is no one in America that the President can look in the eye and say he has told them the truth. Because, although he specifically has not been accused of anything illegal, he specifically has not been accused of anything illegal, you are a reflection of the people you surround yourself with. And, essentially, by allowing Karl Rove to remain in the White House and by hanging on to his staff that have been accused of unethical behavior--


The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Dent). The Chair must remind all Members that remarks in debate may not engage in personal offense toward the President by accusation or insinuation of wrongdoing.

The gentlewoman may proceed.

Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Forgive me, Mr. Speaker, but there are times when this is so outrageous and the conduct that is going on in this administration is so outrageous that it is difficult to contain myself and it is difficult to keep that outrage bottled up inside.

Because that is what we have been asking for weeks now. Where is the outrage? Where is the outrage from the Republican leadership in this Chamber? They certainly had plenty of outrage during the previous administration.


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. RYAN of Ohio. I yield to the gentlewoman from Florida.

Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, what it boils done to is that here in the House the rules hem us in, and we have to talk around a lot of what we might like to say more directly, but the American people elected us to speak truth to power. I mean, that is the bottom line. We could not have more power in the White House than there is right now, and they exercise every bit of it. They exercise every bit of it, regardless of the consequences, regardless of the plight of the people whose decisions they affect. There are so many examples of how what we are doing on this floor allows us to reveal that truth.

The gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Ryan) has a chart right there that will help us ferret out a little bit of that truth.


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. RYAN of Ohio. I yield to the gentlewoman from Florida.

Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the gentleman from California, you are the chairman of the Rules Committee. You spend as much time restricting the Democrats' ability to offer amendments and act in a bipartisan fashion and provide input to the policies that are forced through this Congress than anyone else in this Chamber. There is absolutely no bipartisan effort made here.

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. RYAN of Ohio. I yield to the gentleman from California.

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for yielding to me.

Let me just say that that is completely untrue. Of the amendments that have been made in order in this Congress, 161 of the amendments reported out of the Rules Committee have been either Democratic amendments or bipartisan amendments; 143 of the amendments have been Republican amendments. More amendments have been made in order that were either bipartisan or offered by Democrats than Republicans. So it is a specious argument that my friend has made.

Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, we are getting into some procedural stuff here, but the Republican Party does not need to offer amendments because they get everything they want into the bill during the committee process. They offer it. They do not need to offer amendments.

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