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Mr. DINGELL. I thank my dear friend from Massachusetts.
As I begin, I express my great affection and respect for my colleague from Texas, who is my dear friend.
Mr. Speaker, I think we are here to be ashamed of ourselves. We're wasting the taxpayers' time, the taxpayers' money, and we're wasting the business and the time of the House.
We are taking up a bill to require that Members of Congress sit down and talk about deficit reduction and raising the debt limit. The last time I checked, we didn't need a law to do that. It's already our job. We have a conference that we can call at any time between the House and the Senate, which would enable us then to get to the serious business in handling this matter under the regular order. We don't do it. I don't know why.
The President says he is not going to negotiate with a gun at his head. Frankly, I wouldn't either, and I don't think anybody else in this place would. Beyond that, he also is not going to negotiate the full faith and credit of the United States, which is one of the questions at issue.
So one of the problems we seem to have with our Republican friends is that their Tea Party fringe is so ideologically hell-bent in getting their way that they're finding that they're too extreme to get it.
Now, we Democrats have shown a willingness to cooperate and to compromise. In fact, as the minority leader observed, we have asked Speaker Boehner to convene a budget conference all year, but to no avail.
Two hundred Democrats, including myself, sent a letter to Speaker Boehner on Saturday, saying we'd support an extension of sequester-level spending through November 15. Democrats don't want the sequester to begin with, but the interest of compromise and keeping government open says that we're going to show good faith to my Republican colleagues.
And what is my Republican colleagues' response?
No. Resurrect the failed supercommittee. They have apparently read the Peter Principle, which says, when you can't think of anything else to do, appoint a committee, and they will obfuscate the matter further.
Mr. Speaker, it's time to put an end to these asinine antics and maneuverings. It's time to pass the Senate continuing resolution. It's time to show the Americans and the rest of the world that a great institution, created by an enormously wise group of men who made the United States Constitution, is an institution that is not beyond hope of redemption and that it can work together.
We offered to work together with my Republican friends and colleagues. We hope that they will do this.
I would simply observe that we are engaged here in another curious practice also. We're going to have it so that we're going to pay Federal workers for doing nothing. Imagine that.
My Republican colleagues, over the years, during my career here, have always been complaining about ``welfare queens'' who would ride to the welfare office to get their pension checks. Well, here we are going to convert a bunch of Federal employees to ``welfare queens'' by paying them while they do not work. The whole thing is silly, and the American people feel so.
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