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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 6223, Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, again, we all grieve for the people in this country who are willing to farm, who are willing to deal with the vicissitudes of mother nature and do their best to provide food and other products for the American people and people all around the world.

We obviously don't have a lot of control over the weather. We have no control over the weather. We have no control over the climate, basically, but we need to respond to our fellow human beings, our fellow Americans when there is a need to do that.

The drought would not be as exacerbated and the effects would not be so exacerbated were it not for the overall job climate in this country. We are really suffering from the effects of our colleagues having been in charge of the Congress for 4 years and an administration that is totally out of touch with what is happening, not only in this country, but around the world, in terms of our economic situation. We have record unemployment in this country, Mr. Speaker. We have record deficits. We have record debts. It seems like everybody recognizes that except for our liberal colleagues across the aisle.

We know there's something wrong with the American job climate in this country. Whereas most people recognize the government should not wall off entrepreneurship with oppressive taxes, a costly, overcomplicated, and unnecessarily burdensome regulatory apparatus, we have a liberal President who is so out of touch that he said:

If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.

It would be bad enough if that were the first Freudian slip from liberal leaders here in Washington, but this comes on the heels of both President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decreeing on separate occasions that the private sector is doing just fine. Apparently, the two highest ranking Democrats in the country are trying to convince themselves of an alternative reality where unemployment would no longer be a problem if only more Americans worked for the government. Fortunately, we still have a lot of Americans working out there trying to produce food for all of us.

I recognize there are many government workers, teachers, police officers, firefighters, who provide critical services to this country. But to suggest that the unemployment problem in this country can be solved by continuing an unending, demonstrably failed liberal spending spree ignores the reality that it's the private sector that generates the wealth which provides revenue for government to work through an increasing seizure of personal earnings, as was displayed on the floor yesterday.

Liberal elites would have us all believe that the only way to promote job growth is through a perpetual expansion of special handouts and concessions to government employee unions and politically favored industries.

Less we forget that a centrally planned government-sponsored green jobs revolution was the only solution for unemployment worries during the height of the recent recession, I want to remind my colleague of the Solyndra loans and the many loans in that area that were made that have created crony capitalism in our country. The liberal Democrats promised to solve these problems by ramming through a $1 trillion stimulus bill, financed exclusively by our posterity through deficit spending and quickly shifted their focus on other crises vulnerable to exploitation, such as a new $800 billion energy tax that sought to crush millions of jobs while sending hundreds of billions overseas as well as the now-infamous government takeover of health care, otherwise known as ObamaCare.

We're actually fortunate for these striking statements which reveal a peek into the mystifying mindset of liberal elites who apparently believe that government dependence is a necessary condition for economic health.

Well, here's a news flash for the liberals who remain stubbornly unaware of the hardships that continue to grip Americans: the results are in, and everyone else knows that Big Government cannot simply prescribe economic prosperity and have it be so.

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


Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, I would just say to my colleague across the aisle, I don't understand why our friends can't take yes for an answer. We want to extend the tax cuts that were begun over 10 years ago to everyone in this country. We agree with that, and that's what we're doing. We don't want to raise taxes on anyone.

I would also like to commend to my colleague across the aisle, who represents a group of people who only ask for bipartisan cooperation when they're in the minority, a book by Australian geologist Ian Plimer who wrote a book called ``Heaven and Earth,'' which I think really does do a scientific presentation of what is happening in terms of climate change.

Last, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that my colleague is trying to deal with a chicken and egg issue relative to infrastructure and how does infrastructure get funded. He wants to say that this all comes from the benevolent government, but he conveniently leaves out the fact that the government doesn't create wealth. All our government does is spend wealth, and in many cases waste the fruits of hardworking Americans by doing things often very inefficiently. Public infrastructure is funded by the taxes that we take away from hardworking Americans.

Entrepreneurs predated the government in our country. And we all know that the Constitution was written to try to establish a limited government in our country so that the entrepreneurial spirit could thrive, as it has in most cases. My colleague talks about the government enabling entrepreneurs. Excuse me, I don't believe the government does a lot to enable the private sector. What most people in the private sector will tell you is just get the government out of my way. Get the foot of the government off my neck, and I will do just fine.

I know my colleague has been in the private sector and created a lot of wealth for himself, and I applaud him for doing that. But most of the people that I know, Mr. Speaker, who are in the private sector would simply say the government isn't enabling me at all. Leave me alone, and I'll do just fine.

Mr. Speaker, talk about taking the President's words out of context, as I think my colleague knows, when you put the President's words in context, they are even more disturbing than outside of context. I do believe that our President does believe that the government is the solution, and most of us think the government is the problem. I urge my colleagues to support this rule.

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

An Amendment to H. Res. 752 Offered by Mr. Polis of Colorado

At the end of the resolution, add the following new section:

Sec. 2. Immediately upon adoption of this resolution, the House shall proceed to the consideration of the resolution (H. Res. 746) prohibiting the consideration of a concurrent resolution providing for adjournment or adjournment sine die unless a law is enacted to provide for the extension of certain expired or expiring tax provisions that apply to middle-income taxpayers if called up by Representative Slaughter of New York or her designee. All points of order against the resolution and against its consideration are waived. (The information contained herein was provided by the Republican Minority on multiple occasions throughout the 110th and 111th Congresses.)


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.


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