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Mr. GOHMERT. Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to get to know you better all the time and to be serving with you.
I enjoyed hearing my friends talking about the economy and things that are going on. So I wanted to address a few things. I didn't come over here and plan to address what they had, but they were mentioning their hope for us, bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. And having been there a few times, having talked to the former allies that this administration has thrown under the bus that initially defeated the Taliban for us with less than 500, possibly less than 300 embedded Special Forces, special ops, and intelligence personnel embedded with the Northern Alliance, they defeated the Taliban in about 3 or 4 months.
Then we added troops and became occupiers. Occupiers in that part of the world don't do well. Someone reminded me of what I already knew, that Alexander the Great conquered that area around Afghanistan, and I had to remind them that he died on his way out of the area. I don't consider that a great victory.
Nonetheless, we helped give the Afghans a government and sharia law, making it difficult for Jews and Christians to reside in a country where they once had. Under this administration's watch, like I say, we've thrown our allies under the bus, and the Taliban has come back almost strong as ever, not quite. Some of my Northern Alliance friends told me in one of our visits over there that on national television last year, the Taliban leader that this administration released for humanitarian purposes from Gitmo didn't seem to be having health problems and was on national television and was making clear that the U.S. would be withdrawing in the next year or two, and that when they did the Taliban would be back in charge as they were before. So it was time to come beg forgiveness from the Taliban and ask for their protection under sharia law.
That doesn't sound like we're going to be in a whole lot better position after all the losses of life, all of the servicemembers who have laid down their lives in Afghanistan, who continue to do that as we speak because the Commander in Chief has them there without any real mission laying down their lives. As one of our troops told me, ``I don't mind laying down my life for my country, but please don't waste it.''
They're not laying down their lives for a wishy-washy government that can't figure out what it wants to do, that leaves our military without a clear mission, that allows the Taliban to come back stronger than ever, supplied and funded in part from Pakistan. They deserve better. They deserve much better.
Our Commander in Chief was on television yesterday talking about the debt limit, the debt ceiling. He's talked about our economy. I think it's worth noting that since 1923, the President was required to furnish a budget and a time deadline given for furnishing that budget. Ninety years. Ninety years, the President is required by law to furnish a budget.
Since 1923, those ensuing 90 years, there have apparently been 11 times when presidents have been unable to get the budget to Congress as required by law. For some of those 11, there were very good reasons. But it's interesting to note in the last 90 years, out of the 11 times that the budget from the President has been late, 4 of those 11 have been under the Obama administration.
We're also informed that there is a chance once again, as there was a year and a half ago, that our credit rating of the U.S. could be lowered again by another credit rating agency. Some have tried to paint it as a different story, a different picture. But for those of us who recall what happened, S&P made it clear that they didn't believe that the United States was serious about dealing with this dramatic overspending problem, where we were spending $1.5 trillion, $1.6 trillion, over a trillion dollars more than the 2-plus trillion dollars that we had coming in. And that if we didn't at least reduce the massive overspending annually by at least $400 billion for 10 years, a total of $4 trillion over a 10-year period, then it would make it pretty clear that we were not serious about dealing with our debt.
I know the Obama administration went on the warpath after the S&P credit rating was lowered. Personally, I think it's to S&P's credit that they did what they said. We came in with a debt ceiling bill that was agreed to with the administration. It had some sequestration in it with the supercommittee that some of us knew wasn't going to work because the Democrats had made it clear they didn't want a supercommittee to work because they wanted to be able to campaign and say, Gee, cuts are coming to Medicare because the Republicans were trying to protect their rich friends. It worked very well. They wouldn't reach an agreement. Even after somebody like a Republican Senator had a proposal to raise new revenue, a couple of Democrats were reported as saying that this was going to be the breakthrough that allowed an agreement. After consulting with the President, to Harry Reid it apparently was made clear we don't want to deal. No, no deal, so there was no deal, and now the sequestrations are about to take place.
Mr. Speaker, what time did I start?
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Mr. GOHMERT. So we had a debt ceiling bill that was undermined from the beginning. No deal was reached. Sequestration--massive cuts to our national security, to our national defense--would be inflicted and massive cuts to Medicare. Our leaders responded to me that, Gee, the Democrats will never allow the cuts to Medicare, the sequestration to Medicare, $300 billion or so. They'll never allow that. That's why we know the supercommittee will reach an agreement. I advised them that that would not happen, that there would be no agreement, that of course they're willing to have a $300 billion or so cut to Medicare, because ObamaCare cut $700 billion from Medicare from our seniors' care without a single Republican vote.
So the only way that Democrats would run a commercial last year, in 2012, with any sincerity at all was in saying, Gee, Republicans are cutting Medicare. If they were to prevent Republicans from reaching an agreement with the President and Democrats, then they could run commercials in 2012, and they'd blame the Republicans and say, See, they didn't reach an agreement. They wanted to cut seniors and help their rich friends.
As some of us made clear, we weren't nearly as concerned at all about protecting anybody as we were future generations. How embarrassing that our generation is the first generation in American history that has said by our actions that we are not concerned with leaving our children and our grandchildren--future generations--a better country than we found. We're more concerned with lavishing money on the here and now that we can't pay for and that future generations will pay for because we can't stop spending on ourselves.
We had a vote today on relief for Hurricane Sandy, and we know something about the pain that comes from hurricanes. In my district in east Texas, not only did we face consequences from Hurricane Katrina and the hundreds of thousands of people who came through--and many stayed in east Texas--and from the onslaught of weather that hit east Texas, but it was immediately followed by Hurricane Rita, which swept straight up through east Texas, through my district. We know about suffering. We saw how Louisiana was helped so much more than east Texas even though, at the very time we were hit with Hurricane Rita, we were taking care of victims from Hurricane Katrina. We understand about that, but there is a lot of misinformation about Hurricane Katrina.
For Hurricane Katrina, we did offset spending when Republicans were in the majority. We actually then turned money back that was not spent. Our hearts go out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, especially those who understand what that kind of suffering is.
I was all over my district. A Democratic sheriff told his county once that he'll never forget midnight after Hurricane Rita hit--no power. There in the county, there was no power at the sheriff's office. There was a generator that had kicked on, and the lights were flickering. After midnight, his U.S. Congressman came walking through his door and said, What can I do to help? To get there to San Augustine, I had to cut down trees that were across the road and over to Hemphill.
It's tough when dealing with the consequences of a hurricane. People are hurt. Buildings, homes are destroyed. We understand that. We wanted to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, but what we didn't want to do and what we'd hoped there would be plenty of responsibility in dealing with was pork that was placed in this bill for emergency purposes. It just seems a bit immoral that you would take advantage of the suffering of people during a hurricane to get one last big plug of money. I mean, it's all so pretty discouraging to see that there is money being captured, taking advantage of the victims of a hurricane to enrich and engorge themselves. There ought to be a law against it, but there isn't because this Chamber, led by the Senate down the hall, is still putting pork in these bills to go to things that have nothing to do with the hurricane, and they're not offset. We have no problem on both sides of the aisle in helping victims who can't help themselves, but we ought to pay for it now.
When a former Member of Congress and one of the greatest heroes Texas history has, named Davy Crockett--he was a U.S. Congressman from Tennessee--stood before the House of Representatives, right down the hall here in the old House Chamber, he explained what he was lectured to by a constituent: Don't take my money. Take your own money to help charitable causes.
Not only do we not do that, but we take other people's money to help, and they get all this pork added in order to get enough votes to pass it. Then it ought to be the biggest regret of this generation that we don't even pay for it. How in the world could this body fail to pass a bill that would pay for helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy? But we don't have the money to do it, so we're going to borrow between 40 and 50 cents of every dollar of money both for the pork and for the help for Hurricane Sandy because this body got sweet talked into refusing to pay for helping this generation. We'll let our children and our children's children and maybe their children pay for this. We will load them up with debt because we will not pay our own way. We're too narcissistic. We're too self-indulgent. We are not going to pay our way, and that kind of attitude is a tragedy. It brings countries down.
What brings a country to the peak of their greatness is when generation after generation does not fail to honor the God that has blessed that country and they have a commitment that we were taught in Boy Scouts that you leave a place better than you found it, and you leave better for those coming behind you. And it's embarrassing that this White House and the Senate and this House are comfortable enough to leave a country massively more in debt than when this generation came to leadership. It's heartbreaking.
And one of the reasons we are not effectively dealing with this problem is because not enough people know the truth. They don't know the history of this country. Apparently, the President thinks it's perfectly okay to just forget about the rule of law. Oh, there's a law that says I have to provide a budget. Well, I'm not doing it. I'll get around to it. But the law says he must. Is he above the law? Apparently so. Because of the 11 times in the last 90 years when the budget was late, four of them were this President.
You know, when you talk to economists and you read what economists are saying, and you're concerned about the downgrade in the credit rating because of how much more money that will put us in debt that future generations will have to pay, when you talk to them, you look at what they're saying, there are a couple of things that they point out.
Well, one of the things that helped this country is our belief and support for the rule of law, that no one is above the law. And yet you look at what this White House is doing: ah, we'll get around to the budget eventually. More insensitive to following the law than any Presidency that I can find in history.
We have a President who says, you know, yeah, I get it, the Defense of Marriage Act was duly passed into law and signed into law by a former Democratic President, but I don't like that law and I realize Congress is not going to change it, so I'm going to ignore the law. I'm going to instruct my Attorney General to ignore the law. That kind of thinking means there's no support at the highest level of this country for the rule of law.
When we have a President who makes speeches and an Attorney General who makes speeches about how they're going to go after illegal gun sales, and yet there is blood on the hands of people in this administration, and we can't even find out who they are because they are being obscured, for the death of hundreds of human beings who died because this administration forced gun dealers to sell guns that they knew and they reported should not be sold, and they were told by their Federal Government, their executive branch, you do it anyway because we're going to follow the guns, in effect. The guns were not followed. They made their way into criminals' hands, as was intended, but they weren't followed. And now the administration says they want to support the rule of law and go after these illegal gun sales? Well, they have to start with their own administration.
And then we have a President that instead of coming to Capitol Hill where most of the elected representatives of the country are, there's one down Pennsylvania Avenue, actually two, the Vice President, and there are 535 down here, and sitting down and working out a comprehensive immigration bill, instead of doing that, the President announces, you know, I don't like the laws that were duly passed by prior Congresses, Democrats, signed into law by Democrats and Republican Presidents. I realize what the law is, I don't like the law, so as I speak, so shall the new law be.
And the mainstream just laps it up because they're too ignorant of what the rule of law means, that you don't have a monarch at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue that just espouses law as he gets ready to, because he doesn't like the law that was duly passed.
Come down here and work with us and if we can secure the border so that we can make sure that people won't get in that want to destroy our way of life, the drug cartels, the radical Islamists across the border that are working with the drug cartels now that want to destroy our way of life, we've got to make sure that we have people coming in that will continue to make the country great. And I have great hope for what the Hispanic community can do for this country because, generally speaking, those I know have strong faith in God, devotion to family, and hard work ethic. That's what made America great, in my opinion. We need that kind of input, but it's got to be legal.
The Immigration Service is an embarrassment, one of the worst in the world. You can get a visa quicker to other countries than you can here. It's embarrassing the snafus in this government.
But if we are going to get on track, we have to get back to a President and a Congress that believes the rule of law. And when the President will not follow the law, there have to be consequences.
I've talked to Democratic and Republican individuals who were part of prior Presidential administrations and I've said at different times, different individuals: tell me, when you were in the administration, when you were in the White House, is it true what I've heard that individuals would come together, both parties, both ends of the Capitol and talk to the President and say, look, you are usurping control that was given to the Congress in the Constitution, and we're going to have to shut you down if you don't get back and acting within the Constitution?
That doesn't happen under this administration, and it's time that it must. We owe it to the country. We owe it to future generations.
The President has said: If Congress in any way suggests they're going to tie negotiation to debt ceiling votes--which, by the way, we have never done in our history until we did it last year--I will not play that game.
The President needs to have someone around him that knows the truth. That poor man is being lied to. All you have to do is look back in our history. Every time there was a cut in spending, it was often tied to the debt ceiling negotiations. Go back to 1985, to 1990, 1993, 1997, 2010. Speaker Pelosi in 2010, with President
Obama, tied a PAYGO provision. She did it. Why is it so wrong that the Republicans want to do that in the House like Speaker Pelosi did. Let's get responsible. But the President doesn't even remember 2 years ago when Speaker Pelosi did that.
Somebody has got to help this poor man understand recent and distant history before the rating agencies say, you know what, we used to think that the rule of law was going to help the U.S. economy and help the Federal Government get around to taking care of its debts, but these guys don't even follow the rule of law anymore.
And as far as what economists say, yeah, but we have economic dynamism. Well, look what ObamaCare is doing to that. Look at what overregulation is doing to that. It is hurting our economy. The economy is sitting waiting to take off if the President and the Senate, that is bogging down bills that would free up the economy to go, if they would get out of the way, this economy could go. People could get back to work. They wouldn't need unemployment. They wouldn't need to be begging to the master government. They could do it on their own as free people.
It's time to get back to following the rule of law. It's time to get back to having a government that doesn't put off the current debt on future generations because if we don't, our names will not be called blessed by future generations. Our names will be cursed.
Mr. Speaker, it is my prayer and desire that we can finally get to be responsible in the coming months. And the only way we can really get there is if people are honest about our history.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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