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Providing for Consideration of Motions to Suspend the Rules

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McGOVERN. I thank the ranking member on the Rules Committee, Ms. Slaughter, for yielding me the time.

Mr. Speaker, I regret that my Republican friends are turning this House of Representatives into a place where trivial issues get debated passionately and important ones not at all.

The bill that we are talking about right now on the House floor basically gives the majority who run this House the authority to bring up suspension bills from now until December 28. Suspension bills, for those who don't know, are bills really of not much consequence, by and large. They are bills that most of the time could pass by a voice vote.

Last night in the Rules Committee the distinguished ranking member, Ms. Slaughter, suggested that instead of doing suspension bills we ought to be doing bills of some consequence, like reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, doing postal reform, doing a farm bill, or what we're talking about right now--passing a middle class tax cut extension. Those are real things that mean real things to real people in this country, and yet we're not talking about any of those things. We're talking today about basically doing not much of anything between now and December 28.

Last night in the Rules Committee we were told, well, we're trying to negotiate a deal on this fiscal cliff. Well, the reality is that there are a few Members of this House who are probably in discussions with the White House about trying to work out a deal, but the vast majority here, Democrats and Republicans, are being asked to do nothing. Last night we came back and we voted on one bill, to approve the Journal. That's all we had to do last night, to approve the Journal. We haven't reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. We haven't extended the middle class tax cut. We haven't reauthorized the farm bill--I can go on and on and on--but we had to come back and have a Journal vote last night.

The time has come for us to get back to work. The election was clear: the views advocated by Governor Romney and the Republican majority were rejected. The President won comfortably. Democrats won more seats in the Senate, we won more seats here in the House. I think it's a pretty clear message that the American people think that we ought to do what's right in terms of balancing the budget, and that is ask the Donald Trumps of the world to pay a little bit more.

We have already cut, I should say to the gentleman, $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending. A lot of those cuts are in programs that I think help people. So, $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending we've already cut, and my friends on the Republican side are saying that Donald Trump can't pay one penny more. Give me a break. Give me a break.

This is about fairness. This is about justice. This is about doing the right thing. At the very minimum, we should be debating now not suspension bills, but we should be debating the extension of the middle class tax cut. That is why we need to vote ``no'' on the previous question, to allow us to bring this bill to the floor.

If my Republican friends say they agree with us on a middle class tax cut, fine, let's vote it, vote overwhelmingly for it. You don't have to agree on everything to agree on something. Let's give the middle class certainty. Let's vote ``no'' on the previous question.


Mr. McGOVERN. I just want to say when we were in charge, we were able to walk and chew gum at the same time. We passed some pretty important and substantive legislation that I'm proud of. We should be talking about real things that matter to real people right now instead of just extending the suspension authority.


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