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Further Continuing Appropriations Amendments

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, let me just say, I was going to begin by saying that both my colleagues, Mr. Rogers and Mr. Dicks, did an absolutely phenomenal job at taking on the responsibility that is thrust on them when we have an open amendment process.

The people who go through the greatest challenge are those who have to defend the bill and be here for hours and hours and hours. And as we all know, we had 162 amendments considered on the House floor during those days that led up to before adjournment week before last. And we worked into the morning on every occasion. That means after midnight. I mean, I guess we adjourned at 2 or 3 on some of those days. I was sound asleep then, I have to admit. But you guys were working very, very hard, Mr. Speaker. And I want to thank them.

And I was pleased that those in the minority did recognize that doing what we did was unprecedented. Never before has a continuing resolution been considered under the process that we've had. At best, it's been a structured rule, which is what we had two decades ago, and both political parties had had usually a closed rule for the consideration of continuing resolutions up to that point. So I do believe that we have come together with, as Mr. Woodall has said, a package that included amendments from both sides of the aisle as we proceed with this.

Now, I was tickled also to hear my friend talk about the fact that $41 billion in cuts were made under Democratic leadership. The fact that both sides of the aisle are now talking about and bragging about ways to cut spending is, I think, a very encouraging sign, because that is the message. That's the message that Mr. Woodall was just offering. The constant expansion of government is, in fact, counterproductive in our quest to create jobs and get the economy moving.

Now, we had this exchange last night in the Rules Committee--yesterday afternoon in the Rules Committee, Mr. Speaker, in which we were talking about Mark Zandi and the Goldman Sachs projections as far as bringing about spending reductions.

And I brought to the fore one of the most brilliant economists I know, John Taylor, who is at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, former undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, a very good personal friend of mine. His son used to work in our office. He's serving in the United States Marine Corps. And I've got to say, Mr. Speaker, that John Taylor, in responding to the Zandi quote, made it very clear that the notion of not bringing about spending reductions would in fact exacerbate the economic challenges that we have. And the bottom line is: The best way for us to get our economy growing is to ensure that people can keep more of their hard-earned money and to restrict the kind of control that the Federal Government has continued to thrust on individuals.


Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, if I could reclaim my time, I would say to my friend I think what we've just shown is that the proverbial economists say on one hand, on the other hand.

The fact is not every economist agrees on this notion, but a statement has been made. And, in fact, my friend made it upstairs, and that is, he said when he was quoting Mark Zandi, that everyone, basically every economist--and that is what I inferred from the statement--came to this conclusion. And my point in actually referencing Professor Taylor is that there is disagreement on it.

I happen to come down on the side, personally, of Mr. Taylor. I think it's important for us, just because we want to all encourage individual initiative and responsibility, to do everything that we can to reduce the size and scope and reach of government--and that's what the goal of H.R. 1 is--so that we can get the economy growing. And I believe that more incentives by reducing that tax and regulatory burden will create jobs, because we do share that goal. I mean, I'm convinced that everyone wants to do that.

But this notion, I mean I've heard commentators saying that somehow that Republicans in saying that we might see a reduction in the number of Federal Government jobs, that we're not for job creation. We want people to have good, long-term jobs in the private sector, and that's our goal here.

This rule is a standard rule. I should say at the outset that we wanted to have this not a closed rule but a modified closed rule. And I know my friend was concerned that his amendment that he testified on behalf of in the Rules Committee wasn't made in order. But I will tell you that we did, from the very beginning, say to the minority leader, Ms. Pelosi, that she, when having introduced on February 18 her substitute proposal that basically kept spending at 2010 levels, that we would have made that in order and it would have made it a modified closed rule that we had offered, so we did do that.

We are where we are. Ensuring that we don't go through a government shutdown is something that Chairman Rogers and I know Mr. Dicks and all of us in leadership positions, rank-and-file Members alike, want to avoid, and that's why we've got this 2-week package that's before us. I hope the Senate will act so that we can do that, and then do what we all want to make sure happens, and that is have a negotiated agreement that will get to where we need to be.

So I thank my friend for his management of this rule just as he managed the last open rule.

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