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Granting Authority to Committee on Education and Labor for Purposes of its Investigation Into Underground Coal Mining Safety

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ANDREWS. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the chairlady for yielding.

I think it is important for the House to reflect on what we are and are not doing.

What we are doing is considering a procedure by which the Congress can investigate what may or may not have happened in the tragedy that occurred in West Virginia that cost the miners their lives, setting that process in motion.

What the minority is doing is trying to bring to the floor a vote on a different matter regarding the TANF program. And that is well within their rights, so I am not going to object to their procedural efforts to do that. I am going to object to the substance of their argument.

If I understand it correctly, the cut that they are interested in making is in a program that I think most Americans think makes pretty good sense. And what it essentially says is, if you are able-bodied and you receive welfare benefits, you should work. Most Americans, when they hear that, would say it is a pretty good idea.

And I want to read to the minority that this program that they want to debate today was commented on by a gentleman from a think tank in Washington who said: Given the state of the labor market, it is hard to imagine how any sensible person could oppose extending the emergency fund that they are talking about.

This was not from the Obama administration or one of the more liberal groups in town. It was Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute.

So I would say to the minority that their thirst for spending cuts was somehow missing when the Bush administration raised spending by 8 percent per year, when the Bush administration launched two wars on borrowed money, when the Bush administration cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and paid for it by borrowing money from the Chinese.

There is a record on spending increases in recent history. During the Clinton years, Federal spending increased by 4 percent per year on the average. During the Bush years, spending increased by 8 percent per year on the average. In the first 2 years of the President's term, spending has increased by 6 percent, given the economic emergency. But during the 8 years of President Reagan's term, spending increased by 7 percent per year.

So I am with the minority, Mr. Speaker. I think spending restraint is something we need to have, which is why we should make sure we never have another Republican majority in the House of Representatives.


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