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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2214, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014; And Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2217, Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend and colleague from Florida for yielding me the time.

I hadn't anticipated coming down here today, Mr. Speaker. I came down to listen, but I hadn't anticipated coming down to speak. And I will say to my friend from Maryland his words struck me, because twice in his presentation he said, you know, I think it's especially cynical that we're using this process to bring forward two bills that in a bipartisan way we agree on.

I would say to my friend with a heavy heart, Mr. Speaker, that I think it's especially cynical, since we both know these bills need to be passed, to describe what is happening here in any terms other than that which is exactly necessary in order to get these bills passed.


Mr. WOODALL. Let me get this off my chest, and I'd be happy to yield to my friend. I would be happy to yield when I'm done, because I have a copy of the rule here.

And the gentleman was in the Rules Committee last night, and the gentleman knows this is what section 3 provides, that pending the adoption of a concurrent resolution on the budget, we're going to move forward, pending the adoption.

Now, my friend knows, Mr. Speaker, how hard it is to find that agreement. And the reason my friend knows is because I voted for the Budget Control Act in August of 2011, which put my friend and five other Members of the House, it was six House Members, six Senate Members, six Republicans, six Democrats, it put them in a room together for August, September, October, and November with the entire Federal budget over the next 100 years in front of them, allowing them to choose anything they wanted to to agree on to let us move forward as a nation.

Do you know what, Mr. Speaker? Collectively they agreed on not one dollar. I don't fault my friend for that. I know my friend was working as hard as my friend could possibly work to find agreement. But finding agreement is hard. What we're talking about finding agreement with, Mr. Speaker, this comes from The Washington Post editorial page. It's entitled, ``The Democrats' complacent budget plan.'' It says:

Partisan in tone and complacent in substance, the budget scores points against the Republicans and reassures the party's liberal base but deepens these Senators' commitment to an unsustainable policy agenda.

This is what it is that we're trying to find agreement on. Now, my friend from Maryland knows, in fact, he may have even brought it to my attention yesterday, a letter directing the chairman of the Rules Committee, on which I sit, Mr. Speaker, from the chairman of the Budget Committee, also on which I sit, that's signed by Chairman Paul Ryan. It says this, over Paul Ryan's signature:

I want to emphasize that this is a request for an interim measure while the Committee on the Budget continues to work towards an agreement with the Senate on a budget resolution for the coming fiscal year.

And I would, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I would ask my friend from Maryland, does he doubt the chairman's word when the chairman says this is an interim solution until we find agreement?

I'd be happy to yield to my friend.


Mr. WOODALL. Reclaiming my time, the gentleman knows that Chairman Ryan has no control over the inside workings of the United States Senate, and Chairman Ryan did not block what was going on in the United States Senate. The United States Senators were blocking it.

I would ask the gentleman again: Does the gentleman doubt the chairman's word? I understand that the gentleman is frustrated about process, and goodness knows, as someone who supports open rules, I'm frustrated with process, too. We have that in common. But notwithstanding that process, what I have here is a letter from a man which you and I both support--and ``support,'' I mean we believe in his integrity. And he tells us that he is working towards a solution and that what we're doing here today is just an interim step to get these bills that we all agree are so very important, we all agree are so very important, the interim step to get these moving down the process.


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for yielding.

I want to quote what one of my Democratic colleagues quoted last night in the Rules Committee, and that's Federalist Paper No. 58, written by James Madison for the Independent Journal back on February 20, 1788. And he said this:

This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.

Because that's the constitutional responsibility of this body, Mr. Speaker, to appropriate these dollars. This process of appropriations, this constitutional responsibility, cannot begin until we have some numbers against which to budget and appropriate.

What my chairman on the Budget Committee has asked is that as an interim step, and an interim step only, we adopt these numbers today on bills about which we all agree. What is cynical, Mr. Speaker, is that these are things on which we all agree, and we're using this as a position to talk about other issues about which we disagree.


Mr. WOODALL. As my friend knows from his time having to negotiate on the joint select, what we'll call the supercommittee, my friends at The Washington Post go on to say:

In short, this document--

Talking about the budget passed by the Senate.

--gives voters no reason to believe that Democrats have a viable plan for--or even a responsible public assessment of--the country's long-term fiscal predicament.

Now, I will say, Mr. Speaker, that gives me great concern about whether we will be able to reach agreement with the Senate. As my friend from Maryland knows, Mr. Speaker, the House budget reduces spending by trillions of dollars and the Senate budget increases spending even more. In many years, it spends more than even the President requested.


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