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Providing for Further Consideration of H.R. 3161, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies ... ...

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker and my colleagues, this is disappointing, disappointing that the House has had to resort to a martial law to further stifle the voices of those of us in the minority who represent nearly half the American people.

We have had a debate on this rule. I have listened to the debate. I even participated in part of the debate and listened to my colleagues in the majority complain about the fact that we spent 3 or 4 hours the other day trying to debate a measure that we were not going to have much time to debate on because we didn't have a committee process, it was going to be brought to the House under a closed rule. And my colleagues pulled the bill and have been whining now for days that we spent 3 or 4 hours doing dilatory tactics.

Now, some of you were here in 1998 when the Ag appropriations bill was on the floor of the House, and that bill was held up for 9 hours by the then minority over the fact that there was an amendment that a Member wanted to have heard on the Foreign Operations bill. It just so happened it was the distinguished gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi) who wanted an abortion amendment on the Foreign Operations bill and wasn't sure she was going to be able to get her amendment; and, as a result, she and some of her colleagues held up the bill with dilatory tactics for 9 hours.

Now, who were those Members who held that bill for 9 hours on this floor?

It was the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro), it was the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey), it was the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Slaughter), and it was who is now the distinguished Speaker of the House, Ms. Pelosi.

Nine hours of dilatory tactics over 3 days. So what did the Republican majority do? They went to the Rules Committee, and they got a rule. And do you know what they did in the rule? They told all Members any amendment that is filed will be made in order under the rule, and we came back to the floor and we spent 9 hours debating every amendment that Members wanted to offer, and we completed the bill.

Now, if you want to bring a rule out here, at least allow us to be heard, at least allow us to participate, at least allow the 202 of us on this side of the aisle to represent the millions of American people that have sent us here to do their work.

All I have asked and all my colleagues have asked all year is for fairness. All we want is fairness. I know how you wanted to be treated when you were in the minority. I say to my colleagues on the both sides of the aisle we have both been in a minority. We both know what it is like to not have many tools at your disposal. I, when I was chairing the Education and Workforce Committee, made sure that all of our members were treated fairly and treated honestly; and I think my work with the gentleman from California (Mr. George Miller) demonstrates that, while we had differences, we had a very fair process.

I understand that over the last 12 years some of my predecessors may have handled, may have handled, this floor in a less than delicate way. Over the last several years, my colleagues in the majority now complained that we ought to have a more fair and open process here. I agreed with many of you, and you know it. And all I am asking for on behalf of the Republican Members, the minority Members here, is to be treated fairly and honestly.

The rule that we have before us that shuts us down is unfair, it's unwise, it's undemocratic, and it does not deserve the support of any Member in this House.


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