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Public Statements

Administration in Review

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC

Mr. GOHMERT. Mr. Speaker, just very briefly, we had a vote today. There's some wonderfully fine Members of Congress that I have deep respect for who voted ``yes,'' and 32 voted ``no'' from the Republican side. It's not because we don't all hold the same belief that we have to cut spending to be responsible, to avoid continuing to add debt to our children and grandchildren, but a matter of difference in strategy. It is a mistake to suspend the debt ceiling increase, just as it would be to raise the debt ceiling without any meaningful cuts, just as Senator Phil Gramm got back in 1985, I believe it was, with Gramm-Rudman and so many of the debt ceiling increases that were accompanied as part of the deal with restrictions on spending.

There're so many things going on in the world today that are just staggering. We know we had Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifying today. One report here today says that Secretary Clinton interrupted one Senator to contradict him and stress that she did not see requests for additional security to protect the Benghazi mission.

That's extremely unfortunate that people in our State Department, committed to helping this country, would make cries for help over a period of months, over a period of years, even going back to when Ambassador Rice was with the State Department and people were killed at an American embassy and a request had been made for extra security that went unheeded.

Here it came again; and apparently there were a number of people who made requests, including one of the security officials that I met and talked to personally. They could see that we were sitting ducks. And apparently former Senator Clinton, now Secretary Clinton, is saying she never saw the request. The bucks would have stopped with her if they'd ever made it to her. What it says is something has got to be done so that when people who have dedicated their lives to helping and protecting this country cry for help, that months, years after the cries, we don't again come back and say: never heard the cries; never got to me.

Tragic. Tragic.

Senator, now-Secretary, Clinton said that the administration's response to the assault was to be defended, and an independent investigation found that the State's actions saved American lives in real-time.

Well, from what I've seen on the House side and in the news, without going into anything that might be classified, just from the public information we've discerned, the actions of the State Department in failing and ignoring the requests for help did not save lives. It ended up costing lives.

The failure of this President to either receive information when a United States Ambassador he put in harm's way was begging, was under fire and people were begging for help on his behalf, we've had people indicate, gee, that immediately gets to the President himself or someone directly around the President who can get the President's immediate attention. We have an Ambassador under attack; that goes straight to the President or somebody right around him.

And just like Secretary Clinton apparently has testified today: I never saw or heard the cries for help. I didn't know.

Well, since this President is going to be in office for 4 more years as of Monday, it is imperative that he clean house and set up new procedures so that even if he's out golfing, even if he's on vacation, body surfing in Hawaii, wherever he is, doing fund-raising in Las Vegas, no matter where he is, that when somebody says Mr. President, people that you put in harm's way are begging for help, they're under attack, they're begging for your help, and I feel sure, you know, he would take time off of one of the greens or body surfing. He would surely take time. I know he would. If somebody would get him the information, your Ambassador is about to be killed, I know he would walk off the green and give some order to protect him, surely. But he's got to get the information.

And since I travel around the world meeting with our military, Special Forces, different branches of our military, from Afghanistan to the very far reaches in the southern part of the Philippines, wherever, Iraq--and I won't be going back to Iraq. Prime Minister Maliki didn't like Dana Rohrabacher and me questioning him about repaying some of the U.S. money that we spent to give him the opportunity to be elected, especially since they now have all that oil revenue, and he also didn't like us bringing up the fact that they promised the United States when they took over the government that they would protect the people at Camp Ashraf, the refugees from Iran, and that actually the military had gone in and killed some of those people that he and the U.S. had pledged would be safe. And he didn't like that and apparently sent word that we were not welcome in his country anymore.

We're okay with Americans dying so I can get elected here in Iraq, but we don't want anybody making us keep our promises here in Iraq.

I've seen our military in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq, all around the world. I was in the Army for 4 years. And one thing that they are very concerned about that they can't talk about publicly, but especially after we had two former SEALs killed trying to protect the Ambassador, when it wasn't their job to do that, they did it because they're American heroes, American patriots. But our military sees those things.

You know, when I was in the military, President Carter was President. We knew we had a President who did not have our back, who was more concerned about other things than the military. And there was a lot of unrest, but it's a crime in the United States military to say anything derogatory about anyone in your chain of command, including the top person, the President, and it needs to be that way.

When you're in the military, you take orders and you follow your orders, and you don't castigate whoever is up your chain of command, even if they don't have a clue what they're doing. It has to be for the good order and discipline of the military.

But we were not stupid. We knew when the President was not protecting us, was not protecting Americans. We knew when the President was not providing the equipment and what we needed to protect Americans. We knew that.

And as I go around the world and talk to different of our military, they notice that we have officials in this administration who, after Americans dedicated to protecting this country are killed, will come forward from the White House down and say, gee, I had no idea that they were in that kind of trouble. I had no idea that our policies subjected them to being killed. I had no idea. I wish somebody had let me know they were in this kind of trouble.

The military knows that. And as I've mentioned, one soldier in Afghanistan said, please let others in Washington know I don't mind laying down my life for my country, but please don't waste it. That's not much of an ask for those who are committed to protecting the rest of us.

And yet this administration still prevents us from getting to the real facts, the real truth. To have someone come forward and say, I really didn't know there was trouble; I didn't know about the request for help, that does not answer the question that this body is demanding answers to and, that is, well, who did know.

Who made the decisions not to protect Americans in harm's way? Who made that call? Who was it that gave orders, because surely there was somebody out there who said, an American Ambassador is under attack. We're going to go protect him.

To attack a consulate is an act of war under anybody's interpretation of international law. It's an act of war. And when somebody commits an act of war against the United States, against a U.S. Ambassador, against our people, they need to know that there's a Commander in Chief, or if he doesn't know because he's busy, somebody that will give the order to protect those that were put in that bad situation.

Our military needs to know that their Commander cares. Our military needs to know that they're not going to lay down their life for nothing.

This is not the kind of testimony that we need. We want the truth. If this is the truth, so be it.

Of course, we'd heard from her doctors after the fall that, gee, it turns out this could be the kind of thing that would result in memory loss. And I'm glad she's well enough to get along.

My late mother, with a brain tumor, had balance problems. We constantly had to be on the alert for her falling, maybe tripping over a curb and hurting herself. It breaks your heart when you see somebody with bruises from falling. So I'm glad Secretary Clinton's okay.

But we have an Ambassador and other Americans who died. So instead of sending witnesses to say, I don't know what happened, I'll take the blame. I have no clue what happened, but I'm responsible, instead of that, please, Mr. Speaker, we need to be provided with testimony and evidence how did these irresponsible decisions get made, and who made them.

Because, as I say, our military gets it. They see what's going on. Despite some that might say, yeah, if you don't finish high school or don't get an education, you may end up in the military, if you actually spend enough time with the military, instead of being a 90-day wonder and get your Purple Heart and be on your way, if you actually spend substantial time with true military heroes that are dedicated to protecting our way of life, you spend time with them, you know these are smart people.

You spend time with SEALs, as I have, and you find out these are not only incredibly trained people.

They're smart people. You spend time with Special Forces, as I have there at Fort Benning where I spent 4 years, that's where the Rangers are trained. They're smart people, and they're smart enough to know when people in their chain of command do not have their back, they do not take actions that make it appear they care.

I know the President cares. I know he does. I know Secretary Clinton cares. But it's not enough to say, ``I had no idea that I put people in harm's way and that they were begging for help and I got them killed.''

You know, let's find out where the problem is. How come they didn't know that was what was going on and the failure to provide security was going to get them killed? Why didn't they know? Those are the kinds of things we need to find out.

Then we find out that there were Americans killed in the attack in Algeria. How could it be that these people in Algeria had the weapons to carry out this attack?

Well, some of the reports indicate that these weapons probably came from Libya. Well, where would the Libyans have gotten weapons? Could it be that those were American-provided weapons, just like this administration forced the sale of guns that would go to kill at least one American and hundreds of Mexicans before it started claiming we've got to go after entirely, with our full force of the law, anybody that sells guns to criminals?

It's a shame they didn't start with the Department of Justice; but I guess if you're the Department of Justice and you're responsible for forcing the sale of guns for criminals, then you're not exactly interested in looking at whose actions in your Department caused the death of hundreds of Mexicans and one or two Americans.

But it needs to be looked at. That's how you avoid mistakes in the future. You find out what caused the mistakes.

The three Americans were among 38 workers killed in the siege of an Algerian gas plant in which Islamic terrorists used hostages as human shields after their attempted mass kidnapping for ransom went awry.

Some Algerian attackers are placed in Benghazi. This story is from Algeria, in The New York Times, dated January 22, by Adam Nossiter:

Several Egyptian members of the squad of militants that lay bloody siege to an Algerian gas complex last week also took part in the deadly attack on the United States mission in Libya in September, a senior Algerian official said Tuesday.

Months and months after a U.S. ambassador was killed, we finally have our FBI director go over to check into it himself. After FBI agents went and did some checking, we had reporters go over there and find actual evidence that somehow the FBI missed or did not bother with. Mistakes that get the United States public servants who have committed their lives to the U.S., and get them killed, requires scrutiny. And this administration, since they will have 4 more years, will, hopefully, be concerned enough about not getting other members of their State Department, their embassies, their consulates, their soldiers, killed for nothing.

Now I know the soldiers. I've been to far too many funerals. And having known so many in harm's way, even if they're sent to the Valley of Death riding with the 600, figuratively speaking, they know they didn't die for nothing. They died devoted to the belief in the things that are set out in the Declaration of Independence--that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. And just like inheritance, if you're going to keep it, you're probably going to have to fight for it. Again, our military begs, If I'm going to lay down my life for my country, don't waste it.

So, Mr. Speaker, I hope and pray this administration will stop obfuscating, will stop the hiding of documents, preventing us from getting them, so we can find out what mistakes were made so that we can prevent them in the future. And the great news for this administration, Mr. Speaker, is that gee, it doesn't have to run for reelection again. So there should be no excuse whatsoever for not bringing the facts forward.

May I inquire how much time is remaining?

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman has 9 minutes remaining.

Mr. GOHMERT. Since the President doesn't have to run for reelection, there is no reason not to bring out the facts of Fast and Furious and what happened in Benghazi, that has now spilled over and cost American lives in Algeria. Let's get to the bottom of it. And if Secretary Clinton does not know what happened, if she doesn't have a clue, bless her heart, let's get somebody that does. Let's find out how these mistakes were made so we can prevent future lives being lost when they don't have to be.

Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude today, since this week marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, and those of us who have been involved as a lawyer trying cases such as Roe v. Wade, which was a civil case, those of us that have been involved as a judge, as I was also a chief justice, we know that in order for a case to be ripe, that it can be heard in court, there must be a justiciable issue, as there was in Roe v. Wade. But the person bringing the case actually has standing to bring the case. It took years, but we ultimately find out that at the time there was no standing. We find out from the person who was Roe, a fictitious name, that she deeply regrets what had happened. And that case has been responsible for the killing of millions of lives.

I have so many dear friends on the Democratic side of the aisle. I know their hearts. They don't want people to get killed. They care about life. And so many on both sides of the aisle talk about trying to protect ``the most vulnerable among us.'' I would humbly submit there is no one more vulnerable than an unborn child. There is that cord through which nourishment and oxygen flow as that baby grows and develops. There is a desire in the human heart to live. There is a desire to live. And those precious, innocent children want to live. It's who they are. It's part of their genetic makeup to want to live. There's no baby, born or unborn, who is capable mentally or physically of taking their own lives intentionally. It can't happen. It doesn't happen. They want to live.

So our heart breaks as a Nation, thinking about the spilled blood of innocent, vulnerable children all put to death because someone did not understand what was going on and they were led to believe it's not a life, it's a choice. The children want to live. When our first-born was born, she came 8 to 10 weeks prematurely. Back then, it was uncertain whether she was going to live. We were encouraged at first, but the doctor said, She's in trouble. Her lungs were not developed. And I knew from cases that I had been involved in that if too much oxygen is given to a preemie, there's a chance they'll go blind. So doctors avoided that, if at all possible. And I saw them go from 20 to 40 to 60 to 80 to 100 percent oxygen. When they got to 100 percent, I knew Katy was in big trouble or they wouldn't risk her blindness.

They said we needed to ship her to either Dallas or Shreveport, where she could get the top-rated neonatal ICU. Shreveport was a little closer. I was torn--my wife was suffering, having given birth prematurely--whether to stay with her or go with the baby. She said, Go with Katy. Do anything you can to help her. So I followed the ambulance to Shreveport. A man named Dr. Tsing was the neonatologist. He cared so deeply for those babies. And I began to understand why the doctor said they seemed to have the best survival rate there in Shreveport.

He had a policy that if you went by a child, you had to observe proper sanitization procedures, but you touched those children, you talked to those children. They hear you. They know you.

When I got there, they sat me on a stool and said you can stay no more than 2 hours, but talk to this child, she knows your voice. She has heard your voice for maybe 7 months. She knows your voice. Talk to her. Caress her arms. Talk to her. Caress her little face. And I did. The monitors were going so fast, so erratic was the heart rate, so erratic was the breathing, the lungs so undeveloped.

As I had been there for a couple of hours, Dr. Tsing came back over. Katie had a grip on my finger, that tiny little hand of hers around the very end of my finger, and she wouldn't let go. He came over after a while and he said, have you looked at the monitors? I looked up. She still had such undeveloped lungs, but her breathing had stabilized. Her heart rate had stabilized. And Dr. Tsing said, she is drawing life, she is drawing strength from you. I couldn't leave. I sat there for 8 hours before they forced me to take a break, but I learned, born or unborn, a child wants to live.

I hope and pray we will not continue to allow the killing of 40, 50, 60 million more precious babies like Katie. Katie is alive today. She is a joy, she is brilliant. There are other children that wanted to live as well. We need to stop deceiving pregnant women that it's not a life. It is a life, and it's endowed by our Creator.

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


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