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What Is Good For America

Location: Washington, DC

WHAT IS GOOD FOR AMERICA -- (House of Representatives - January 30, 2007)


Mr. Cooper, I am waiting for you, too. I would be very happy to yield.

That is not the case today. The hundred hours is clearly up. The process is not open, and the American people are not being heard. They didn't decide they were going to anoint some people with a royalty position, whether they allege that they are the most powerful woman in the world or not. This is a government that rules by the consent of the people. And the people did not give their consent to a process that is not an open process, a process that muzzles 99 percent of the Members in this Congress.

And clearly, they are not here to speak up because they know they don't have a voice and they don't have an argument. And so we are going to continue to push on this process. We are going to go before the Rules Committee. I took an amendment up before the Rules Committee, and there were a number of us that did. We all know the results of that, the charade in the Rules Committee, which is, bring your amendment up. You can offer your amendment up here, but before you come up here, we are going to tell you we are not going to accept a single one, even if it is some kind of revelation. If it is an epiphany that just fixes the whole thing, we are not going to consider it because the meat cleaver has come down.

So we are going through a charade. No amendments, but come here and argue them anyway if you want to and we will sit through this and we will put one or two people up there and we will rotate and we will get through this process. And then we will say, why are you complaining? We had a rules process. You just didn't have any amendments with any merit. Oh, really? No amendments with any merit is the same result as no input into the process, Mr. Speaker. This government cannot function with that.

And I will also point out that the House of Representatives is where all the appropriations has to start. That is what the Constitution says and that is what we need to follow. But this bill, this omnibus bill, is going to go over to the Senate, over to those 100 Senators over there, and you can bet that they are going to be offering amendments and they are going to be improving this omnibus spending bill, and they are going to be fixing this all the way through their process. So their voice will be heard. And then we will get an amended omnibus bill back here again, and I would submit this question, will then, Mr. Speaker, will it come to the floor again with no opportunity for amendments again? And if that is the case, why have we ceded the improvement process to the United States Senate?

We are the hot cup of coffee here, and they are the saucer to cool it in. We are supposed to be the quick reaction force that has the elections every 2 years, so

that vigor that comes with a new freshman class and that risk of being up for re-election every 2 years, it keeps us tuned in with our fingers on the pulse of the American people who can be heard in the legislative process.

The hot cup of coffee, the quick reaction force, the storm troops that are going to come in and fix things quickly, especially in the change-over of a majority, Mr. Speaker, is just what our Founding Fathers envisioned when they drafted our Constitution and set up this miraculous system of government that we have. But the leadership in this House of Representatives has handed over the amendment process to the United States Senate which they have a legitimate claim to their version of it, we also have a legitimate claim to ours and a constitutional duty to do so that has been usurped by this decision to make a promise and have that promise of 100 hours be sacrosanct and then like that draconian approach so much of not being challenged that they go ahead and shut the clock off at 42 hours and 25 minutes.

And we could go on in perpetuity until the American people revolt at the polls. That is what is coming. You are going to see mistake after mistake after mistake. One of those examples would be the Minimum Wage Act, American Samoa, and being exempted from the Minimum Wage Act of all of The states and territories of the United States of America, one place on the map with 60,000 people, we find out after the fact, after the minimum wage bill is passed, is exempted from the minimum wage. Well, if you can legislate wages to go up and help people, which is the argument that came out of this side of the aisle continually, Mr. Speaker, then why can't you do so in American Samoa? What is wrong with them that they don't deserve a raise like everybody else got in America that was working for a minimum wage? And the answer that I get back is, well, we had to do that because the tuna market there won't sustain this. The international competition won't sustain higher wages, so we would lose that to Asia or maybe South American companies that can produce that tuna cheaper than they can in the American Samoa.

Well, that is called competition. And how is it that Democrats can understand the effect of competition and the deleterious effect of minimum wage on a small business, large business in a small microcosm of a location like American Samoa? They can understand

it when it is a microcosm, but they can't understand it when it is 300 million people in a macrocosm. It is the same principle that applies, Mr. Speaker. But that is a fatal flaw of this approach of a closed process rather than an open process. That is what happens, Mr. Speaker, when we don't allow for amendments. And then things start to smell fishy.

What was the reason?

I would be happy to yield to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrey).


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