Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

America's Role In The World

Floor Speech

Location: Washington D.C.

Mr. KING of Iowa. Thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate being recognized to address you here on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Listening to the dialogue of the gentlemen in the previous hour, I generally have a pattern where I will discuss a bit of different viewpoints.

And returning to that subject matter, I understand their concern for military personnel and their families, for the lives and the health of all of our brave military personnel. In fact, I sympathize and support our military personnel and their families and the entire support network that is there. I've been six times to Iraq, twice to Afghanistan; and I meet with our military personnel as often as I possibly can. And, yes, like every congressional district--and perhaps every congressional district--we've lost soldiers and we've lost airmen and we've lost marines and we've lost sailors. And that has been the case, and it's ever been thus.

So as I listened to the gentlemen who argue that we should have a debate on the floor, it seems as though they come with a common purpose of arguing that we should not be in Afghanistan.

I would make the point, Madam Speaker, that they made the same argument when we were in Iraq. And the points that they made then were very similar to the points that are being made now and that is the position that it's not worth the price. It is a legitimate position to discuss, but I believe it is the one to have that debate before we engage in a war rather than when we're in the floor of it because the dialogue from the floor of this House echoes to our enemies; and they begin to wonder whether the Americans have the resolve to persevere and bring about the sustained effort that's necessary in order to win a war, especially a war that is protracted with an amorphous enemy that is scattered throughout the mountains that has sometimes the support of the network.

The Taliban is our enemy and al Qaeda is our enemy, and there are another six or seven organizations in that part of the world who are defined organizations that are our enemies, Madam Speaker.

But the position taken by these Members back during the Iraq war was to pull out, pull out at all costs, pull out immediately. Simply leave a rear guard to try to avoid being shot in the back as our troops loaded out of Iraq. Let it collapse, if that's what it would be. But they argued it wasn't worth the price--at least some of them, and I believe all of them, that were on the floor taking this position tonight.

And yet in spite of the naysayers, in spite of the distraction, in spite of the 45 votes that were brought to the floor of this Congress and led by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, those votes were designed to undermine, unfund, and to damage the resolve of our troops. Those votes that came to this floor--and I have a collected Excel spreadsheet that links to each one of those resolutions, each one of those votes, 45 votes and debates on the floor of this House--these Members can't argue that we didn't have the debate on Iraq. It was pushed by the Speaker of the House. And whatever the motives, it demoralized our troops and encouraged our enemies.

And the result of those resolutions and different acts that were brought to this floor was that this Congress stuck together. This Congress didn't crack. We stood with our military; we stood with our troops. We're at a time of war. And a decision was made, and this Congress made the decision to go into Iraq and to provide for the authority for the President of the United States to command the military forces to do what was necessary to protect the American people. We were operating off the best information we had at the time. That's what any nation does at any time in any crisis. And I think at any time in history if there has been a question whether it was a right decision, there's always the question of what was the information they had to work with at the time.

Regardless, the situation remains this: the people that were here on the floor that would like to pull us out of Afghanistan immediately are the ones who also predominantly were for pulling out of Iraq immediately. We know that the President of the United States, the current Commander in Chief, as a candidate for the Presidency, argued that Bush had taken his eye off the ball, that the ball was Afghanistan and the target was Osama bin Laden and that he would bring Osama bin Laden to justice. Even denigrated Senator JOHN MCCAIN for saying he would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell if necessary, but not being willing to take on some of the tasks that the President thought should be taken on.

And so our current President, our current Commander in Chief, as a candidate and United States Senator, continually made the speech that President Bush had taken his eye off the ball, if the ball was Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan, and that we should immediately pull all of our troops out of Iraq without regard to those consequences, and diminished the calamity that almost certainly would have ensued.

And that calamity, just to paint that picture again, Madam Speaker, for the American people's benefit, the calamity that was pending in 2005, 2006, especially early 2007 and on into 2008, would have likely been this scenario: if we'd pulled out, the Kurds would have likely declared independence and found themselves in a two-front war: Iran on one side that had been throughout those years lobbing artillery rounds into Kurdistan, and war with the Turks on the west side who have gone in and done several raids against the Kurds there in the last few years.

So there's that open-arm conflict that exists on the east and west border of Kurdistan that likely would have swallowed up the Kurds that would not have had the help of the United States if we had pulled out of Iraq, and neither would they have had the help from Iraq because the Iraqis themselves were having significant difficulty in providing security for their own people.

Other problems that we had were militia groups that were warring against each other, Sunnis and Shias and the power vacuum that brought about this violence. There were neighborhoods that were purged and taken back over again. And we had, if not forgotten, the Mahdi militia and the other militias that had emerged within Iraq that were in the process of enforcement, and some might say ethnic cleansing and sectarian violence.

And al Qaeda was entrenched in the al Anbar province. Al Qaeda ruled al Anbar province. Al Anbar province was so bad that I could not go there during that period of time throughout all of 2006 and probably well before then. The cities of Ramadi and Fallujah had been fought over, and they needed to be fought over again before they could be liberated for the Iraqi people to take control of.

That was the scenario. And not only that, the great threat of the Iranians and their involvement and engagement in subversive activities across their border into Iraq was all part of this competition that was

almost--almost--a military, political, economic conundrum.

And you have most of the oil in Iraq is over against the Straits--very, very close to the oil that's in Iran. And then in the south where you had the Shias, the Shias had some affinity to the Iranian Shias.

So that entire scenario, the worst-case scenario that I can paint for this--and it's the one that actually looked like it was the most likely it would be if the United States had pulled out of Iraq and an instantaneous sectarian violence situation where the Shias and the Sunnis would go at each other in an unrestrained way, where al Qaeda would have continued to maintain al Anbar province and expand their hold and a base camp for the world, the predictions--and they still remain true--that there are significant oil reserves in al Anbar province that would have been the wealth of that oil that could have gone into the pockets and the treasure chest of al Qaeda and funded their global operations.

The only significant refinery--I will say it this way--the most significant refinery in all of northern Iraq is in al Anbar province where Saddam put it so he could bring the Kurdish oil down and control the oil from Kurdistan for political reasons. That could have all been an al Qaeda base camp with lots of oil to fund it.

And it could have been the Shias and the Sunnis and the remaining Shias at battle with each other, and the Iranians making common cause with the Shias and taking over the oil fields in the south of Iraq where about 70 percent of the oil is and having control of both sides of the Straits of Hormuz and control of a lot more of the oil in the world, and the ability to shut off around 40 percent of the world's oil while the Kurds find themselves in a two-front war having declared independence.

That's just part of what would have happened if we had pulled out of Iraq, Madam Speaker. That was the advice of the gentlemen on the floor that argue against our involvement in Afghanistan.

And today, today, due to a brave and difficult decision made by our then-Commander in Chief, George W. Bush, who ordered the surge, that the courageous notion of investing American might and preserving a victory that may have been achieved in March and April and May primarily in 2003 that needed to be reachieved in a number of the cities that were taken over by al Qaeda and other forces that were contrary and in opposition to the United States, that order for the surge and noble bravery of our military, of all branches of service, came together in Iraq and provided the kind of security that has allowed the Iraqis to develop their own security forces.

And those forces now exceed--by the time--if you talk all of their security forces, they meet and exceed a number in the area of 600,000 that are providing for the safety of the Iraqi people.

The stability in Iraq today? Even though there are flareups of violence and flareups of suicide bombs that take place from time to time, there is a control of that country that has been taken over by the Iraqi people exactly within the design of President Bush--but not something that the gentlemen that spoke ahead of me could actually admit to, I don't believe, the level of success in Iraq.

I did introduce a resolution in February of this year that declares that we have achieved a definable victory in Iraq, and it defines the victory and it lays out the milestones along the way. A definable victory and by measure of a civil government that can provide for safety and security for its people at a level significantly higher than it was. American casualties that went down to the point of where it was as likely that we would lose an American in Iraq due to an accident as to the enemy.

The civilian government establishments there, the distribution of the oil revenue, the list of accomplishments ratifying a Constitution far faster than we were able to do so in the United States when we established our first Constitution. The drafting and the writing and the passage and the ratification process in its entirety were quicker in Iraq than it was in the United States of America.

So of all of the milestones, of all of the benchmarks that were imposed by this Congress on the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi people and the responsibility of our President Bush at the time and the Commander in Chief of our military and our military personnel, of the 18 benchmarks, 17 of the 18 benchmarks--even as of last February--had been wholly or substantially achieved. And the 18th benchmark was an amorphous benchmark that is moving in that direction. What matters is how you define it.

That's what happened. We've achieved a definable victory in Iraq, and that accomplishment was done not because of people who wanted to pull out, that didn't have the resolve, that didn't understand the price that America pays down the line for lack of resolve in this moment of history.

I would use an example, Madam Speaker, and that would be on June 11 of 2004, I was sitting in a hotel room in Kuwait City waiting to go into Iraq the next morning. And I was watching Al-Jazeera TV. And on Al-Jazeera TV, June 11, 2004, with the English closed-caption, Moqtada al-Sadr came on--the head of the Mahdi militia who gave us so much trouble. And he said--judging by the closed caption that I read, and presumably it was in Arabic--he said, If we continue attacking Americans, they will leave Iraq the same way they left Vietnam, the same way they left Lebanon, the same way they left Mogadishu. He was predicting that the Americans would not have the resolve to achieve a victory in Iraq.

And had that been the case, if the President of the United States, if the balance of the Republicans in this Congress and some of the national security Democrats had not had resolve, today we would be seeing the calamity in Iraq that I have just laid out as the likely scenario. And we would also be listening to Osama bin Laden and perhaps Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before a courtroom in New York say, Well, the Americans left Vietnam, and they left Lebanon, they left Mogadishu, and they pulled out of Iraq. Americans don't have resolve. All it takes to defeat American might is persistence and perseverance and a willingness to fight a war of attrition and accept the casualties. And if you do that long enough, Americans will lose their patience and will lose their will. That was the message that Moqtada al-Sadr got. He said it directly into Al-Jazeera TV, June 11, 2004. It was the message that Osama bin Laden got when he was inspired to attack the United States because he didn't believe that we had the resolve to strike back or the resolve to keep the pressure on.

And because America sent a weak message--Vietnam, Lebanon, Mogadishu--it inspired our enemies to take us on and challenge us because if they see a sign of weakness, that is where they would attack.

The Japanese didn't think that America had that kind of resolve when they attacked us on December 7, 1941. We did show the resolve when we were attacked, and we showed the resolve after September 11, 2001, and we need to show the resolve in Afghanistan, although it is a much more difficult nut to crack. To that extent, I will give my colleagues in the previous hour their due.

My first trip to Afghanistan, it was in the middle of the most difficult times in Iraq, when most didn't see a way out that would be victorious in Iraq. I came back and said, We will be in Afghanistan a lot longer than we will be in Iraq because Afghanistan is a lot closer to the Stone Age than Iraq. They don't have the transportation. They don't have the infrastructure. They don't have a modern education system. They are living closer to the Stone Age. There is only one highway that transfers assets across the country, and that is a highway that we turned into a paved highway. Other than that, it was a trail.

The Afghanis, many of them live up in valleys in the mountain, and that zone in a particular valley is where the tribe is. So it is much more difficult to maintain security in a country that has been at war and has been able to reject or eject any of its conquerors.

The difference is that Americans are not invaders and occupiers. We are liberators. Where we have gone, we have liberated people. And wherever American soldiers have gone, there has been a tremendous blessing that is left in the aftermath, especially if we stay and pass along American values.

Some few years ago, I was at a hotel here in downtown Washington, D.C., to hear a speech from President Arroyo of the Philippines, and I guess this was about 2004. She said, Thank you, America. Thank you for sending the Marine Corps to our islands in 1898, thank you for freeing and liberating us. Thank you for sending your priests and pastors who taught us your faith. Thank you for sending us 10,000 American teachers--and she had a Filipino name for them which I missed--and the American teachers and the priests and pastors and the soldiers.

She forgot to mention actually the Army, she said marines, they taught us the American way of life. You taught us the English language. You taught us the values, and I will summarize it in my words, not hers, the values of Western civilization. She said today, 1.6 million Filipinos leave the islands to work wherever in the world they want to go, and they send a lot of their money back to the Philippines, representing, and she gave the number, but a high percentage of the gross domestic product of the Philippines.

The benefit of having the American civilization arrive in the Philippines is evident more than 100 years later, and we are thanked for it by the President of the Philippines.

And now we look around the world and we see, is Japan better off or worse off in the aftermath of Imperial Japan, in the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Is Japan better off because the Americans went into Japan and helped set up a free market capitalistic system, a system of representative government that is no longer run by the Emperor that our Commander in Chief gave a 90-degree bow before a couple of days ago?

Madam Speaker, I wasn't particularly alarmed when I heard that the President had bowed to the Emperor of Japan until I saw the videotape of the President of the United States bowing 90 degrees. It was almost a genuflection before the Emperor of Japan, so far different than it was before the ceremonies of surrender on the USS Missouri. And never in the history of the country do we have the record of a President of the United States bowing before any foreign leader, and no President of the United States should ever bow before another foreign leader. And yet we have seen this happen and we have seen this unfold around the country, around the world, a global tour of contrition that has diminished the power and the influence of the United States.

Some Nation has to be the superpower in the world. We should have adjusted to this fairly easily. It was a struggle that we were involved in. At the beginning of the Cold War, and you can pick your date on when that starts. Was it the blockade that brought about the Berlin Airlift? Was it the 1948 speech at Fulton, Missouri, when Winston Churchill laid out the identification of the Cold War when he said an Iron Curtain has descended across Europe? But some place between 1945 and 1948, the Cold War began.

The Russians and the East Germans began building their Berlin Wall in 1961, and that wall stood until November 9, 1989. That period of time clearly is Cold War time, and you can expand onto that, back it up to about 1948 or earlier, and the Cold War wasn't quite over for some months after the Berlin Wall started to come down, about the time the Soviet Union imploded, and the date I will pick on that, the specific date, would be December 31, 1990. That is about as close a date as we can get to the end of the Soviet Union.

At that period of time, we could celebrate that the Cold War was over and that the United States of America had emerged as the world's only superpower, and that this contest, this struggle, that was between this communism, hardcore socialism, militarily imposed economies with a regime that believed that the person, the individual, the human being, God's unique gift of the now six billion plus of us on this planet, that people existed for the State. That was their position. That was Karl Marx's position, and that is what has evolved in the thought process of the utopianists for 150 or more years.

And yet we saw the Soviet Union implode after we saw freedom echo across Eastern Europe in nation after nation. We just celebrated yesterday or the day before the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, where thousands and thousands of Czechs stood in the square in Prague peacefully and held their keys up, Madam Speaker, and rattled their keys for hours on end, rattling their keys for freedom. We can hear what that is like. That echoes back 20 years, and we saw Vaclav Havel step forward and become the leader of that nation, and they divided it into the two separate parts also in a peaceful way.

A little bit of violence along throughout Eastern Europe, but from the standpoint of the hundreds of millions of people who became free in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and part of that was the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, the maximum number of people breathe free air for the least amount of blood I believe in the history of the world, and that freedom echoed, I would argue then, all of the way across Eastern Europe, from the wall in Berlin, all of the way across Eastern Europe, all of the way across Russia, all of the way to the Pacific Ocean, at least for a time.

And the optimism that I had, and that hope, that faith, that belief that the Cold War was really over and that then the free market capitalism and the freedom that we have that the rights--our rights come from God, and they are enumerated in our Constitution, but they are God-given rights, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that the image of that, the inspiration of our freedom and the power of the free market system had set aside, had pushed away, had defeated every competing model for a civilization that had been designed by the world, Madam Speaker.

I have to characterize this another way, more succinctly in the words of another, and that was Jeanne Kirkpatrick who in the early part of the Reagan administration was the ambassador to the United Nations. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, as she stepped down as ambassador to the United Nations to pursue other endeavors, she said, What is going on in this Cold War is this: That the Soviet Union and the United States of America, these two superpowers clashing in this Cold War, are the equivalent of, the contest is the equivalent of playing chess and monopoly on the same board. With our free market economy and monopoly, and with the Soviet Union's massive buildup in military ability, she said playing chess and monopoly on the same board, and the only question is will the United States of America bankrupt the Soviet Union economically before the Soviet Union checkmates the United States militarily. Chess and monopoly on the same board. Do the Russians go bankrupt before they checkmate us with their ICBM missiles and their other military equipment and hardware, the massive military that they were developing?

We know the answer to that now. That was about 1984 that Jeanne Kirkpatrick made that statement. And November 9, 1989, and the ensuing months up until the last day in 1990 when the Soviet Union was I think officially imploded, we saw that free market capitalism, freedom, the inspiration of the rights that come from God that are enumerated in our Constitution and that flow, that the government is of, by, and for the people, and that the people grant the authority that comes from God to their legitimate elected representatives to govern them in an orderly fashion, that that system of government, our constitutional Republic prevailed, prevailed over the utopian mistake, the colossal error that cost the lives of hundreds of millions of people, Karl Marx's approach to utopianism. That is what we saw happen, Madam Speaker.

I believed then, in 1989, in the early winter of 1989 and throughout 1990, 1991, through the early part of the 1990s until the late 1990s some time, I believed that it was clear to the rest of the world that freedom had won, that free market capitalism had won. I didn't think it was arguable, and I thought somehow that those leaders in the world would realize the reality that they couldn't compete with a system that tapped into the vitality of the inspiration of every individual who had their own franchise and their own opportunity and their own rights to engage in making their lives better for themselves and their family, and to do so in a moral and ethical fashion within the framework of the rule of law. I believed the rest of the world would see that clearly.

Look at Eastern Europe, the region that so recently had won its freedom: How could they begin to think in this myopic, utopian fashion of, let's say, of Marx and Hegel and others that are part of the utopian philosophers in that part of the world. How could they think that? So they went underground for awhile and they drifted away and they became this amorphous, loosely and most often disorganized group of people who were still Marxists, they were still Communists, they were still believers in a managed society, a managed economy, a utopian world, the kind of world where liberal-thinking elitists would manage the resources of humanity and that every human being was a tool of the state and you were there to glorify the state.

And so they emerged again, Madam Speaker. And as they emerged, they began to form alliances against the United States. And those alliances that were formed brought about these alliances that we are faced with today.

I mean, it wasn't unpredictable that the Islamic fundamentalists would rise up and begin to attack the United States. That wasn't unpredictable. In fact, it was predicted, not by me, but by other people who had an insight into human nature and history that went beyond the things that I could sense at that time at least.

And so we have seen the philosophy of ``the enemy of my enemy is my friend.'' There is a certain factor, and I will just called it national jealousy, that envy factor that comes into play. Europe had lost a lot of its glory. They had formed in the 1970s, at least, and perhaps earlier than that, the European Union. The goal of the European Union was to establish the United States of Europe, to establish the United States of Europe incrementally by a common currency and opening up borders and providing for open and free trade in the European Union.

It was designed and it was in print as a policy position and objective and a goal. And the mission statement was to shape the European Union into the United States of Europe and to provide, quote, ``a counterbalance to the United States of America,'' close quote.

You can see where Europe didn't like the idea that the United States of America--the progeny of Europe is what we have been--could become the unchallenged superpower in the world. So that resistance and objection emerged from Western Europe, the Western Europe that represents, I think, the ancestors to modern day Western civilization. But there is a little nation envy that goes on, and there is an aspiration of a wannabe in trying to make the world a better place.

In Eastern Europe they hung onto their freedom a little bit more, and I have observed that those people who have most recently achieved their freedom are the ones who protect it and guard it the most jealously. That has been the case with the Eastern Europeans who remember what it was like to live under the yoke of communism who celebrated in this month, and will celebrate every November 9 of every year from here on, the fall of the Wall, the literal crashing of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War and the beginning of freedom that echoed across Eastern Europe, and by some estimations all of the way across Asia to the Pacific Ocean, until the utopianists, the control people, the dictators began to emerge and to take away the freedoms.

We believed, I think, for some time that in Russia, the remainder of the old Soviet Union, that they had that level of freedom that the people in Russia wanted. We believed they had free elections and freedom of press and a free market economy. At least it was emerging, and people were willing to learn how to compete in a free market economy. But today we see that Putin has diminished that dramatically, that the elections are not the legitimate elections that we had hoped we would see in Russia, that free market capitalism is instead controlled often by a Russian mob, a Russian mafia, and favoritisms that take place and the payoffs that go on within indicate a corrupt society that's now run for the glorification and the power and the enrichment of the rulers. That's the case in a number of other countries in the world.

But we're unique here in the United States of America. Madam Speaker, we're a unique people. And, yes, we are the progeny of Western Europe, and we are the progeny that came from primarily Western European stock. And at the time that we received the best that Western Europe had to offer, we also received a fundamental Christian faith as the core of our moral values.

This is a Judeo-Christian Nation, Madam Speaker. The core of our moral values is embodied within the culture. Whatever church people go to or whether they go to church, wherever they worship or whether they worship, we still have the American people who, as a culture, understand Christian values and Christian principles, the Judeo-Christian values that are timeless.

So I would illustrate that, Madam Speaker, in this way. An example would be this: Let's just say if an honorable man from Texas were to pull into his driveway and his neighbor's dog had gotten loose and had run underneath the tire of his car. If you're in Texas or Iowa or most of the places in the country, if you run over your neighbor's dog, what do you do? This is how I'm going to illustrate this is a Christian Nation. You go over and knock on your neighbor's door and you say, Well, Joe, I just killed your dog. I'm sorry.

Well, there are two things that happened there. One of them is confession, I just killed your dog. I'm sorry, his repentance. The third thing you say is, Will you forgive me? I didn't mean to. It was an accident. So you would have confession, repentance, and you ask for forgiveness. And the neighbor, Joe, will say, Well, it wasn't your fault. Of course you're forgiven. And that is the path of Christian forgiveness that takes place even when we run over our neighbor's dog.

This is a Christian Nation, and the foundation of Western civilization are those kinds of values. And this is rooted going as far back as the Age of Reason in Greece where the foundations and the principles of logic and reason and science were developed, and it flows through Western civilization into the division of the Age of Enlightenment that took place, the English speaking half where we got our free enterprise and our freedom from and the non-English-speaking half of the Age of Enlightenment where we got a lot of these utopian ideas that flowed down here. And some of them have polluted the thought process, and they clearly pollute the thought process here in the United States Congress where many have suspended their ability to reason.

I recall even this week being criticized by a professor of political science who assigned me a belief system and then attacked the belief system that he assigned to me. You wouldn't have gotten by with that in front of Socrates or Milton Friedman, for example, and you shouldn't get by with that in this society either. If person after person in this Congress takes the posture that we should be legislating in part by anecdotes and by feelings and by emoting, by something sympathetic so that no one falls through anything, that we create a sieve that there are no cracks in, truthfully, Madam Speaker, society doesn't work that way. There is good and there is evil in all of us.

We're predominantly good. We have to punish the evil and reward the good. And our job in this Congress is to enhance and increase in public policy, to the extent we can, the average annual productivity of our people. And if that is brought about in a moral fashion, that improves the quality of life, the standard of living of everyone in the United States of America, and it strengthens us from a military, economic, social, and cultural standpoint. And we are being weakened by people who undermine our national security, by people who are constantly assaulting free enterprise, capitalism, by people who are constantly assaulting the rule of law. And the rule of law does apply and it applies in securing our borders.

I see my friend from Missouri has arrived on the floor, and whatever is on his heart at the time, I'd be so happy to yield to the gentleman. The gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Akin).

Mr. AKIN. I thank my good friend from Iowa for yielding.

A number of the different words that you're using are so important to the foundation of the whole logic of how the American system works. You were talking about the idea of a rule of law, and that's one of those terms that sounds pretty straightforward. We believe in the rule of law.

What's the alternative to the rule of law? We have been seeing a whole lot of it this year. The alternative to the rule of law is special deals. If you recall, rule of law is depicted frequently by the marble statue of Lady Justice. And she has the blindfold across her eyes. She's holding up the scales. And regardless of who you are, man or woman or big or little or rich or poor, Lady Justice just simply says, Just the facts. So that's what is called the rule of law. People are equal before the law. But the alternative to that is, of course, rule by whims of mankind. It's special deals.

Mr. KING of Iowa. It could be anarchy.

Mr. AKIN. So we have the ``too big to fail'' rule. So we tax Americans, not so much Americans that live now but their grandchildren we're going to tax, and we pass these things like the porkulus bill, which is supposed to be stimulus, and we pass the Wall Street bailout. We take all this money and we give it to whom? Every small mom and pop shop that might fail? No. We give it to the ``too big to fail.'' So, therefore, you've moved from the rule of law to a special deals society. And that's the problem. Of course, that's really what socialism is. It's special deals administered by guess who, Big Brother government.

That's not what made America great. That's not what allowed our great Nation, my good friend Congressman King, that's not what allowed us to have a list of the different nations throughout the world that Americans freed from horrible dictatorships. That's a long list. I saw it actually listed on a cartoon. It had the list of all of these countries that American GIs and that American treasure through the ages have freed. Places like Germany. Places like Japan where you have some dictator, where we went in and we freed them from that. Places like Grenada, where our sons and daughters went in and took a risk and left a free country. That's not why we were able to do that because we're another socialist Big Government-run country. It's because we're a country that was based on a different set of principles.

The thing that strikes me the most, and I don't want to overuse the welcome that you've extended to me, is

this. There was a country not so many years ago, and this is how their thinking worked: They said, look, if you've got somebody and they don't have a house to stay in and it gets cold in the winter, they're going to freeze to death. And if they don't have food to eat, they're going to starve to death. And if they don't have medical care, they're going to die of some kind of medical condition. So they ought to have a right to housing, a right to food, a right to health care. And if they haven't had an education and they can't read, they ought to have a right to know how to read and to study and be educated. So that government created those rights for its citizens, and they marched forward boldly into the future until they became bankrupt and were disbanded. And it was called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. We call it the USSR. And we knew it wasn't a very good system because it was based on communism and socialism.

Yet here in America, we have heard, even as I have stood here on the floor with you my friend, Democrats say that you have a right to health care. So as a government, we are now saying that we're going to have the government get involved in housing. The government's going to get involved in food, in food stamps. The government is now going to take over health care. The government has now taken over most of the loans for colleges and education. And it's like how come we're repeating the same things that the Soviet Union did and anticipating that we'll get different results?

Instead, our Founders had a different concept. They said that our rights are basic things that come from God. In our Declaration of Independence, all are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If you'll note, those rights are not rights to something that somebody else has a claim to.

Those of you from Iowa do some farming. I think you grow some corn in Iowa. I know we do some in Missouri, but our next-door neighbor does a lot of wheat and corn. And when you have one of your Iowa farmers combine the sweat of his brow with the produce from the field, they own that corn. It is their corn because it was grown on their land. They worked hard and it belongs to them. We call that private property. We call that free enterprise. And because I'm hungry doesn't give me a right to something that belongs to someone else. That's theft. That's stealing. And if the government takes someone's corn and gives it to someone else who didn't grow it, that's called stealing, except we just call it institutionalized theft. That's socialism. You never have a right to something that's the unique property of another person.

The Founders said you have a right to your life because God gives that uniquely to an individual. You see, you have a right to liberty because God gives you just one life and you can go choose a career of your choosing. Nobody else chooses your career. You get to do it yourself. But it doesn't say you own somebody else's career and should tell them what they should do with their life. That's what the Soviet Union thought.

So our system was based on freedom, was based on limited government; limited in the sense that it was the job of government to protect just those basic rights that God gives to all men. And we have been setting aside that formula that works, instead trying to adopt something that the Europeans have never made work, and, of course, it never worked in the Soviet Union. We're going in the wrong direction, and we need to go back toward freedom.

I didn't mean to get on too long a dissertation, but those distinctions between equal before the law as opposed to special deals, that's a very big part of what we're dealing with, Congressman.

Mr. KING of Iowa. I thank the gentleman from Missouri for coming in to add that.

The components of this freedom that seem to be completely disregarded over on this side of the aisle and the debate that we've gone through on health care and the argument that there are certain freedoms in that fashion, I recall Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech. And if you go down to the memorial down here at FDR's memorial, you can walk along and look at the display. He's the longest serving President of the United States. He had some ideas. I think he was very strong in leading this country through victory in World War II. I think that his economic leadership throughout the Great Depression extended and made the Great Depression greater than it might have been if we had allowed free market capitalism to prevail.

But Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave the famous Four Freedoms speech, and the four freedoms were painted and drawn by Norman Rockwell on the cover of Life Magazine, as I recall it. And the four freedoms were freedom of speech, good. Freedom of religion, also good. Both of those are constitutional freedoms. They are protected in the Constitution specifically. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion. The other two were freedom from want and freedom from fear.

Now, if any people can be free of want, that means that they don't have any desire to get up and go do anything. They don't want for anything. We know back during the 1970s when the American people were worried about the economic juggernaut of Japan swallowing our free market up because Japan was growing so fast and they were such intense competitors and they had cash left over and they were buying into the United States and competing directly, and I remember this from being a little boy.

We first started getting products from Japan that were little New Year's toys like the little whistles and those that spring out like that when you blow it. I don't know what you call those. I think the Japanese made the Chinese handcuffs we had to play with, too, if I'm not mistaken. Little paper products that came from Japan. And then things got a little better, and I can remember about the time I was in junior high school, I had a little Toshiba transistor radio where you could listen to a radio with a battery in it and walk around. That was a pretty neat deal. And as things went on, we started to see the Japanese make optics, and so the optical equipment today is state of the art. Very good. Very good recording, a very good electronic device.

The quality of what they were doing was pretty primitive just after World War II, which one would expect, and it got better and better and better. And by the 1970s, the Japanese were doing many things better than we were here in the United States. And we were worried that Japan was going to take us over, defeat us economically and eclipse the American economy because our production, our export markets were diminishing and theirs were increasing, and that was the first time, I think, in my lifetime we were worried about the balance of trade.

I said then and I will say today that if you wanted to destroy a culture, a free enterprise culture, a dynamic culture and civilization, the United States has a simple solution. What we would do is we would just go in and airdrop money over in Japan, and as long as they didn't work, we'd fly them in money. If you drop money down in the streets of Tokyo and if people could gather that up every day and spend it and buy what they needed, they wouldn't want for anything and they wouldn't work for anything. It would destroy the work ethic of a culture and a civilization. That's how you would do it. If you want to create a socialist state, I can tell you how to do that, too, Madam Speaker.

And that is, go out into the middle of the Sahara Desert, where there isn't a soul, not even a camel, for 100 miles, and hang a pipe there from a sky hook--that's our expression for when you don't have anything to hang it to, you just hang it to a sky hook--and hang a pipe there and drop Federal dollars down out of that pipe, let them billow out onto the sand in the desert; and pretty soon somebody would find that money and they would go there to grab that money and somebody else would come, somebody else would come. It wouldn't be earned income. That would just be something free that comes from the sky.

Federal money comes from the sky. It's been dumped all over America by this President: $787 billion in the stimulus plan; $700 billion in the TARP fund. And when you give people something for nothing, they lose their desire, they lose their want. They have freedom from want as long as they're dependent upon the benefactor. We could create a socialist state in less than a generation in the middle of the Sahara Desert if we just dumped money out there and gave it to people, and they would become dependent upon it. That is how you destroy a culture or a civilization. We've got to have want. We've got to have desire. I think Milton Friedman talked about how greed was a good quality. As long as it is a greed that's built upon a moral foundation and aspiration. And aspiration is a good thing.

And why anybody would think that greed doesn't exist in a socialist state is amazing to me. The people that are advocating for a socialist state, don't tell me you aren't. You are. You've taken all kinds of steps to move this Nation into a socialist state. If anybody wants to step into that debate, just stand up, I will yield right now; but I don't think you believe strongly enough to take me on.

You're moving us towards a socialist state. The people in this Congress on the left side have nationalized eight large entities: three large investment banks, AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, General Motors and Chrysler. $787 billion in the stimulus plan. They have nationalized several congressional districts in my State. They don't exist, but they must have nationalized them. They've dumped money in there now and created these jobs where districts don't exist, where jobs don't exist, but it's put out here.

The freedom of the free market system has been dramatically diminished. And the people that advocate for this socialist state, this freedom from want, simply create a dependency class in America. FDR's inspiration is not a right. You don't have a right to not wanting for something. The heart of the American people, the heart of free people, has to want for something. We've got to desire for something. We've got to desire that the next generation lives better than we do. We've got to desire that we live in a moral and virtuous and a faithful society. We've got to raise our children that way. If we tie this together, then the world is a better place, and more people succeed and more people live better. And the harder we work, and the more we produce, it raises the average annual productivity. But if we don't want, we don't produce and, therefore, our productivity diminishes, and the sun sets on the American empire. That's freedom from want's mistake.

FDR's other mistake is freedom from fear. Freedom from fear. Now, if we don't fear anything, we don't move away from anything or we don't face those fears either. How can any government guarantee that you have a right to freedom from fear? Yet the belief over here, on the ever-encroaching socialist side of the aisle, is that we have a right to be free from want, free from fear, a right to health care, a right to your own personalized health insurance program, a program that will be delivered to every American human being, probably to the chimpanzees too like they want to do in Austria and have tried, but to every American human being a health insurance policy of your very own. That's what's in the bill; for illegals as well.

Here's how it works, Mr. Speaker. It works in this fashion. They have now covered every possible scenario of someone who is illegally in the United States and made sure everybody's covered if this bill finally becomes law. First of all, they undermined the proof of citizenship requirements in the Medicaid language and did so in the SCHIP rewrite, where they expanded health insurance for children and families of four, for example, in my State, making less than $75,000 a year, and providing that health insurance at 300 percent of poverty. In that bill, which, by the way, provided health insurance premiums for families that were also paying the alternative minimum tax; they had to pay the rich man's tax, then we had to subsidize the health insurance premiums for their children. And in that same bill, they wiped out the proof of citizenship requirements, the requirements for a birth certificate and other documents that are the foundation of verification for Medicaid eligibility so we are not providing Medicaid to illegals. That got wiped out.

Now an illegal person in the United States just simply has to attest to a Social Security number. Here's a number. It's mine. Fine. Here are your benefits. There are 9.7 million people who, in the United States, don't bother to sign up. They're here in this list. I won't go into that so far, Mr. Speaker, except to say, now, here, they want to give health insurance policies to every illegal in America. I've just talked about those that now just have to sign up for Medicaid. But some of them have jobs. Those that are working, the employer will be required to give them a health insurance policy, legal or not, and prohibited from verifying whether they are legal because E-Verify doesn't allow an employer to check their current employees; only new hires.

So under these scenarios that are there, and, by the way, if they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and the employer doesn't provide that health insurance, then the alternative is we will just cut them a check. We'll give them a refundable tax credit and say, take that and buy your health insurance, and they can go to the exchange that's created by this bill and they can buy health insurance from there. There is no scenario that can be contrived, Mr. Speaker, that an illegal in America would be denied, conceivably, a health insurance policy, much of it, we might even go so far, I'll say almost all of it, funded by the American taxpayer.

That's how far out of touch with reality the people over on this side of the aisle are. It is a lust for political power, and it's a direct assault on the rule of law in the United States of America, an assault on the producers in America, and it undermines the core of our character and who we are, and it dispirits the patriotic Americans. It undermines and erodes and corrodes our soul. That is what's at stake here.

I would yield to the gentleman from Missouri.

Mr. AKIN. I really appreciate your yielding to me.

One of the things that happens down here, as you're aware of, this legislative process gets a little bit complicated. Sometimes people pay attention to people like you and I on the floor of the Chamber of the House. People may even pay attention to what we're voting on here on the floor. But when you talk about this Nancy Pelosi health care/socialized medicine bill, on the floor, you're not going to have an amendment that says, yeah, but the illegal immigrants can't get free health care here. They're not going to have that amendment out here because people don't want to vote that because that might not be very popular back home.

But the interesting thing is, gentleman, as you know, in various committees, they do take those votes. In fact, that very amendment was offered in one of the committees where the Pelosi health care bill was for some number of months, and they offered an amendment saying that there will be no one that's eligible for any of this insurance pool, any of these insurance pools that has not passed the eligibility of citizenship, and they spelled out what that was. That was an amendment that was offered.

The bill had said originally, we're not going to give this to illegal immigrants. But there was no enforcement mechanism. So in order to add the enforcement mechanism, that amendment was proposed. That amendment then went up for a vote in the committee. Can you guess on you how the voting went? It was supported 100 percent by Republicans and rejected by the Democrats.

So, is there a protection in the bill for illegal immigrants to be able to get health insurance? The answer is, of course they can get it, because that amendment was defeated. Now there were all sorts of protest. Oh, it's not our intent that illegal immigrants are going to get this free health care. But the fact of the matter is, if that were really the intent to protect that, there would have been an amendment in the bill to say, we don't mean for people to get this unless they pass the citizenship eligibility requirements. But that amendment was defeated by the Democrats in committee. They knew that. It came to the floor without that protection, and it passed this floor without that protection. And that says that the way the Pelosi health care bill stands now, that you've got illegal immigrants that come to this country and they're going to get health care. And guess who's going to pay for it? The U.S. taxpayers are going to pay for it, or their children or their grandchildren with the multi-trillion dollar bill that has been proposed.

It's interesting that what you're saying, a lot of people say, Well, I don't like this partisan stuff. The Democrats claim this. The Republicans claim this. Can't you all just get along? The fact of the matter is you put an amendment like that up in committee and you see there's just this polar division of opinion as to what should be in this health care bill. And what you saw was that all of the Republicans said we need to protect against illegal immigrants getting this health care. And the Democrats voted--I think there may be one or two that voted with the Republicans, but certainly clearly a great majority, so that that amendment failed, and that's the way that Pelosi health care bill is now.

And so I just thought it interesting because people don't know about what happens in committees.

Mr. KING of Iowa. I just would inject this into our discussion. This was what James Russell Lowell had to say, a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln's, by the way. This is what he had to say about compromise: Compromise makes a good umbrella but a poor roof. It is temporarily expedient, often wise in party politics, almost sure to be unwise in statesmanship. That's James Russell Lowell's statement on compromise. A good umbrella but a poor roof.

I would yield back to the gentleman from Missouri.

Mr. AKIN. Well, I think that's something we need to be paying some attention to, too. So we've got the illegal immigration question that's part of these uninsured. There were other kinds of amendments that were offered, too, in committees. I don't know if you wanted to talk about them.

I thought another one that seemed to me to be very important and, that is, what's the heart of good health care? It seems like to me that the heart of it is that when a doctor and a patient come to a decision as to what they should be doing medically, that other people shouldn't butt in and tell the doctor and the patient what should happen. That seems to be fairly fundamental to the way we work. Maybe you want to get a second opinion with another doctor to make sure what you're doing is right. But that doctor-patient relationship is something that is very important. Most of the doctors go into the field assuming that they're going to have that relationship with their patient, and so we put some emphasis on that.

Now one of the things that we don't like is when some insurance company injects themselves into that doctor-patient relationship. I've heard the Democrats complain about that. They say, Those greedy insurance companies, they get in between the doctor and the patient. As a Republican, we don't like that either. And so one of the things we did was we put in the bill, as an amendment, that no government bureaucrat would insert themselves between the doctor and the patient. That was another amendment that was passed, was offered by a Republican doctor, I think it was Dr. Gingrey if I remember, from Georgia. Again, Republicans voted for it 100 percent. The Democrats, with maybe one exception, voted against it.

And so we have this Pelosi health care bill, and it has no doctor-patient relationship protection in it at all. Now there is something, believe it or not, worse than some insurance person coming between you and your doctor, and that's when it's a bureaucrat, a Federal Government saying, No, we're sorry, Steve. You're too old. You don't get to have this. You can take a bottle of aspirin home with you. But we're not going to do it.

Mr. KING of Iowa. I would just reclaim my time. You've inspired a recent recollection. I believe it was just yesterday when the Federal Government panel came out and said to women, You no longer need to start getting mammograms when you're 40 years old. Wait till you're 50. You no longer need to get them every year. You can wait 2 years and space them out for a 2-year period of time. This is the precursor of the panels that we're likely to see if this bill that's before this Congress becomes law.

I will put the diagram of these 111 new agencies up here just so we have a little bit of an image of what is coming at us in America if we're not able to kill this bill. In any case, the advice that came from the panel on breast cancer is the kind of advice you'll get from a death panel.

The freedoms have been dramatically diminished here in the United States of America. There's been an assault on them. The vigor and vitality of the United States is under assault from the liberal socialist left. This is socialized medicine. We've seen the nationalization of a third of our economy and we need to get it back. The President needs an exit strategy from the nationalization of our economy. We need to kill this bill, Mr. Speaker, and we need to reach out and grasp American freedom, American liberty and American vitality.

Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Back to top