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Public Statements

America's Spending

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. GOHMERT. We're at the end of another week of session here.

You know, the President's been traveling around the country. I know that costs millions and millions of dollars to put Air Force One in motion, hopping all over the country. I've also seen what it takes from a security standpoint to prepare for a President to come anywhere. Because of the sniper weapons available these days, they have to be so thorough.

The Secret Service has to go along and check. Anything they can see, they have to check out. Well, that takes several days.

So, to the average person, you think, Well, gee. The President just comes in. He's gone in 30 minutes. No big deal. But for those whose life's work it is in the government to make sure that things go properly, it is an extremely onerous task. We owe so much to those who protect those who are leaving the country, not so much the people in Congress. I know we had people in Congress who were advocating that we all ought to have our own security detail; but as one of my constituents said one morning at 2 a.m. in Wal-Mart, ``Wow, you really don't have any security,'' and I said, ``No. It's just you, me and the syrup here.'' I don't think we should have to have security. If it comes to that, this country is in such trouble that I'm not sure we'll have it back in any proper form anyway.

In the meantime, I am an advocate of letting people in Washington, D.C., who aren't prior convicted felons and who meet the requirements, of being able to carry. Let folks carry. Not here in the Capitol, of course. You don't need one here. We've got the finest we could hope for, Mr. Speaker. I know you know the Capitol Police are fantastic. We've got some up in the gallery who make sure that things are orderly up there; and as we know from the last 20 years, there are times they've had to lay down their lives to protect the public here.

So we are greatly blessed, but it all comes back to this, that we're talking about millions and millions of dollars for the President to go anywhere. Ever since 1 week ago, we were chastised by the President here on the House floor, as he spoke from the podium here, that we needed to pass his bill. Somebody else counted them. I didn't. We've got to pass this bill right now, right away, right now. Pass this bill now. It turns out the whole time the President was saying ``this bill,'' there was no such bill, which brought back memories of exactly 2 years before when at that time the President demanded to come address a joint session of Congress.

Under the rules of Congress, the laws of the land, no one can demand to come speak to the Senate or House unless they're invited, but that was overlooked back in September of 2009. The President was not doing well in the polling with his health care ideas. He figured, if he came and spoke here on the floor, because he is such a gifted reader, that he might be able to persuade people to support a bill they otherwise didn't like.

So he came and he spoke. He spoke of this bill, my bill, this plan, my plan. I couldn't find a bill. I couldn't find a plan anywhere. It was even 2 weeks later that I asked the Cabinet member charged with Health and Human Services--it's her area--since the President was so accusatory and said, If any of you misrepresent my bill, I am going to call you out, I wanted to make sure I didn't misrepresent anything. I asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services: Where do I get a copy of the President's bill? She said these words: I think he was talking about a set of principles.

Ah, it couldn't have been. He said this bill, my bill, this plan, my plan. He didn't have a plan. He didn't have a bill. He was talking about a set of principles? How could he condemn us for misrepresenting a bill or a plan that he didn't have? Not then. It turns out he didn't.

So, as I heard the President say repeatedly to pass this bill, pass this bill, to do it right now, right now, I wondered if, yet again, 2 years later, he was making the same error--demanding we pass a bill that didn't exist. It turns out my concerns were well-founded. He had no bill. He had no plan. He had a speech.

But as we've learned from CBO, generally speaking, unless they're chastised sufficiently by the President or the White House, CBO cannot score a speech. If they're chastised sufficiently, then CBO will give them some sort of scoring because there are pressures that can be brought to bear from the White House that somehow, apparently, make them sensitive, which is another whole point. I really don't believe that we will be able to fix the problems of the massive overspending, the overtaxing, the dramatic problems with the overvexation, the overburdensome laws and regulations until we change a number of things.

One of those is we eliminate the Congressional Budget Office and eliminate the rules under which bills are scored. Those rules were put in place in 1974 by the same Congress that forced the military to rush out of Vietnam, leaving, many report, around 2 million people who had helped us to be wiped out--murdered, killed--because the Congress didn't care. That same Congress put in rules that would require that a bill be scored as to the effect it would have on our economy, on spending, on revenue. It required it would be scored under rules that do not allow the scorer to take into consideration reality, history, facts. All they're allowed to do is to consider the formulas--the rules under which they're bound by that 1974 Congress. That's it.

Now, we've gotten horrible scoring, and it can't be blamed on CBO or on the Joint Commission on Taxation. It's the rules that are the problem. But when a group comes back with a score of around $800 billion and then later they have to confirm in reality it's more like, say, $1.1 trillion, then you realize on an $800 billion bill that the score really should put boldly that you have to consider that with a 30 to 40 percent margin of error, plus or minus. So here is the score, plus or minus 30 or 40 percent, and that's about the best we can do.

Since that is the best that CBO can apparently do, it's time to have some massive changes in this place. It's time to use reality. It's time to use history and not some 1974 liberal Congress' idea of how we get the government taking over everybody's lives. That's no way to run government unless you're in some country besides the United States of America.

There's an old saying in this town, Mr. Speaker: No matter how cynical you get, it's never enough to catch up.

In my 6 1/2 years here in Congress, I've found that's certainly true because you want to trust everybody. You want to believe that when people say things in this town it's true, but then you find out, for example, that you can have a leader of the country tell everybody that we need to go after the Big Oil companies. They're having massive profits, and we're going after those companies. Then you find out that the bill that's produced to go after those companies has no adverse effect on those companies whatsoever, and in fact, it will make them even bigger profits than they might have ever imagined.

Now, I know there have been some issues about the bill title, ``American Jobs Act of 2011,'' and yes, I am the one who filed the American Jobs Act of 2011.

I think it will be a wonderful thing when we in this body can work together. We can have our disagreements. I found, in a deacon body, even though there was a lot of nasty, mean things said, that if we had prayer together and we came together, we had meals together, we could work together.

One of the things that's so troubling on this floor is when people come so close to impugning the integrity of other people. I know some people that have diametrically opposed views of how this country should work, but I know in their heart they want the country to work well and succeed. I just believe from history they're wrong, but there are people in this body who you might think we were so far from each other politically that we wouldn't want to have anything to do with each other.

Dennis Kucinich is one of those people that is quite far afield from me on so many political issues, but Dennis has never lied to me; he has always been up front. I find him to be a man of conviction, and I find him refreshing. Marcy Kaptur and I disagree on many issues, maybe most issues, but I know she is a person of integrity. She has never lied to me; she has never been anything but honest with me.

There are numerous people. Bill Delahunt and I would spar in Judiciary Committee many, many times, other committees, subcommittees, here on floor; but I always found Bill Delahunt--what I would call a liberal from Massachusetts, a Democrat--to be an honorable man, a man of integrity, and I believe with all my heart that he had a heart for this country and he wanted to see it work.

We ought to be able to work together when people realize that we have got common goals, the common goal being the good of the country. So let's at least find things we could agree on.

When I was engaged in trials--and I have been involved in many trials as an attorney, and as a judge, and then oversaw them briefly as a chief justice, but engaged as a lawyer--there were many times when we started in the discovery process that I told opposing counsel, We can do this one of two ways. We can fight, scrape and fuss over every question, over every interrogatory, over every deposition, but we both know the rules require certain things will need to be produced, that certain things will need to be disclosed.

So I would prefer to do it that way, amicably, and the people that win are the clients because they don't have to pay near as much money. Because it doesn't take near as much time if you can agree on the things that you know you are going to have to produce and quit having a motion to compel, a motion to protect, all this kind of stuff.

Sometimes we had attorneys that could work together well, and sometimes they would hit me with a discovery demand out of the blue that was so grossly unfair, but not illegal, that you would find out, okay, this is the way you want to go. I didn't want to go this way, but I believe so strongly in the interests of the person I am representing and believe so strongly in the process, itself, that if you want a fight, you will have a fight.

If somebody is going to travel around the country, condemning me and other people in this body for refusing to pass a bill, knowing that that bill does not exist, it is not in existence because legally it has not been filed, then we are going to do some battle over that. If I am going to be condemned for a week for refusing to pass an American Jobs Act of 2011, well, after 6 days or so, it's time to have an American Jobs Act that we can pass or at least that I could go along with.

I would certainly like, Mr. Speaker, the President and others to know I am flexible, but the corporate tax is one of the most insidious taxes that we have in this country because it's not an honest tax. Governments had represented to voters for years and years that we have got this tax over here. We go after the mean, evil, greedy corporations--and some do have greed as a material factor in their business--but the thing is, that's not what a corporate tax is about.

A corporation cannot stay in existence if they don't have their customers or clientele pay the corporate tax. So a corporate tax is not actually a tax on a corporation. A corporate tax is, instead, requiring the corporation to be the collection agent. Oh, make no mistake, that tax will come from the rank-and-file people across this great country. They're the ones that are going to pay that tax. The corporations are a collection agent. They collect the tax from their customers, and then they pass it on to the Federal Government.

The trouble is, in this country now, we have the highest corporate tax in the world, any developing nation for sure, 35 percent; in China, 17 percent, and they do cut deals where they will reduce it to zero tax for 5 years, I have been told by some people there. You get a deal--zero tax for 5 years and then gradually work up to 17.

Not here in the United States. We are going to slap a 35 percent tax on anything a company in America produces. That sure makes it tough to compete in the global market.

Now that we have got planes, ships that move so quickly, rail that goes across borders, it is important that we be able to compete in the global market. And if we are going to slap a 35 percent tariff on everything an American company produces in this country, they are going to have to move and go to a country where there is not such a high collection fee that corporations are required to collect in this country. They are going to go to a country like China that charges a lot less for a collection fee from the customers.

But if people could get their mind around the fact that it isn't making the greedy corporations pay, in fact, the greediest corporations are the ones that don't pay anything. You know, we found out that the close cronies of the President at GE are able not to pay any tax, but the mom-and-pop-type small business corporations, they are having to pay the tax.

Gibson is employing a lot of people. I got a Gibson guitar when I was 8 years old, a fantastic guitar. We are going to send in armed agents to harass those people. That's no way to draw business back into this country.

You reduce the corporate tax. If you reduce it at all, the more you reduce it, the more jobs are going to come back because that means more and more corporations will be able to compete in the global market, and they'll be able to come back here, union members, not the government union members--and that seems to be where union leadership wants to go these days. Forget the manufacturing unions. We are driving those jobs out of America. But any historian will tell you, when a nation that is protecting other nations--and we are; we are protecting the free world--that requires that nation to have a military.

Any nation that cannot provide its own military with the things it needs to protect itself--that means steel; it means all kinds of metal; it means gunpowder; it means, actually, uranium as we have nuclear subs and ships; it means wood products; it means tires. We are buying tires for Humvees from China these days. Excuse me? We have to be able to have no supply line to be able to provide the things that we in this country need to defend ourselves and provide them in this country. It's time to quit driving companies, including manufacturing jobs, out of the country. This bill drives more jobs out.

You have got to have energy. Those that are familiar with the Battle of the Bulge can dispel the myth that some think, gee, the war was won before the Battle of the Bulge.

Some say they buy into the Russians' explanation that we had whipped the Germans all by ourselves, we didn't need the allies otherwise, but if you really study the Battle of the Bulge, what won that for the Allies was the fact that the Germans were running out of gasoline.

So what does the President do to help us? He said go against and take the profits of these massive, big oil companies. Instead, page 151 through 154, he rips the heart out of the independent oil and gas industry.

In order to drill a well in America, you have to raise capital. If you're one of the majors like Exxon, like British Petroleum, the dear friends of the President, if you're one of those big companies, you've got enough money of your own. You're capitalized; you can do these things. But for over 94 percent of the wells drilled in the continental United States, they're raising money. They have to raise capital. Well, this knocks the fool out of their ability to raise capital. Not only that, it repeals the deductions that are not even available to any company that produces more than a thousand barrels of oil a day. That's the majors.

So all this will do is eliminate over 94 percent of the wells drilled in the continental United States. The result will be a higher cost of oil. It will make even more profits for the President's friends at British Petroleum. British Petroleum is friends of the President, they love the cap-and-trade idea, and they're going to love this bill by the President.

Also, we know, we've heard complaint after complaint from State after State, and they're saying, You are giving us so many unfunded mandates. We just can't take this any more. Stop already. We just can't stand this kind of help much longer.

So if you look through this bill, you end up finding out there is a little provision--and, like I say, I was up until about 5 a.m. Tuesday going through this lovely thing, but there is a provision at the bottom of one of the pages, rather obscure, and my staff made copies. I've got the best staff in the world, but I don't believe they got my tag back on that page. The title of the little section is Federal and State Immunity, but then you read the section, it has nothing to do with Federal immunity. Under the law, the Federal Government and the State government are immune from being sued, but in that provision it actually says that, gee, if a State accepts any money at all from the Federal Government, any money at all, then they have effectively waived their sovereign immunity and are therefore subject to suit.

I just found it. It's page 133:

``A State's receipt or use of Federal financial assistance for any program or activity of a State shall constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity, under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution or otherwise, to a suit brought by an employee or applicant for employment of that program or activity.'' It goes on.

So at a time when States say we can't afford any more unfunded mandates, the President proposes a bill to let them get sued a bunch more by people who are unemployed. That's just got to be great news.

And we're seeing the hearings go on about Solyndra. This administration, it appears from the evidence, we'll get the final verdict later, but they rushed in to give them $500 million of stimulus money so crony capitalism could occur and certain people could engorge themselves, and all at the taxpayers' expense, and it turns out that probably future generations will be paying for that.

If you like the way that was handled, you've got to be reassured, because in this bill there are a number of references that green programs, like Solyndra, will have priority, and we'll rush a lot more money out there.

There are a lot of things we could agree on in that bill that the President never had anybody willing to file. There was a provision for a payroll tax holiday. Well, you would figure I'd support that. I'm the guy who proposed it 3 years ago and personally explained it to the President and Larry Summers in January of 2009. But it sure would've been better if we did it before this administration squandered $4.5 trillion more than we brought in. We could've given everybody in the United States who pays income tax a tax holiday for 3 years, and it would've only run up $3.6 trillion. We would have saved $900 billion. If you don't think that people having all of their own income tax from 3 years would've stimulated this economy, then you need to embrace this President's bill because you'll love it.

Nonetheless, there are things that we could agree on. Both Houses, both parties, I think, agree that we were willing to sell some more broadband spectrum. That's there in the bill, but then he uses that as a platform to create another bureaucracy, a Big Brother coming into your computer, because it's the Public Safety Broadband Corporation that's created and will just really make sure that Big Brother government intrudes in your life.

When you boil it all down, we have a moral problem in America. The Founders continually pointed to God and said that's where we need to have our focus. As Ben Franklin said, without His concurring aid, we will succeed in our political building no better than the builders of Babel. We'll be confounded by our local partial interests, and we, ourselves, shall become a byword down through the ages.

So whether anybody believes in God or not, as the Founders did, over a third of the Declaration of Independence signers were not just Christians, they were ordained ministers, to take one's eyes off of self and put them on something higher and greater avoids the kind of engorgement, the self-satisfaction, the self-emphasis that we've gotten into. That's the reason you run up trillions of dollars of debt without any regard for the children, the grandchildren, and the generations to come.

I have to make this personal note reference. It breaks my heart to see that in college football. Nobody loves college football more than I do. I attended Texas A&M, and I know a lot of people are excited about Texas A&M perhaps going to the Southeastern Conference for money. All about money. The traditions of Texas A&M make it unique and I think the greatest public institution of higher education in the country. I'm very proud of it, but it's the traditions. And now we see that over a hundred years of tradition, going back to 1876, are ready to be thrown away for money. Just money. Greed money. Forget tradition that makes your institution great. Forget it all. Forget the State rivalries. Forget it all. We're talking about cash.

Isn't that what got us in trouble in this country in the first place, when we put cash, greed for ourselves above the interests of the country or the institutions we represent?

To close with this example, my senior year in the Corps Cadets, I was the second level below the Corps commander. I was one level right below the commander. There were four of us at that level, major unit commanders. There was a Corps commander. He didn't get along very well. He didn't play very well with others. And the first meeting we had, all of the senior leaders in the Corps Cadets, he had his staff put together tables end to end. He got up there with a corncob pipe like MacArthur, walked up and down and condescended and cajoled all his classmates like they were 2-year-olds.

I approached him after the meeting and I said, Man, these guys have seen you naked. We're all classmates. We're all friends. You need to try to work together. Don't just condemn everybody. And I think if we could get to that level in here--not that we run around naked together--but just where we can work together as friends, disagreeing on issues.

But unless one person has a 100 percent lock on God's truth 100 percent of the time, we should listen to each other, not condemn each other; and we can get these things worked out, put greed aside and help this country last 200 more years.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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