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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 527, Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I rise again today, as I have ever since we started this term in January, to talk about the lack of work that this House of Representatives has produced and how absolutely devastating it is to the public and how angry they are that week after week we do absolutely nothing here of any importance.

One-House bills--this week, I think, is a prime example of that. We came in, went into the Rules Committee, put a rule that we knew would not go to the Senate, and we knew the President would veto it. But we spent time on it until suddenly some groups got very angry about it and said, Well, you'd better not vote for that. It was pulled off the floor yesterday after we'd done the rule. And everybody who voted for the rule is already on record that they wanted that bill to pass. I think that's important. If they were trying to escape making some conservative groups mad, they've done that already.

But Frank Pallone, Representative Pallone from New Jersey, who was managing that bill for the Democrats, got no notice at all that the bill was not going to be taken up, and was standing here almost open-mouthed when he found out he had nothing to do.

Now this bill we have here today could have been done on suspension without any question. There's nothing here--helium. This whole thing is filled with hot air.

And the sequestration--I've said and said as recently as yesterday that Congressman Van Hollen has come to the Rules Committee three times, and four times he has tried to get a bill on the floor which would take away sequestration and would provide all of the money by other means, sensitive ways to cut, that sequestration is going to take. But no, he didn't have a chance to do it.

So now we're going to worry about airplanes, which is important because I live in a district that does not necessarily have the best flight schedules, but I'm also concerned about the cancer patients in this country who are not getting their shots because of sequestration. I'm worried about the at least 70,000 young kids who have been cut out of Head Start because of sequestration.

The answer for us here is to make Van Hollen in order for tomorrow and take away sequestration and follow his bill, and we'll get the same amount of money.


Ms. SLAUGHTER. Sequestration was an awful thing. The whole idea of it made absolutely no sense. And it was so stupid that I think that most Members in this House really thought they'd never see it; that nobody in here would be dumb enough to do that. Mr. McGovern and I were smart enough to vote against it, weren't we, Jim? So if you voted for it, it's your bill. But let me tell you, we need to get rid of sequestration. We have a chance to do that tomorrow. Obviously for the optics of the thing, we have to stay here and do something because we haven't done anything this whole week. If we're going to do something, make it meaningful. Let's take away sequestration. Let's get people back to work. The people who are on unemployment who are barely making it, poor souls, because they can't find a job because the economy is so bad, are having that cut as well.

We have done enormous harm with this folly, and we have an opportunity to heal it. Let Van Hollen's bill come to the floor tomorrow. In a bipartisan way, let's discuss that with our leadership and your leadership, bring that out here, and bring this thing to a close.

What we're suffering now and what people are seeing now with flight delays is only a small piece of it. Every day it's going to get worse. And we will rue the day we had all of these opportunities with Mr. Van Hollen to get rid of it, and certainly we will rue the day if we don't make it in order for tomorrow when we're apparently trying to make work.


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