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Public Statements

Government Shutdown Prevention Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. WOODALL. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

We have had a lot of talk on the floor today about children. We've been reading children's stories and been shown children's books. I've been harkened back to my own childhood in the 1970s and ``Schoolhouse Rock''; and for folks who have not seen the ``Schoolhouse Rock,'' there's an entire DVD now. It's advanced. I recommend that you pick a copy up for the young people in your life because it really is a fantastic beginning step about what it is that we're all about here, what it is [Page: S1923]that we're all about.

The Preamble is in that ``Schoolhouse Rock'' category. No more kings is in that ``Schoolhouse Rock'' category. And what they talk about is what does it mean for us to be Americans; and what it means is that folks elect their Representatives and they send them to Washington, D.C., and they say get your business done, get your business done. That's what we're trying to do with this resolution here today, get our business done.

I just want to read from the bill. It saddens me. I'm so thrilled that so many Americans watch what we do here on the House floor to hold us accountable, and I'm so saddened by all the misinformation that's circulated.

I read here directly from the bill:

``If the House has not received a message from the Senate before April 6, 2011, stating that it has passed a measure providing for the appropriations for the Departments and agencies of the Government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, the provisions of H.R. 1, as passed by the House, are hereby enacted into law.''

This bill that we send to the Senate, for the Senate to pass, and the President to sign, those provisions are hereby enacted into law. Now, I just want to study that a little bit closer. If the House has not received a message from the Senate stating that the Senate has passed a measure providing for the appropriations of the United States Government.

Folks may be wondering, Madam Speaker, why is it that we're doing that now? Wasn't that supposed to be done last September? Yes, it was. It didn't get done. Should that have gotten done last December? Yes, it should have, but it didn't get done. So we're here today to get it done.

Forty-one days ago we passed a bill to fund the government. This entire body worked its will in a process that was as open as this House has ever seen: Democrats and Republicans working together, Republicans winning amendments, Democrats winning amendments, Democrats losing amendments, Republicans losing amendments. It made me proud to be a Representative and to serve in this body. It was the best work product this House could put together. We sent it over to the Senate 41 days ago. The Senate defeated it, fair enough. Folks don't have to agree with me. Fair enough. What they do have to do is they have to act. They defeated our bill, H.R. 1. They defeated a Democrat bill. Then they've done nothing.

I got a call earlier today. I held up a board just like this talking about what the Senate had done. Well, there's nothing on this sheet of paper, folks. Golly, you held up the wrong sign. The answer is, no, it's the right sign. Nothing, nothing have we received from the United States Senate. It's the same on both sides, blank. How in the world are we supposed to fund this government with nothing from the United States Senate?

This bill does two things and two things only, Madam Speaker. It says, Senate act. You don't have to act like us, act like Democrats, just act. Act. Do something, send us something, begin the process, make it available. Act.

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. WOODALL. Madam Speaker, can you tell me how much time I have remaining?

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Georgia has 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

Mr. WOODALL. In that case, I would be delighted to yield to the gentleman from Florida.

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. I just have a question. Do you really believe that what you're doing is constitutional?

Mr. WOODALL. Absolutely. I appreciate your asking. I appreciate your asking because having had my motives impugned throughout the day, and I know with the collegial relationship that you and I have in the Rules Committee, you know for a fact I wouldn't be here otherwise. I wouldn't be here otherwise.

Now, I'm no scholar of House activities. I know we have passed bills in this House that have incorporated things by reference before, and I'm sure we will do it again, not outside the process. To suggest--and you appreciate this, I say to my friend from Florida--to receive constitutional instruction from the team that brought us ObamaCare is troubling at the most basic levels.

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Will the gentleman yield again for yet another question?

Mr. WOODALL. I would be happy to yield to the gentleman.

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Do you have any precedent for the constitutionality of this particular measure? And I urge you based on what you just said, there have been measures that were deemed, but that was when they were agreed upon, but there is no authority anywhere for us to pass a law requiring of the United States Senate to undertake to do something, and I appreciate my colleague yielding.

Mr. WOODALL. Reclaiming my time, I will say that this is a unique procedure and these are unique times.

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Unique and unconstitutional.

Mr. WOODALL. But I will just say to you that in 1999, a Republican Congress, a Democratic President, enacted the foreign relations authorization bill, by reference, in an appropriations bill. That's what we're doing today.

Folks, if you don't like it, call your Senate colleagues and get them to act. This is where we need to be. We need action from the Senate. Call your Senate colleagues. I've called them. I need you to call them, too. We need to move this ball forward.

If the government shuts down, our military men and women don't get paid, Madam Speaker. If the government shuts down, our USDA inspectors go home and beef and chicken leave our shelves in the grocery stores. This isn't play time, going back to our children references. This is serious business. Folks sent us here to do serious things.

And I could not be happier, Madam Speaker, then, for the second provision in this bill to say if you don't work, you don't get paid. It's a basic premise in this Republic, no pay for no work. I'm very proud of the work that we have done, and I implore my colleagues to contact their Senators and get them to do something. Something.

This is what we have from the Senate so far, Madam Speaker. We deserve better. The American people deserve better. And, dadgum it, the Senate can do better.


Mr. WOODALL. I rise in opposition to the motion to recommit, Madam Speaker.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Georgia is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. WOODALL. I don't know where to begin. The misrepresentation, after misrepresentation, after misrepresentation. I don't impugn anyone's motives. I admire the passion. But if you really believe with no work, no pay--and I wish we still had that board up there--if you really believe it, all this time we've been spending talking about the Constitution, don't you think we ought to do that in a constitutional way?

I do. Because if we say it, we ought to mean it, and we ought to stand by our conviction.


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