BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentlelady for yielding, and I commend her for her enormous leadership, patience, and great intellect that she brings to bear on these issues.
Mr. Speaker, listening to the debate, it's really almost hard to explain to someone why we're coming back tonight with the same old, same old warmed-over stew that was rejected yesterday by the Congress of the United States. But since then we've had some support expressed for the initiative that is contained in this bill and against the notion that our Republican colleagues have that it's a good idea to use this as a pay-for.
I take particular pride in this provision that the Republicans are trying to zero out in this bill, the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program.
You will recall, Mr. Dreier, that it was part of a bill that was passed when President Bush was President. It was the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. It was a bill that passed the Congress with strong bipartisan support, including your support, Mr. Dreier. In fact, 95 Republicans voted for the bill. It was an even split in the Republican Caucus, 95 for, 96 against. But you recall voting for that.
Mr. DREIER. Will the gentlewoman yield?
Ms. PELOSI. No, I'm sorry, because you have a half an hour and I don't.
Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I've been mentioned three times, and since the gentlewoman has mentioned me--
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from California controls the time.
Ms. PELOSI. The gentleman has all the time. For some reason the Republicans are not showing their faces on the floor on this amendment. He has plenty of time on this bill, plenty of time to speak. If he didn't, I'd be more than happy to yield to him, but since he has so much time on his own, he can use that.
In any event, here's the thing. We have an initiative that is bipartisan. We have an initiative that has passed the House in overwhelming numbers, 314-100; 314-100 it passed the House after coming back from the Senate.
Yesterday, there was an attempt made to use the funds allocated to the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program to offset the disaster assistance. I myself believe it is a matter of principle that we should just do with disaster assistance what we always have done, have no doubt in anyone's mind that when a disaster, a natural disaster strikes, the Federal Government will be there, FEMA will be funded, and that we don't have to look around for a place to say, let's prioritize. No, the disaster assistance is our priority.
But on top of that, they use as a pay-for, again, zeroing out the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing. I don't want you to take my words for the merit of this initiative. I want to quote for the record the letter from the United States of America Chamber of Commerce and the letter from the National Association of Manufacturers.
First from the Chamber of Commerce:
``As Congress sets spending priorities, the Chamber wishes to highlight a few important facts about the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. First, the program was authorized in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was supported by both Republicans and Democrats as an important step in reducing America's dependence on oil from unstable regimes. Second, ATVM loans, which will be repaid with interest, incentivize automakers and suppliers to build more fuel-efficient advanced technology vehicles in the U.S., providing new opportunities for American workers in a sector of the economy that is critical to the Nation's recovery.''
Then they go on to say that this is funded by the Department of Education, and that it's not the fault of industry if these funds have not been used.
In the NAM letter, National Association of Manufacturers, they say similarly:
``We express our support for the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program, authorized under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Bush.''
It was a very proud day for us when President Bush signed this bill. It made tremendous advances in energy efficiency and conservation. It was a great accomplishment of the Bush administration and a Democratic Congress working together, but the bill passed in strong bipartisan fashion.
``The ATVM program is an example of what government/industry partnerships can accomplish. It has helped create and preserve thousands of auto sector jobs and put our Nation on a path towards greater energy security. The NAM believes defunding ATVM will hurt manufacturers and their employees.''
I will submit the rest of the letters for the Record so Members can read further for themselves in the Congressional Record; and for all who view the work of Congress, they can see the importance of these initiatives, first by the strong bipartisan support that they received in a Democratically controlled Congress but signed by a Republican President, President Bush, a very major accomplishment, I think he believes.
The second point, though, is that, again, American people are looking for ways for us to create jobs. The Republicans have been in power in this Congress in this House of Representatives for over 250 days. They have not passed one bill into law which is a job creator; and today, they come back to the floor a second day in a row with a job destroyer. The repetition of it is almost frivolous when you think that what we could be talking about here is a clean CR, a clean continuing resolution that will meet our needs to November 18.
I thank Chairman Dicks for his leadership on this important issue, Mr. Levin, certainly Mr. Dingell, who was a champion of this initiative from day one and a leader in the fight to preserve it here.
It could just have been so simple. Let's just keep government open until November 18 with a clean continuing resolution instead of coming to the floor and for the first time.
Now my colleagues will say, Well, we've had other emergencies that were funded. I'm not talking about emergencies. There are many emergencies. I'm talking about disasters. I'm talking about natural disasters when people's homes are swept away. This isn't political. This is very, very personal, if you've lost your home, your belongings, your livelihood, your business, your sense of community, the character of the area in which you live, as many of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle have done. When you see the nature of the natural disasters, whether it's out-of-control forest fires in Texas, what happened in Joplin, Missouri, which is almost biblical in its proportion, and what happened on the east coast with the earthquake followed by hurricane followed by tornado followed by floods and all that goes with it.
Do you think people think that we have any relevance to their lives if we're talking about something like this when all they are saying is, Help. It's as if a building is on fire and you're going to figure out who is going to pay for the water instead of just running to the rescue.
I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this and urge my Republican colleagues to please pull this back, bring a clean CR to the floor. Let's get serious about the people's business.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT