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Public Statements

A Parody of Congress

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, something odd has happened. There are a lot of odd things that happen around here, but the Republican Web site, the one that they use for scheduling the weekly activities of Congress, has been hacked by writers for the John Stewart Show, and they don't seem to mind. So we are going to be a parody of Congress this week instead of a real Congress this week, despite the fact that we are borrowing $1.4 billion a day to run the government, we are running a $2 billion a day trade deficit, average families haven't seen their wages go up in 5 years, and we are raining tax cuts on the wealthy.

There are a few real things that we could deal with that the American people are concerned about. Maybe high gas prices. No, those things are not on the agenda. We have the faux agenda for Congress, which is designed purely for either entertainment purposes or for political purposes.

Well, what are we doing? We are taking up an amendment to ban the threat of gay marriage. Now, let's see. The Senate didn't pass it.

That means it is not going forward. But, nonetheless, the House is going to use valuable time to vote on banning the threat of gay marriage even though we know that the constitutional amendment cannot move forward because the Senate has already disapproved this venture.

But it is good for the ratings, entertainment value. The John Stewart writers thought it would be fun to bring that up in the House. So we are going to bring it up. Then we are going to do another thing here called ``court stripping.'' We are going to say there are only two and a half branches of Congress, or maybe one and a half, the President and half a Congress, and the judiciary only if they are pets of the President and the Congress.

That is, no judge will be allowed to hear a case challenging the Pledge of Allegiance. Now, no judge has found the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. Quite the opposite, they have found that the use of the words ``under God'' is diminimus in the Pledge and have upheld its use.

But the Republicans, they do not even want judges to hear those cases any more and reject those claims any more, because they think that this might provide entertainment value or excite some strange people in the Republican base. So we will spend a day on court stripping instead of dealing with high-energy prices.

Then we are going to take up two phony bills on a serious issue, stem cell research, could have tremendous benefits for the American people. The President is opposed to stem cells, the Republicans are opposed to stem cell research. The United States is falling behind the whole rest of the world.

Americans will have to go overseas to get procedures that have been developed by stem cell research that could cure Parkinson's or other debilitating diseases, because the Republican right wing does not want research on using stem cells, but the American public does want that research.

So we are going to take up two fake bills, two pretend bills. We are going to ban a practice that is not happening called fetal farming, and everybody will probably vote for that, and then we are going to authorize them to do what they can already on the President's lame program that is not working and is having America fall behind on stem cell research. So you see, we are really for stem cell research.

Well, not really, because the lines they are using are all corrupted and it is not going anywhere. And then the real bill, the real compromise bill that passed the House, it passed the United States House of Representatives, is going to probably pass the Senate this week. It will go to the President and he will veto it.

So in order to give them political cover or to provide entertainment value, they will vote on two fake stem cell bills, and then vote to support the President in vetoing the real stem cell bill that could provide tremendous advances in research for the American people.

So this is a sort of play Congress week. Maybe it was not the Stewart writers, maybe it was Colbert who was going through interviewing Members of Congress, and he might have gotten some of the data there.

But in any case, instead of dealing with very real problems that are confronting Americans, instead of dealing with world crises, instead of dealing with high energy prices, growing debt, stagnant wages, you know, access to better education for our kids, health care, high-cost pharmaceuticals, adequately funding veterans benefits, no, none of that is on the schedule this week.

This week we do not have time for those things because we are playing Congress taking up bills that are not going anywhere, or that are pretend bills that will go somewhere to cover up the fact that they are killing the real bill that would do something useful and also that, you know, we are taking up constitutional amendments that are not going to pass. Hooray for the Republican majority.

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