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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H. Con. Res. 25, Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014; Providing for Consideration of H. Res. 115, Providing for the Expenses of Certain Committees of the House of Representatives in the 113th Congress; and for Other Purposes

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, that was a mouthful as the Clerk was reading through this resolution, and it was an exciting mouthful. I'm not sure that folks actually were able to get from just the prose the excitement that is in this rule today.

What this rule provides for is two very important things. I'm going to take them in order of my personal passion, but they're both equally important. Number one, this rule provides that every single Member of this House--not just Republicans, not just Democrats, not just folks who are favored, not any particular category--but every single Member of this House who represents a constituency back home had an opportunity to submit their own budget for the United States of America.

So often, the problem in this town is not enough good ideas, Mr. Speaker.
We don't have that problem today because every Member of the House that chose to submit a budget is going to have their budget considered and debated on the floor of this House if we pass this rule today.

Now, that is only five budgets, Mr. Speaker, five plus the Budget Committee's mark, because it's not easy to put together a budget. A lot of folks talk a good game about what they would do if they were king for a day; but when you try to craft your own budget, you've got to put, literally, money where your mouth and ideas are.

In this rule, we make in order a Congressional Black Caucus substitute budget, a Progressive Caucus substitute budget, and a substitute budget by the ranking member of the Budget Committee, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Van Hollen). We make in order a budget introduced by Mr. Mulvaney from South Carolina that tries to capture the essence of what the Senate is working on right now, and we make in order a budget produced by the Republican Study Committee. All of those exist as an alternative to the budget that was produced by the Budget Committee.

Mr. Speaker, I have the great pleasure of sitting on the Budget Committee. What you see here in my hand is the Budget Committee report. We produced this on March 15. It's bound and it's published. They did a very nice job. It's been proofread, and the minority has had a chance to add their views. That was March 15 that we produced this budget.

But as we sit here today with March quickly leaving us, what we do not have yet is a budget from the United States President. I only point that out, Mr. Speaker, to say I understand that it's hard to produce a budget. I know because I produced one in this cycle. I had the great pleasure of working with a team that produced the Republican Study Committee budget and produced the House budget. So in a time period where the President has failed to follow the legally required mandate of introducing a budget by the first week of February, I've had the great pleasure of producing two budgets.

My friends on the Progressive Caucus have produced a budget. My friends on the Congressional Black Caucus have produced a budget. My friend, Mr. Van Hollen, has produced a budget. And I think it is fair when we ask in this debate why we have been denied a chance to look at the President's budget. We didn't see it in February. We didn't see it in March. Word has it now we might see it in April.

It's hard work to produce a budget, but it's important work. In fact, it's legally required work. I take great pride not just that the House will meet its statutory deadline, but that we're meeting it in this very open and honest forum as this rule proposes.

But the second thing this rule does, Mr. Speaker, is it provides for consideration of the committee funding resolution. This Congress doesn't have a penny to spend except for pennies that we take from the American taxpayer. That's the only place any revenue comes into this United States Government. Part of that revenue goes to fund this very institution.

Thrift begins at home, Mr. Speaker. Before you and I arrived in this body, Mr. Speaker, the committee process here in this House was authorized to spend $300 million a year. Now, the committees do amazing work. It's important work to produce reports like this Budget Committee report, and they do the oversight on the executive branch. I don't for a minute suggest that the work that the committee structure does isn't critical to the functioning of our Republic. But every single account in the United States Government has to be looked at, examined, critiqued, and reformed if we are to get our fiscal books back in order.

The very first committee funding resolution you and I had a chance to vote on, Mr. Speaker, we reduced that committee funding from $300 million back in the 111th Congress down to around $260 in the 112th.

Here we come down again to $240 million in this resolution. In the 26 now short months that you and I have served in Congress, Mr. Speaker, this body has examined its own books and reduced its spending by 20 percent on committees. That is not an easy task. That's not a task that came lightly. That's a task that has taken tremendous effort by both the majority and the minority.

But my question is, Mr. Speaker, if we can do it, as the American people expect us to do, what could the executive branch do? If we in the people's House can take 20 percent out because our constituents have demanded that we view every single dollar with an eye toward thrift, what could the executive branch do if only they would partner with us as we begin the leadership right here in this body?

None of the easy decisions are left, Mr. Speaker. The only decisions left to be decided in this budget, to be decided in this rule, are the hard decisions. We have provided in this rule the opportunity to consider every alternative that Members have proposed to decide these solutions, Mr. Speaker.


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