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Public Statements

Leadership Needed in the House

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to discuss the topic of leadership. The American people are demanding action from this Congress and so far they have really seen very little.

A recent Wall Street Journal-NBC poll shows that more than 60 percent of Americans think that this Congress has done little or nothing since the leadership change took place in November. And you know what, Mr. Speaker, they are right. Not one piece of the liberal agenda has been signed into law. Instead of crafting legislation that can be implemented, this Congress has wasted the last 4 months and taxpayer dollars as a stage for political theater, and they have nothing to show for it.

When I go home to my district, like I did this weekend, and visit with my constituents, what I am hearing from them is really a lot of frustration. They are getting tired of the political grandstanding. What they want to see, Mr. Speaker, is action. They want us to be problem solvers on the problems they face every day.

The people of the Seventh District want us to hold the line and to not raise taxes. They want to keep more of their hard-earned money. They don't want government to have first right of refusal on that money. They want first right of refusal, and they want to keep those paychecks in their pocket. I believe that the American taxpayer knows how to better spend his own money than the Federal Government.

In my district, we hear a lot of people talk about keeping that money. I have said many times, if 10 percent is good enough for God, 10 percent ought to be good enough for the government. My constituents agree with that.

The people of Tennessee want to win in the war on terror. They want us to support our men and women in uniform by giving them the supplies they need to win. Anything less than that is insulting to the men and women who stand to protect us every day. The liberal leadership of this Congress says the war is lost. It is time to give up. They also claim to support the troops. In my district, Mr. Speaker, we believe you can't have it both ways. You don't support the troops by threatening to withhold critical funding. You don't support the troops by imposing artificial deadlines and taking control of battlefield operations out of the hands of the men and women and the commanders in the field. And you don't support the troops by telling them that you think the war is lost.

The people of Tennessee want our borders secure and they want us to enforce the immigration laws on the books. Granting illegal immigrants amnesty is insulting and unrealistic. It is insulting to all of our constituents who have spent years of time and money entering the country the legal and right way. It devalues all of their hard work and their efforts, and if anyone thinks that granting amnesty to illegal immigrants that are already here will stop more people from crossing the border in the middle of the night, well, they are just fooling themselves.

All of this talk of amnesty will only increase illegal immigration and the traffic that it brings at our borders because it is setting a precedent for the future. We know that. We have seen history repeat itself. Do they actually think that those who are illegally here will voluntarily go back to their home country, stand at the back of the line, and pay a fine when they are already here? And if they are caught, it is rare that they are deported. That is the incentive to integrate the right way, to come into this country through legal channels.

The law should be enforced, Mr. Speaker. That is what people want to see. No amnesty, enforce the laws on the book, not reward those that have illegally entered the country, be certain that people immigrate to this Nation the right way.

It is also a matter of national security. In this post-9/11 era, it is against our national security interest to allow an open border. For instance, three of the six people that are charged in plotting to attack U.S. Army post, Fort Dix, were in the country illegally. Records show there is no record of them ever entering this country. Many of the 9/11 hijackers were in the country with expired visas. Yet, several of them still had their driver's license.

It is evident that radical terrorists whose sole purpose is to destroy this Nation and our way of life are here living among us. It is time that we stand in the gap. It is time that we do our job, that we lead, and we do it to protect the American people. They are watching.

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