Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3523, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act; Providing for Consideration of Motions to Suspend the Rules; Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4628. Interest Rate Reduction Act; and for Other Purpose

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this rule, House Resolution 631. The rule provides for consideration of multiple pieces of legislation meant to provide solutions to some of today's most pressing threats and concerns. House Resolution 631 ensures that we'll be able to have a robust debate on important issues facing our Nation's cybersecurity infrastructure while also providing the path forward for student loan legislation that reflects quick action we need to take on this pressing issue.

First, House Resolution 631 gives this House the opportunity to be a leader when it comes to our Nation's cybersecurity needs. The rule also sets up the opportunity for us to vote tomorrow on a measure that addresses our Nation's student loan programs. Without this legislation, Americans with Federal student loans will see their rate double starting in July.

These are issues that cannot wait. Our Nation's security cannot wait. At a time when our workforce is so bleak and President Obama's policies keep digging us deeper and deeper into a financial hole, we cannot wait on finding a solution for those young people with student loan debt who are still trying to find a place in our workforce.

We all know that the Internet has fundamentally changed the way we live our lives day-to-day. I think it's safe to say that even 20 years ago, many of us in this room couldn't have imagined that one day we would live in a world where we could do almost anything we wanted, be it buy groceries, run a business, or talk to a loved one serving our country overseas, through a computer. The Internet has made all this possible.

But for all the ways the Internet has made life, business, and even government, to some extent, faster, more responsive, and more transparent, it has also opened us up to new threats. U.S. companies report an onslaught of cyberintrusions that steal sensitive information. Even our own government has suffered from cyberattacks. This type of rampant Internet theft not only costs American companies valuable information, intellectual property, and research and development work, it also costs American workers their jobs. It's hard to say exactly how much cyberattacks cost our Nation's economy, but they could cost as much as $400 billion a year, according to one report from the Computer Security Institute and the FBI.

Today, the House will begin consideration of a bill that will help protect our Nation from these kinds of threats. H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, would allow private companies to voluntarily share information with each other and with the government in a sort of public-private Internet security partnership. The bill includes significant safeguards to protect personal and private information. It significantly limits the Federal Government's use of that information that the private companies voluntarily provide, including the government's ability to search data.

It requires that the independent inspector general for the intelligence community audit information shared with the government and report the results to Congress to ensure regular oversight. It also encourages the private sector to make the information it shares with others, including the government, as anonymous as possible.

This is a strongly bipartisan piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, that was passed out of the Intelligence Committee with an overwhelming vote of 17 1. In the Rules Committee yesterday, we heard testimony from both sides, speaking to the cooperative, bipartisan work that was done in this piece of legislation. I commend the work that the Intelligence Committee did with members on both sides of the aisle, as well as with private sector companies, trade groups, privacy and civil liberty advocates, and the executive branch. It's because of these efforts that virtually every sector of the economy supports this legislation. It's also why there are more than 100 cosponsors of this legislation, including 11 committee chairmen.
But recognizing that we don't always face one problem at a time, this rule also provides for consideration of a measure to address student loans. Our legislation, the Interest Rate Reduction Act, would prevent federally subsidized student loan interest rates on new loan disbursements from doubling to 6.8 percent from the current 3.4 percent on July 1 of this year. This 1-year measure would cost the government $5.9 billion.

Now, you all probably heard me talk again and again about bringing our Nation back to its core mission. You've also heard me talk about how we need to cut back on the ``nice-to-haves'' and make hard choices of what we will and won't pay for. Back when the previous majority passed their health care takeover in 2010, they paid for it, in part, by taking $9 billion from college financial aid trust funds. Now that they've robbed Peter to pay Paul, they're realizing Peter still needs that money, too. To resolve the problem, the Interest Rate Reduction Act pays for this stopgap measure by taking some of that stolen money back from the ObamaCare slush fund and redirecting it to student financial aid.

Sometimes this House has to multitask, Mr. Speaker. As we face an economy that can't afford to lose any more jobs to cyberattacks and college loan recipients who can't find a job thanks to President Obama's failed policies, that is one of those times. House Resolution 631 provides the House with a way forward on both of these critical measures.

With that, I encourage my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the rule, ``yes'' on the underlying pieces of legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I've been here now 1 year and 4 months, and I'm always amazed at what we hear from the other side. I hear about how this is supposed to be an attack on women's health. You know, it's interesting because that's the position that President Obama's taken. I understand that that's the position that my friends on the other side of the aisle have taken, but it's not true.

You know, yesterday in markup in Energy and Commerce in regards to this pay-for, they talked about a number of issues in regards to this slush fund that HHS has. Now, it's interesting, part of that slush fund comes out to a partly paid for by the U.S. Department Health and Human Services, the Department's Communities Putting Prevention to Work campaign.

It's $100 million. Part of it was in spaying and neutering pets, which I agree with, but I don't see how that is taking money away from women's health. If you go on to HHS' Web site, where they actually chronicle the spending from this slush fund, not one place does it talk about cervical cancer or breast cancer in regards to the dollars spent. So to stand here on this floor and accuse Republicans of being against women and women's health when the facts don't back it up--if you go to HHS' Web site, you will see specifically where the money has been spent. Like I said, in one area it is $100 million. The other area that they've gone after is media campaigns as they relate to soda, fast-foods, and others. That's not women's health.

Mr. Speaker, the Democrats would like you to forget that in 2010, they took over $9 billion away from student financial aid. The same argument that they're making today, they took it away. I wasn't here in 2010, so it's kind of hard to have your cake and eat it, too. When we say robbing from Peter to pay Paul, and now Peter needs the money, those are students that need the money. Those are students that can't afford to pay additional interest on loans that they're already having a hard time paying off because they are trying to find a job.

Mr. Speaker, we've heard so much about cybersecurity today, but remember that the committee started their work on cybersecurity over a year ago in regards to hearings and working in a bipartisan way that produced a bill that was overwhelmingly bipartisan, 17 1. In this Congress, that's pretty difficult to do. But they saw the need based upon their experience within where we stand today as it relates to threats against our infrastructure, those people that actually create jobs, and against our government.

Not only have they worked tirelessly amongst themselves, but they reached out to other stakeholders in a way that I believe has been unprecedented in regards to trying to craft a bill that, while not perfect, is a step in the right direction.

This isn't about government coming in--you heard one gentleman up here talking about how government should tell businesses what to do. Folks, this is America. This is about freedom for businesses. If they don't act upon information, shame on them. It's not about government takeover of private businesses that tells them how to operate. It is about, though, the ability of government to help formulate the aspect of protecting our cybersecurity. It's all about that. It's about sharing of information. It's about right now the Federal Government is precluded from sharing information to help alert those businesses out there to protect themselves. We know about it, and we can't even tell them.

That was one of the inherent problems we had back in 9/11, the fact that we couldn't talk to each other, that agencies didn't talk and share information. Now we want to set ourselves up for a greater catastrophe, one that could bring this Nation down to its knees or worse.

You heard about regular order or not regular order. We had regular order on the cybersecurity bill, and it's not enough. Sixteen amendments were made in order. The gentleman from Colorado's amendment was made in order. Five privacy-related amendments were made in order, two Republican and three of those bipartisan. Of the total of those 16 amendments made in order, eight were Republican, four were Democrats, and four were bipartisan. Mr. Speaker, I believe in regular order, and I think that was a perfect example of how this House is supposed to work. That was regular order at its best.

We talk about a fair and open process. I want to make sure that we protect the American people; that when you go to bed tonight, your financial information is still going to be secure tomorrow, that you're going to have the ability to protect yourself financially. One of those is to allow businesses to share cyberthreats that are made against them and others, and also for the Federal Government to share when they see a cyberthreat coming that could affect a business today in America.

HHS has discretion on how they spend that slush fund. Remember, that money was stolen from students back in 2010 to provide for their education. It was stolen. Call it what you want, but now it's just righting a wrong. It's about making sure that our students have the ability to get an education and hopefully get a great job.

I also heard my good friend from Colorado mention about how we're going to make a decision as to who's a national security threat. He mentioned the Tea Party in the same word with Communists. I think it's pretty clear that the Tea Party is not a national security threat and communism is. I don't think that takes a whole lot of rocket science.


NUGENT. Reclaiming my time, I get what you're saying. But at the end of the day when you're trying to say, I guess, a description in regards to that, and you say Communists and then you say Tea Party, I think it's pretty clear. The Tea Party is not a threat to national security. Communism is and has been.

Mr. Speaker, I support this rule and encourage my colleagues to support it as well.

We're talking about two issues here today that have a lot of bipartisan agreement. Our Nation's cybersecurity is just an integral part of our national security as a whole. It's part--not all--but part of our national security as a whole. And we agree something must be done with our Nation's students as it relates to the loan debt that they have. These are issues that I think we all agree on, Democrats and Republicans alike.

I know from some of our previous conversations that my friend, Mr. Polis, is a fan of NPR. So I wanted to let him know this, just in case he didn't. This morning NPR did a story about the fact that China and Russia aren't the only threats to our Nation's cybersecurity anymore. In fact, according to the story today, the newest cybersecurity threat we face today is going to continue and grow, and it's from Iran. Even though Iran may not have as strong a cyberpresence now as Russia and China do, it's continuing to grow. It's growing at the same time as their nuclear program is growing, too. Iran has learned how to manipulate the Internet to shut down protesters in their own country, to hack Web sites that have antigovernment messages, and carry out sophisticated cyberattacks in their own country to identify those dissidents who may disagree with the government. With threats like that growing every day, we need to make sure our networks here at home in America are safe and secure.

This bipartisan--I can't stress this enough--this bipartisan Rogers cybersecurity bill is critical. It's a critical step in ensuring America and our private industry are safe from cyberattacks. We talk about bipartisan a lot in this Chamber. We don't always practice it. This committee not only practiced it, but they reached outside of the committee itself to those that may be supportive and may be opposed, and they tried to work and put forth amendments that would make this a better bill.

That's what it's all about, the amendment process, is to make something better, nor tear it down. So I encourage colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this strongly bipartisan legislation both on cybersecurity and protecting our students and student loans.

As the President begins his taxpayer-funded college tour, which is really more like a reelection tour, he's going to be talking a lot about student loan debt. Well, he can talk all he wants because in this House we're going to act--and we're going to do it in a way that fixes a problem that was a temporary fix for 5 years.

Well, guess what. We're going to fix it again. We're going to make sure that our students have the ability to get a college education and be able to pay it back in a way that they can be successful in the future. We're going to make sure that the ratio of the student loan rates don't double come this July 1.

In Washington-speak, to a lot of people, that's a ways off. But up here, this House, this Congress has kicked cans down the road before to the tune of 20 years when they're looking out and saying, oh, we've got plenty of time, and all of sudden we have other issues facing this country--and now we have one here.

This House is taking action to correct a wrong or a problem that exists today in America, both in cybersecurity and in student loans, and we're going to do it without costing the taxpayers anything by taking money out of the ObamaCare slush fund, which was funded by cuts to student loan programs to begin with, and sending it back to our student loans.

Now remember, this slush fund can be used for anything. As we saw, they used it for a whole bunch of things. As they tried to link us to women's health issues, not one of those were related to that. Not one nickle or dime was spent on those, even though they would like to say it was.

So, Mr. Speaker, I support the rule and the underlying legislation.

The material previously referred to by Mr. Polis is as follows:

An Amendment to H. Res. 631 Offered by Mr. Polis of Colorado

Amend section 3 to read as follows:

Sec. 3.(a) Immediately upon adoption of this resolution the Speaker shall, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 4816) to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the reduced interest rate for Federal Direct Stafford Loans, and for other purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided among and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Ways and Means. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. All points of order against provisions in the bill are waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. If the Committee of the Whole rises and reports that it has come to no resolution on the bill, then on the next legislative day the House shall, immediately after the third daily order of business under clause 1 of rule XIV, resolve into the Committee of the Whole for further consideration of the bill.

(b) Clause 1(c) of rule XIX shall not apply to the consideration of the bill specified in subsection (a).

(The information contained herein was provided by the Republican Minority on multiple occasions throughout the 110th and 111th Congresses.)

The Vote on the Previous Question: What It Really Means

This vote, the vote on whether to order the previous question on a special rule, is not merely a procedural vote. A vote against ordering the previous question is a vote against the Republican majority agenda and a vote to allow the opposition, at least for the moment, to offer an alternative plan. It is a vote about what the House should be debating.

Mr. Clarence Cannon's Precedents of the House of Representatives (VI, 308 311), describes the vote on the previous question on the rule as ``a motion to direct or control the consideration of the subject before the House being made by the Member in charge.'' To defeat the previous question is to give the opposition a chance to decide the subject before the House. Cannon cites the Speaker's ruling of January 13, 1920, to the effect that ``the refusal of the House to sustain the demand for the previous question passes the control of the resolution to the opposition'' in order to offer an amendment. On March 15, 1909, a member of the majority party offered a rule resolution. The House defeated the previous question and a member of the opposition rose to a parliamentary inquiry, asking who was entitled to recognition. Speaker Joseph G. Cannon (R Illinois) said: ``The previous question having been refused, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Fitzgerald, who had asked the gentleman to yield to him for an amendment, is entitled to the first recognition.''

Because the vote today may look bad for the Republican majority they will say ``the vote on the previous question is simply a vote on whether to proceed to an immediate vote on adopting the resolution ..... [and] has no substantive legislative or policy implications whatsoever.'' But that is not what they have always said. Listen to the Republican Leadership Manual on the Legislative Process in the United States House of Representatives, (6th edition, page 135). Here's how the Republicans describe the previous question vote in their own manual: ``Although it is generally not possible to amend the rule because the majority Member controlling the time will not yield for the purpose of offering an amendment, the same result may be achieved by voting down the previous question on the rule....... When the motion for the previous question is defeated, control of the time passes to the Member who led the opposition to ordering the previous question. That Member, because he then controls the time, may offer an amendment to the rule, or yield for the purpose of amendment.''

In Deschler's Procedure in the U.S. House of Representatives, the subchapter titled ``Amending Special Rules'' states: ``a refusal to order the previous question on such a rule [a special rule reported from the Committee on Rules] opens the resolution to amendment and further debate.'' (Chapter 21, section 21.2) Section 21.3 continues: ``Upon rejection of the motion for the previous question on a resolution reported from the Committee on Rules, control shifts to the Member leading the opposition to the previous question, who may offer a proper amendment or motion and who controls the time for debate thereon.''

Clearly, the vote on the previous question on a rule does have substantive policy implications. It is one of the only available tools for those who oppose the Republican majority's agenda and allows those with alternative views the opportunity to offer an alternative plan.


Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Back to top