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Public Statements

Do-Nothing Congress

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. WOOLSEY. I thank the gentleman for leading this Special Order.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we were debating work requirements under the TANF program. Well, after we've all listed the issues that the Republicans have refused to address in this Congress, we can say that we know a bunch of people who should be subjected to a work requirement.

They take home a lot of Federal dollars. They're actually on the public dole, but they don't seem to be doing very much work. And I'm talking about the do-nothing Republicans in this Congress. I don't blame them for wanting to hurry home for their campaigns because a lot of their jobs must be in jeopardy. On the other hand, when they get there, they might find their constituents pretty frustrated that they haven't done their jobs and they have not met their responsibilities.

Every single day that we're here, my colleagues across the aisle put forward bills that have no hope of becoming law and exist only to promote Republican talking points. Time and time again, they have chosen gridlock and confrontation over progress and cooperation. They haven't lifted a finger to pass the President's jobs package, even though it contains many, many ideas that the Republicans supported in the past. They want to destroy health care reform instead of building on it. They have refused to work with Democrats on education issues, failing to invest in our children, who are 100 percent of our future. They haven't done a thing to support the middle class and give them hope for the future. It's no wonder the Congress has record-low approval ratings.

But, Mr. Speaker, most disappointing of all to me is the Republican Congress's failure to lead on issues of national security and war and peace. While we're on recess, the war in Afghanistan will turn 11 years old. Eleven years--and more. More than 2,000 Americans are dead, thousands more are wounded, and taxpayers are out more than half a trillion dollars, all for a policy that continues to undermine our national security goals instead of advancing them. The brave servicemembers who are putting life and limb on the line in Afghanistan don't get a recess.

When we adjourn, they will continue to be very much ``in session.'' Their ``district work period'' is in districts in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is poised to strike--some at the most dangerous places imaginable. The war isn't just morally reprehensible; it's fiscally irresponsible. And the very same Members who want to cut every domestic program to the bone have barely blinked an eye when it comes to billions and billions of dollars in misplaced war appropriations.

When is the Congress going to catch up with the American people? Certainly not between now and the election, because we've gone home. The people we work for know that it makes no sense to continue military occupation, that it's doing more harm than good, creating more terrorists than it's defeating, making us less safe, not more. The American people have made it abundantly clear: they want us to be here. They want us to be debating this war. They're done with this war. They want us to vote to bring our troops home safely.

The country faces huge challenges. Our people are crying out for leadership, and the Majority wants to turn out the lights. Actually, they have gone home. Americans desperately want the Congress to do something to create jobs and jump-start the economy, something to create peace and security; but the Republicans in Congress have gone home. They have left the work site. They're gone.


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