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Providing for Consideration of HR 273, Elimination of 2013 Pay Adjustment, And for Other Purposes

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McGOVERN. I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.

First of all, Mr. Speaker, let me urge my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike, to vote against this closed rule. This is a closed rule by which the entire process has been shut down. The committees of jurisdiction held no hearings. There was no markup. It came to the Rules Committee. What did the Rules Committee do? They shut it down. They shut out all possibilities for Democrats or Republicans to offer amendments. My friend from Georgia is proud to defend this closed, iron fist policy, but I think it's wrong, especially on a bill like this, number one.

Number two, this is a rotten thing to do to Federal employees. It really is. I mean, these are hardworking men and women. These are people who work at NIH, who try to find cures for diseases that, by the way, will not only improve the quality of life for our people but will save money. This is about denying a pay increase to DEA agents on the borders and to the CIA agents who tracked down Osama bin Laden. This is a rotten, rotten thing to do. And for what? To score some cheap political points.

I'm a little confused. My friend from Georgia says it's really not a cut, that we're not reducing the deficit at all. The gentleman from Texas said we need to save the American taxpayers money. The bottom line is that this is a cheap political stunt. The victims here are working people, and none of us should be surprised, because this is the Republican kind of signature issue: go after working people. Do you want to find ways to balance the budget? Punish working people. Do you want to find this or that? Go after working people. Enough. Enough of this war against working families in this country.

Mr. Speaker, what is also really frustrating is that here we are debating a bill that's really going nowhere, that's about a press release. The Republicans are going to go on vacation tomorrow. We're not going to be back for a week, and then we'll have 4 legislative days left to deal with this thing called ``sequestration.'' On March 1, all of these across-the-board cuts go into play. And guess what? We're going to lose at least 750,000 jobs. That's not my estimate. That's what the head of OMB says. There will be 750,000 Americans unemployed because of their inaction. Guess what? What are these people going to do? They're going to have to look for employment. They're going to be without work. It's going to slow down our economic growth. Give me a break. There should be some urgency here.

My Republican friends, instead of bringing this to the floor, you ought to be finding ways to avoid this fiscal sequestration cliff that we're about to go over.

When my friends talk about the deficit and the debt, they don't talk about unpaid-for war costs, and they don't talk about all the money that they don't pay for that's sent over to Baghdad and Kabul. Instead, we have fights on the floor of whether or not to provide emergency hurricane relief aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in our own country. Only about 48 of my Republican friends voted for that. I mean, that's where their priorities are. We should be trying to put the American people first.


Mr. McGOVERN. What we should be talking about on this floor is jobs--jobs, jobs, jobs. That is how we get this economy going again. That is how we reduce our deficit. That is how we reduce our debt. Instead, you're punishing American workers. This is shameful. We should be spending our time doing something that will actually benefit this economy and this economic recovery. This is not it.

I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this closed rule and to vote ``no'' on the underlying bill, and I urge the leadership to get serious about avoiding sequestration. It is not good for our country.


Mr. McGOVERN. What I take offense at is the gentleman's party is about to lay off 750,000 workers in this country. For the life of me, I don't know how that helps our economy. That's what I take offense at. We should be talking about avoiding sequestration. Instead, my friends on the other side of the aisle are talking about how to lay off more American workers. That's what I take offense at.


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