PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 2828, WATER SUPPLY, RELIABILITY, AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENT ACT -- (House of Representatives - July 09, 2004)
Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 711 and ask for its immediate consideration.
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Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the previous question so that we may consider and support the McGovern amendment.
What happened here yesterday was not an affront to the members of the minority. It was not even an affront to the 140 million people that we represent. It was an affront to the tradition of this institution that says that rules should reign over personal agendas.
We all come here believing passionately in the rightness of our cause, and we fight passionately for victory for our causes. But we have learned that when we lose that fight, the right result is to come back tomorrow and fight again.
When you lose, Mr. Speaker, the right result is not to wait until you can win by manipulating the rules. That is just plain wrong. And it has become a malignant practice here in this House.
When we considered the Medicare legislation, probably the most important legislation this Congress will consider, the vote was held open for more than 3 hours because the majority lost the vote. And during those 3 hours, the majority took advantage of whatever leverage it had, and some of that leverage is now the subject of an investigation by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. It took advantage of every piece of leverage it had to alter the outcome of the vote.
Yesterday, on a very significant vote regarding the civil liberties of the people of this country who go to a library or a bookstore, the majority lost the vote and was unwilling to settle for that response.
We have a tradition in this institution and in this country. You fight fiercely for the things in which you believe; but
when you lose, you lose, and the remedy is to come back tomorrow and fight again. The remedy is not to bend and subvert the rules so that you do not lose.
Our party lost the majority in this House a decade ago because there was a perception that we had subverted some of those rules. You, my friends in the majority, are in danger not only of losing your majority, but you are in danger of jeopardizing something far more important, and that is a basic understanding in this country that we all play under the rules.
Do not sacrifice the integrity of this institution again for some short-term, hallow political victory.
Vote against the previous question and adopt the McGovern amendment.