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Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Chairman, I didn't plan to speak on this amendment; but I have to tell you, I find it to be an unfortunate amendment. I find it to be an unfortunate amendment not for what some people might suspect. I was here for the Defense of Marriage Act. I supported the Defense of Marriage Act. I believe the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional.

But this amendment is symptomatic of what I think the problem of this Congress has been since it convened last January, and that is first the CR and then some other bills, and now the appropriations bills. Some folks have decided that they should just be a pinata, filled with all kinds of extraneous issues that have nothing to do with the core mission.

This issue that is the subject of this amendment, I would tell the author who was not here when DOMA was passed, is being resolved. The Justice Department, I think wrongly, made a decision not to defend the lawsuit. But as Mr. Nadler said in a previous amendment, and I commend him for saying it, that's the executive's prerogative. But once they make that decision, the Congress is not powerless, and the Congress has taken action. And so the committee that exists here in the House voted to employ outside counsel. Outside counsel is vigorously defending the House's position in the Defense of Marriage Act, and I think there are 30 lawsuits across the country.

This matter will be resolved, and the courts will either say that it's constitutional or unconstitutional, and then we will all abide by that decision.

Now, where I find fault with my Democratic friends is that we've had a couple of markups in the legislative branch, and they're all exercised about the money that it's costing us for outside counsel. Well, you can't have it both ways. Either the administration is going to defend it through the Justice Department, or we're going to avail ourselves of our constitutional responsibilities, hire outside counsel. So you can't criticize the speaker for paying a lawyer to defend their position.

Likewise, I would suggest to my side of the aisle that this doesn't belong on Mr. Wolf's bill. There is not a problem. This matter will be resolved; it is being resolved. I think that this entire string of limitation amendments is disturbing because they continue a pattern now that's gone on for 18 months, and I don't think that's what an open rule is all about.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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