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Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DREIER. I want to thank my good friend for his able management of this important rule.

I say to my friend from Fort Lauderdale, I'm really surprised to see Democratic opposition to this rule. Why? Well, we're dealing with an issue that has been near and dear to my friend from Ft. Lauderdale for years--intelligence issues. He served with distinction on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and we have come up with a structured rule.

That structured rule makes seven amendments in order that were submitted by Democrats and two amendments in order that were submitted by Republicans. If you look at the litany of those amendments the Democratic Members are offering, it's very clear that we have--we will have a wide-ranging debate, which, as we all recognize, Democrats and Republicans alike, has to be somewhat limited when we're discussing our Nation's intelligence issues.

So we've got a rule that makes in order seven Democratic amendments and two Republican amendments to deal with intelligence. Then we have three appropriations bills--three appropriations bills--all of which--all of which--under this proposed rule will be considered under an open amendment process, regular order, full, open amendment.

I have got to say that when I think back to being in the minority--and we served for 4 years in the minority here--if our friends on the other side of the aisle had come up with a structured rule that made seven Republican amendments in order and only two Democratic amendments in order on the Intelligence authorization bill and they had three completely open rules, I would feel very sanguine in saying that we would not only embrace, but we would enthusiastically support, that kind of rule.

That's why I've got to say that as the American people continue to ask us to work together, I mean, we have the CBO report that came out, just came out, talking about the prospect of another economic recession coming after the first of the year if we don't deal with issues like spending and taxes. And I'm not going to get into a big debate on that. We all know where we stand on those issues. But if we don't deal with those, we face the threat of another serious economic downturn based on this study that the Congressional Budget Office has just put out. They're saying to me, as I talk to people in California and around the country, they want us to work together. We've come forward with a rule, Mr. Speaker, that allows for three open rules.

To remind my colleagues what that means is it means that any Member, Democrat or Republican, will have the opportunity to stand up and submit their amendment, debate it here on the House floor and have an up-or-down vote on it, and we're going to deal very responsibly in what I believe will be a bipartisan way with intelligence issues.

Now, I understand, to be fair, that there are some concerns of what was included in the appropriations bills themselves. But the process itself is one which has existed under both Democrats and Republicans. It provides protection for the work product of the Appropriations Committee but has an open amendment process on floor.


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