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Public Statements

The Budget and the Administration

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. GOHMERT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's always an honor to be recognized here on the floor of the United States House. I want to follow up on what my dear friend Mr. Woodall was pointing out.

With the amount of red ink that we've had, there is no person, there is no business, there is no charity, there is no family that could continue to spend like this government is spending. The trouble is, yes, this administration is driving this truck right toward and off the cliff. They are so fond of talking about cliffs. We've been heading for a big one. The one at the first of the year was just a bump. It was nothing compared to the overall collapse we're headed for, along the lines that the Soviet Union faced back in the late eighties.

There are stories about how they were trying to borrow money, but they had continued to spend, of course, in trying to catch up with our missile defense. They knew they had to match that if they were going to remain a superpower. The great vision of Ronald Reagan had pushed that. He understood that continuing to push a doctrine of MAD, mutually assured destruction, really was mad. It was nuts. Why not develop defensive weapons so that, if there were a mistake, there would at least be a chance to stop it?

The Soviet Union, the Soviet system, is where you're rewarded not by how well you work, not by how productive you are, but because you exist. It's a very noble system, a very noble idea, but it doesn't work--it always goes bankrupt--and the SDI, the missile defense, just helped push them there a whole lot faster. So they got to the point, because they had spent so much, that they couldn't borrow any more money. They owed so much that they knew there was no way they could ever print money fast enough unless they went back to the pre-World War II days when people used wheelbarrows, figuratively speaking, to get a loaf of bread. They knew that they couldn't do that. Then when there was no other way, they finally had to announce: the Soviet Union is now out of business.

It's so ironic. A free market system never collapses. It only fails when people who are not well-educated enough--and they can have all kinds of degrees. They could be like the late Mrs. Milam in my hometown when I was growing up, who used to say, He may have a Ph.D., but he's a P-H-U-L fool. She probably had a third grade education, but she was absolutely brilliant. So we have a lot of people like Mrs. Milam who talk about those who have Ph.D.'s, but they're P-H-U-L fools, and they don't understand that socialism doesn't work, it won't work, it can't work in this world. So the Soviet Union went bankrupt.

If people think it cannot happen here, well, I can assure everyone, Mr. Speaker, it will happen here unless we get responsible, and a pox on the Republican's House for not doing everything we possibly could to stop the Democrats in the Senate and the Democratic President from heading faster and faster toward that cliff. Fortunately, in recent days, because we have taken a great stand, we slowed this truck down. We're still heading there.

Then we have people basically throwing a temper tantrum because they didn't get every dime that they wanted. Yes, government has increased 20 percent. Their entire budgets have increased 20 or so percent. Oh, they're getting more money than they've ever gotten in history, but try to, not cut them, but just slow that big rate of growth down. If we just slow it a little bit, we get a temper tantrum:

Oh, yeah? So what if it's going to bankrupt us? If you're not going to give us all the money, well, we're going to let law enforcement go so they won't be there to protect you. And do you know what? Kids who need vaccinations to keep from being diseased--we're going to spend the money elsewhere, and we're going to let them go without vaccinations so they can get disease. Do you know what? For the kids that need education, we're going to prioritize money elsewhere so they don't have teachers;

Now we found out that the administration official who stood up and said, Yeah, they're getting pink slips, that he didn't know what he was talking about. Unfortunately, there is far too much of that going on these days;

We were also told, Well, we don't know who in this administration is responsible. This stuff just happens. Doors magically opened. Some of us believe that an act of God opened the jail during New Testament times for the Apostle Paul and Silas, but the administration has not given any indication of an act of God that opened jail cells, and they're not sure who opened them. Maybe it was an act of God, because they can't account for how all of these people who were in jail just all of a sudden got released;

But isn't it interesting it just happened to coincide with the administration's threat: give us all the money or else. Disease will take over because we're not going to let people have their vaccinations. We're going to let law enforcement go so crime will take over unless you give us all the money. Not only that, criminals will magically be released. Give us all the money or else. When all of those things didn't work and when the sequestration was moving forward, Oh, yeah? Well, we told you the American people were going to hurt, so now you don't get to come through the White House anymore.

How petty.

Now, I did file an amendment to try to bring home the point and try to snap people at the administration out of whatever stupor they were in to think, Oh, we'll just hurt the kids, the veterans, the seniors, those who are coming, maybe, for most of them, for the only time they'll ever come to tour the White House. We'll just let them suffer. We won't let them in. Then that will make them mad, and we'll tell them it's all the Republicans' fault.

They don't understand, because we haven't done a good enough job of messaging it.

But here in Congress, for the last 2 years--not the Senate, as they weren't going to allow their budgets to be cut at all. But here in the House, where the Republicans have been in charge, I've been quite critical of our Speaker--I continue to be so--but it was his order, and we cut our own budgets over 2 years about 11.5 percent. I think it was a good thing to do, but it shouldn't have stopped there. We needed to use that for moral authority to make sure that every government agency did the same thing.

So, in the last 2 years, the 435 people in this body--all of us, every single one of the 435 Members of the House--have lost about 11.5 percent of our budgets that we don't have to spend. So, in our case, if you lose somebody, you just don't replace him, and you just get by. I am so grateful I have staff who, at least not to me, don't seem to fuss about 50-hour, 60-hour weeks and about getting emails at all hours of the day and night.

I think I stopped emailing them this morning about 4:30 or so. I don't expect them to answer my emails in the wee hours of the morning, but they're hard workers.

This is a tough, very difficult, stressful environment. And in this environment where we're doing battle with the Senate to try to get them to do their job, to have a budget, to be responsible, to have a responsible budget, to do no more harm to the American economy, American rights, it's often a battle, legislative battle. And yet we have been going into the battle for the last two years as we cut our budgets about 11 1/2 percent. And we did it. And we still provide every single constituent service that we did before the 11 1/2 percent was cut, and we will continue to do that. That's part of our job.

Because of the sequester, we're going to lose another 8 percent or so, a little over 8 percent, as I understand. So, in effect, around 20 percent over 3 years we will have lost of our budget.

One night this week I had so many individuals from my district. I think it was originally going to be about 120: one group of 16, one group of 25, one group of 3, one group of 2, one group of 8, on and on. All these groups. It added up to 120, 130 people. And most of them were so brokenhearted. The big school groups, one school group of 81 people was coming up here. They were not part of that group Tuesday night, but I have another group of 81 coming up. They were so excited about getting to see the White House.

So I'm doing all I can to make sure that the people from my district who have come to Washington, who are brokenhearted over the little temper tantrum, whoever had it, that decided, No more, no, you can't come to our house anymore. Yes, it's your house. Yes, you're paying for all of it, but we're not going to let you in the house you're paying for, because we're mad because we had a 2 percent cut from the billion or so dollars that we had to spend.

I understand the disappointment. And one of the things that I hope when my time is done in Congress, is I will have inspired someone during one of our night tours through the Capitol to do something far greater than I could have ever done. I was inspired in high school. It didn't inspire me to want to be in Congress. But I was just so inspired by history going all over the Capitol. Back then you didn't need a Representative to take you around the Capitol. You just needed to come into the Capitol. There were no metal detectors. You just came into the Capitol and walked around. It seemed like there was more that you could read about what went on here.

On Tuesday night we had a tour, and I told the group when we started we can stop at any time, I'll stop telling these historical stories about the history of this place, but they didn't want to stop. It went on and on, about a 3 1/2 hour tour. I think we finished around 11:30, something like that.

But I push to do that for folks, not because our budget hadn't been cut 20 percent as it's being cut, but because this is the people's House. Down Pennsylvania Avenue that way, that's the people's house. And they deserve to have that opportunity.

Now, the reason we know that I'm not breaking the rule--I'm not saying the President had a temper tantrum because he said he's not the one that called off the tour, so we don't know who had it. Somebody did. He said that was a Secret Service decision. Well, then we find out it wasn't a Secret Service decision. They don't have the power to make that kind of call. It has to come from somebody in the White House.

Mr. Speaker, I hope--it's nice to be around the President, he's a likable man, beautiful family--whoever, Mr. Speaker, is making these decisions, having their little temper tantrum, shutting off tours, things like that, whoever is doing all that, I wish they would step up over to the White House and let the President know, ``Mr. President, I'm the one who had the temper tantrum and shut down the tours; I'm the one that's making these decisions over here; I know you didn't do it, Mr. President. I wish whoever it was would step up so we can know who's making the decisions at the White House.

We would like to get to the bottom of Benghazi so we can find out who's making the decisions. Secretary Clinton said the buck stopped with her; and then after a hearing, it turns out she couldn't really remember where the buck was. And it would be a comedy of error, except there are dead Americans.

And it didn't stop there. It bled over into Algeria, and more Americans were killed. It continues today, and we still can't get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi. Some like our former Secretary of State would say, What difference does it make? Well, it makes a difference to the families of those who were killed in the service of their country; it makes a difference to the families of those who will be killed in the future in the service of the United States because we can't get someone to come forward and explain exactly what happened.

Now we get a story here dated March 15--that would be today--from Catherine Herridge at Fox News, who does a terrific job of digging out facts, and she reports on information that should have come out months ago, 6 months ago. But we can't get straight answers so we don't know how to go about preventing future Americans from being killed so that their families don't have to suffer.

And Catherine Herridge points out that three diplomatic security agents were among the Americans injured during the terrorist attack last September on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, according to a State Department official speaking exclusively to Fox News. According to the official who confirmed Fox's reporting on the condition of anonymity, two were injured, including one seriously, at the CIA facility known as the ``annex,'' and a third suffered smoke inhalation at the Consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed.

Now, somebody is reporting on the condition of anonymity, and unfortunately this ought to be reported publicly. And we've long since given up on this administration being anything but in last place when it comes to transparency. But the hope that springs internal in the human breast causes us the hope that surely at some point a light will go on and someone will say, You know, we promised for years that we would be the most transparent, just like Jimmy Carter promised.

And, really, we prosecuted more people for trying to be transparent in government than any other administration. We have shut off more information. This administration has gone further than that. They turned over boxes and boxes of documents that prove and are relevant to American individuals and American groups funding terrorism; but when Members of Congress asked to see those documents, we're told we can't have them, there's a problem. And as I pointed out to the Attorney General, you gave them to the terrorists, don't you think you could give them to Members of Congress?

Where does your allegiance lie?

Let Members of Congress see the evidence so we can know who has been supporting terrorism. Obviously, this administration made the decision not to pursue the 200-plus named coconspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial.

But the Constitution envisioned that there would be oversight by Members of Congress, that we would come in and we'd have a chance to have hearings and demand information come forward, and when that information didn't come forward, we could just cut off funding to that department. It's called accountability, and there is not being any.

And that's why you have to have someone give information to a trusted news reporter like Catherine Herridge on the condition of anonymity, because this administration has fought transparency, not been a part of making it happen.

The story says:

Four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador, were killed in the attack, and the Obama administration faced intense criticism from Republicans--

Of course, the story should have said, it faced intense criticism from Americans from all parties and from all of the mainstream media, but it doesn't because they have to report accurately; it was only Republicans.

--in the aftermath over security problems and apparent inconsistencies in officials explanation of what happened. Lately, however, the focus has turned to the attack's survivors, who still have not been named, 6 months later.

Separately, a diplomatic security source told Fox News the State Department's diplomatic security agent who was in the most serious condition suffered a severe head injury during the second wave of the attack at the annex from mortar and rocket-propelled grenades.

The story goes on, but the real story is this administration continues to stonewall, as it did and has and continues, on the American individuals and organizations that have helped support terrorism, that are working against the interests of the United States of America here in America, on our soil.

This administration has even befriended many of those people who were named as coconspirators. So I'm sure they don't want all that information coming out about their contacts and ties with terrorist organizations or potentially funding terrorist activity, because then it makes the country and the world know the administration has actually been working with people who at least support those who support terrorism.

More news, too. This was reported on 3/7:

The chief of the U.S. Africa Command is telling Congress that thousands of shoulder-fired antiaircraft weapons from the arsenal of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi remain unaccounted for in Africa and beyond.

We've got rocket-propelled grenades that are unaccounted for, and this administration will not help us get to the bottom. I know, I realize it may be embarrassing, but Americans have shown over and over, whether it was with Eisenhower when he came forward, during the Eisenhower administration when Nixon came forward and gave the Checker the Puppy speech and apologized, and he goes up in the polls, unfortunately.

After the Bay of Pigs horrible atrocity where people, in 1961, had been promised air cover by the Kennedy administration, and it was pulled within 24 hours of the attack, when it was too late to let folks know that the Kennedy administration was not going to provide air support, and so people were slaughtered there in the Bay of Pigs. But President Kennedy did a noble thing at that point, though he'd made a huge mistake. He came on national television and said, This was my fault. And the American people loved him for his honesty in taking responsibility, and he went up in the polls.

It was Eisenhower who told the American people, We do not have any U-2 planes flying over the Soviet Union, when it turned out we did. And when he was caught, Gary Powers was shot down, he came forward and said, I'm so sorry. I should have been totally honest with the American people, and I wasn't. Eisenhower went up in the polls.

If Nixon had learned something from his 1950s episode of apologizing and going up in the American people's esteem, he would have gotten to the root of Watergate and may have been able to finish his term; but, instead, he tried to cover up.

But in this administration, Fast and Furious continues to be covered, Benghazi continues to be covered. So many things that are going on continue to be covered up. We can't get to the bottom of things, and it does not speak well nor bode well for the future of this country.

Army General Carter Ham tells the Senate Armed Services Committee some of those weapons, as well as explosives and other arms once under Qadhafi's control, have fallen into the hands of extremists in northern Mali. He says others have spread to rebel groups in Syria. The Qadhafi regime was overthrown in 2011.

Of course, General Ham doesn't go on and mention that the Qadhafi administration fell because this administration, without the consent or advice of Congress, only the request from Organization of Islamic Council and some NATO countries, not in the U.S. interest, he goes and starts bombing so that these al Qaeda-supported rebels could take over from Qadhafi, leading to, ultimately, the death of Americans. Anyway, Ham said at the hearing on Thursday he could not discuss details in public, but he did say a U.S. Government effort to buy back portable antiaircraft weapons from Libya has had only modest success.

Well, I hope and pray that somebody who is more effective than those who've been at work for the U.S. and Libya will be able to get those weapons before more Americans die.

One other thing. The President's going to Israel, and something this administration and those advising our great President do not understand is, when you meet with terrorists, when you meet with those who support terrorism, you not only give credibility to them, you devastate the morale of those who are opposing terrorists.

So when you beg the Taliban, Please, please sit down with us and talk, no preconditions; we'll buy you an office in Qatar; we'll let your bloodthirsty thugs loose from our confinement if you'll just sit down with us, when you do that, you not only encourage the terrorists, you devastate the morale of those trying to stand against them.

It's happened in Iran, when people who were wanting a different, a more freedom-loving administration in Iran, Iranian people who liked the United States, wanted help. They got no encouragement from this administration, not even verbal encouragement that would have meant so much. No, they were devastated as we continue to indicate, Look, you know, we can work something out, Iran.

When this administration meets with members of terrorist organizations in the White House, even though our Homeland Security Secretary was totally ignorant of what was going on as we found out in answer to my questions in our committee hearing, you devastate those in Egypt, people that we can talk to around here, and we have, who don't want these crazies in control in Egypt who hate America and want to annihilate America and Israel.

You devastate those who want to be on our side and help us. And I talked to one just this week who said, What are you doing when you encourage or even talk to those people who hate you, who've made that very clear? You hurt the rest of us who really want a fair and open democratic form of government in Egypt.

Mr. Speaker, it is my hope and prayer that somebody who's making the decisions at the White House learns from history so we don't keep repeating it.

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


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