[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 191 (Wednesday, December 16, 2009)]
[House]
[Pages H14986-H14991]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




    WAIVING REQUIREMENT OF CLAUSE 6(a) OF RULE XIII WITH RESPECT TO 
                  CONSIDERATION OF CERTAIN RESOLUTIONS

  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. Madam Speaker, by direction of the Committee on 
Rules, I call up House Resolution 973 and ask for its immediate 
consideration.
  The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:

                              H. Res. 973

       Resolved, That the requirement of clause 6(a) of rule XIII 
     for a two-thirds vote to consider a report from the Committee 
     on Rules on the same day it is presented to the House is 
     waived with respect to any resolution reported on the 
     legislative day of December 16, 2009.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from Maine is recognized for 
1 hour.
  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. Madam Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, 
I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentlewoman from North 
Carolina, Dr. Foxx. All time yielded during consideration of the rule 
is for debate only.


                             General Leave

  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. I also ask unanimous consent that all Members 
be given 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks 
on House Resolution 973.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Maine?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Madam Speaker, House Resolution 973 waives clause 6(a) of rule XIII 
which requires a two-thirds vote to consider a rule on the same day it 
is reported from the Rules Committee. This waiver applies to any 
resolutions reported on the legislative day of December 16, 2009. This 
will allow the House to consider today important legislation, including 
legislation to ensure the funding of our military in addition to 
measures to put people back to work.
  Madam Speaker, we must act quickly to deliver the bills before us 
today that will fund our military and get people back to work. Today 
the House will take up several measures that will fund our military and 
make critical investments in the Nation's infrastructure in order to 
put people back to work. We have the opportunity today to take the 
bailout money that was used as a lifeline to Wall Street and give that 
money back to the American people and those who have been hit hardest 
by these tough economic times.
  The legislation that we will take up later today will divert the TARP 
money to programs that will create and save jobs across the country. We 
do this by investing $75 billion of TARP money into highways, to 
transit, to school renovation, to hiring teachers, police and 
firefighters, to supporting small businesses, job training and 
affordable housing.
  For those hit hardest by the recession, this bill also provides 
emergency relief by extending programs like Unemployment Benefits, 
COBRA and FMAP, which is health care funding for our States, and the 
child care tax credit. These are measures that we must pass to build a 
foundation for long-term economic recovery.
  This is not an ordinary day; and given the importance of this 
legislation, I hope Members on both sides of the aisle will support 
this rule so that we can move quickly to enact these critically 
important measures.
  I wish, as so many of my colleagues wish, that we weren't faced with 
such difficult problems. I wish that when the Democrats took over the 
majority, we weren't saddled with two wars, a recession and a $1.3 
trillion deficit. But wishing won't make these problems go away. There 
is real urgency in the actions before us today, and I truly hope that 
my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in supporting 
this rule to allow us to move forward.
  Later in the day, we will debate the merits of all of this 
legislation and the grave implications of not passing these bills. But 
right now, I urge my colleagues to support this rule and allow us to 
move forward on the debate to complete the work that we were sent here 
to do.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague yielding the time 
this morning.
  I want to say that it seems every time we come here, we have to do a 
little bit of correcting people's memory and their recollection of 
history. My colleague just said when they took over the majority, we 
had a $1.3 trillion deficit. I think if she will check her facts, she 
will see that the $1.3 trillion deficit came about as a result of the 
Democrats' taking over the majority. She may not have been here in 
2007, but when they took over the majority, I believe that the deficit 
was $259 billion, and they made it $1.3 trillion this year with their 
Democratic President.
  We are here considering a same-day martial law rule. Now, I 
understand that there are times when we need to move quickly when we 
are faced with an immediate crisis. However, I think the word 
``crisis'' has been overused particularly this year. We haven't had 
much by way of crisis this year, and yet they're trying to make it a 
crisis by bringing in this, again, same-day martial law rule.
  The Rules Committee met last night at 8:45. We didn't get the text of 
the bills that we're going to be debating and the rule that we're going 
to approve again in a few minutes, or a little while, so we've had very 
little time to be able to deal with these things. But we've known about 
this for a long, long time. We've known that the funding for the 
government would run out Friday night for over a month. So what have we 
been doing during that period of time when we should have been 
preparing for this day?
  Let me give some ideas on what we've been doing by reading out some 
of the bills that we've been voting on on the floor: expressing support 
for designation of November 29, 2009, as ``Drive Safer Sunday,'' surely 
something that the country could not live without, without our voting 
on it; expressing support for designation of the week beginning on 
November 9, 2009, as ``National School Psychology Week,'' another 
extraordinarily important

[[Page H14987]]

issue for us to be dealing with; recognizing the 60th anniversary of 
the Berlin Airlift's success. Certainly I am extremely proud of the 
fact that Ronald Reagan helped end the Cold War by opening up Berlin. 
But I don't think that really needed to be done by a vote on this 
floor.

                              {time}  0930

  And then the one that I really think tops the cake and will get the 
attention of the American people, honoring the 2,560th anniversary of 
the birth of Confucius and recognizing his invaluable contributions to 
philosophy and social and political thought. The fact that 2,560 years 
have passed since the birth of Confucius and we hadn't acknowledged it, 
I really think that could have waited a little bit longer in terms of 
the importance of the work that we are doing.
  So, here we are again doing what our colleagues across the aisle have 
been so good at this session, short-circuiting the legislative process 
so we can jam through another major spending bill without the benefit 
of Members or, more importantly, the citizens of this country having 
the opportunity to read it.
  This rule enables us to take up the next rule, and that rule will let 
the House consider more than $1 trillion in spending, all done almost 
in the blink of an eye if you put it in the context of the birth of 
Confucius. But let us not be fooled by this attempt to say that 
something is a crisis. The reason we are doing this on the spur of the 
moment is because our Speaker and several Members are going to leave 
today to go to Copenhagen to talk with people about climate control. 
And they're going to emit much, much carbon on their way to do that, 
which really is sort of hypocritical in terms of what the conference is 
all about. So we have folks talking out of both sides of their mouths 
here over and over and over again.
  Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. My good friend from North Carolina has 
suggested that this isn't an emergency. I would say that I hear every 
day from constituents in my district who feel that we are in a time of 
emergency. In Maine, we have 20,000 unemployed workers who are facing 
the end of their unemployment benefits. A very critical thing that we 
are about to talk about today is the extension of unemployment 
benefits.
  Now, we are anxious for the economy to improve, but the fact is in my 
State unemployment benefits are the fourth largest payroll. That is a 
tragedy that we have to deal with. We have to make sure that those 
people, in the middle of a cold winter, don't go without their vital 
support and that our State doesn't go without a critical part of our 
economy.
  Many of those people can't even stand a delay because the fact is if 
they go for even a few days or weeks without their benefits, they've 
already hit the end of their credit card limits, they've already gone 
as far as they can possibly go. Many workers have talked to me about 
the fact that they are using their COBRA subsidy; they were laid off, 
and the fact is this extended that as well.
  As far as I'm concerned, there are many critical things in this bill. 
This is the time to get it passed. People say to me all the time, When 
are you going to get something done in Washington? As far as I'm 
concerned, this is something we have to get done, and we need to get 
back to work today.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I now yield such time as he may consume to 
the distinguished gentleman from California and ranking member of the 
Rules Committee, Mr. Dreier.
  (Mr. DREIER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. DREIER. Madam Speaker, our friend from Maine is absolutely right. 
This is a very, very challenging time for people who are dealing with 
the economic downturn through which we have suffered, and it is 
essential that we do a number of the things that are before us today.
  The national security of the United States of America is priority 
number one. I always argue that the five most important words in the 
middle of the preamble of the U.S. Constitution are ``provide for the 
common defense.'' I say that, Madam Speaker, because if you think about 
the issues with which we regularly contend here, nearly all of them can 
be done either by an individual, within a family, within a church or 
community, a city, a county, or a State level of governing, but our 
national defense can only be handled by the Federal Government. So I 
will acknowledge it is very, very important for us to ensure that our 
men and women in uniform have what they need. And I will acknowledge 
that as we deal with the economic downturn, ensuring that people have 
job opportunities is a very, very, very important priority for us.
  I happen to think that we have gone in the exact opposite direction 
when it comes to the notion of encouraging long-term private sector job 
creation and economic growth. I believe that we should deal with that 
issue in a bipartisan way. And when I say bipartisan, I'm referring to 
two Presidents in the last half century; one is John F. Kennedy, the 
other Ronald Reagan. John F. Kennedy, when we were dealing with 
economic challenges in the early 1960s, decided very clearly that the 
best way to get the economy back on track, the best way to encourage 
private sector job creation and economic growth was to do what? Bring 
about broad, marginal tax rate reduction, reducing the top rate on 
capital gains and taking the top rate on job creators, men and women 
who are out there working to create more and more opportunity for their 
fellow Americans.
  Well, Madam Speaker, that kind of plan was put into place in the 
early 1960s with a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President of 
the United States. And guess what happened? During the decade of the 
1960s, we saw a doubling of the flow of revenues to the Federal 
Treasury because of the heralded John F. Kennedy tax cuts; again, a 
Democratic President and a Democratic Congress.
  Rush forward from the early 1960s to the early 1980s, two decades. I 
was privileged to be a Member of the 97th Congress which convened in 
January of 1981. We were dealing with very, very serious economic 
problems, some of which were even more challenging than exist today. In 
the early 1980s, people will recall that interest rates were well into 
double digits, we had an unemployment rate that dramatically exceeded 
where we are today, and if you look at the overall challenge, it was 
similar. How did we deal with that, Madam Speaker? We dealt with it by 
doing, under Ronald Reagan, exactly what President John Kennedy, a 
great Democratic President, did. Under Ronald Reagan, we saw broad 
reductions across the board of marginal tax rates, we saw a reduction 
in the capital gains rate.
  And what happened? As we encouraged those job creators out there in 
our economy, what happened, Madam Speaker, was we saw, again, a 
doubling of the flow of revenues to the Federal Treasury and we saw 
good, long-term private sector jobs created.
  Now, the thing that is most troubling about what it is that we are 
doing is, while we have seen--I am really happy to see this reduction 
of 10.2 percent to 10 percent, the unemployment rate; it's a positive 
sign. The problem is that it's not private sector job creation; what we 
are seeing is public sector job creation.
  I will acknowledge that infrastructure spending is important. I 
represent the Los Angeles Basin, and we have very serious 
infrastructure problems. And so I recognize that government does have 
an appropriate role in dealing with infrastructure, and jobs are 
created when we put resources into infrastructure. I will acknowledge 
that.
  But if you look at the other areas, when the President had his job 
summit the other day, we had a meeting of Republicans. One of the 
economists who participated was Kevin Hassett of the American 
Enterprise Institute, and he provided us with an amazing number. He 
said that he had his staff at AEI, the American Enterprise Institute, 
sit down and look at the challenge of the entire nearly $1 trillion in 
stimulus spending. He said, Tell me what would happen if we were to 
have taken that entire stimulus bill and just hired people.
  Well, his staff came up with the following conclusion, Madam Speaker. 
He reported to us that if you look at the

[[Page H14988]]

average wage rate in the United States, it's $37,000 a year. That's the 
average wage rate across the country. If we were to take the entire 
stimulus bill and simply hire people, guess how many jobs would be 
created? I was stunned when Mr. Hassett reported to us that that number 
is 21 million. And when you look at how the stimulus dollars have been 
expended, we obviously haven't created that many jobs, Madam Speaker. 
But the fact is, if we were to take all of those resources and just 
hire people at the average wage rate across the United States of 
America, it would be 21 million jobs that would have been created.
  That is not the way to deal with the challenge of the economic 
downturn. The way to deal with it is to encourage long-term private 
sector job creation and economic growth. That is why, when we look at 
these priorities and the urgency of dealing with the challenges that 
exist today, that is what we should be doing.
  Now, as Ms. Foxx has appropriately said, Madam Speaker, we are here 
with a virtually unprecedented scenario before us. First, this rule 
gives something that according to our staff has not happened before, 
and that is, it gives the Chair the authority to just, without any 
action by the Members of the House, adjourn the House. That is a 
troubling sign. And it is troubling but not terribly surprising based 
on what we have seen over the past 3 years since we had first unveiled 
to us a document known as ``A New Direction for America.'' This was the 
proposal that was put forward by the now-Speaker of the House, who was 
then minority leader. And as minority leader, she was very concerned.
  And I will acknowledge, having done a less than perfect job in my 
position as chairman of the House Rules Committee, I am proud of what 
our work product was, but I could have done better, and I will 
acknowledge that freely here. But it's interesting to note what ``A New 
Direction for America'' actually had. I would like to just share a 
couple of brief lines from that, if I might, Madam Speaker.
  It says, Bills should be developed following full hearings and open 
subcommittee and committee markups, with appropriate referrals to other 
committees. Members should have at least 24 hours to examine a bill 
prior to consideration at the subcommittee level. Bills should 
generally come to the floor under a procedure that allows open, full, 
and fair debate.
  I am going to repeat that, Madam Speaker. It says, Bills should come 
to the floor under a procedure that allows open, full, and fair debate 
consisting of a full amendment process that grants the minority the 
right to offer its alternatives, including a substitute.
  Members should have at least 24 hours to examine bill and conference 
report text prior to floor consideration. Rules governing floor debate 
must be reported before 10 p.m. for a bill to be considered the 
following day.
  Now, Madam Speaker, as we know, virtually all of that has been thrown 
out the window.
  The other thing that is unprecedented--and I mentioned this in the 
Rules Committee when I confirmed it with our staff--to my knowledge, 
this is the first session ever to go through the entire session of 
Congress without any bill being considered under an open rule. I know 
that my friend from Maine was there upstairs when I raised this issue, 
and I hope very much that she does have an opportunity soon, because as 
we've talked about--and this bill that is coming before us is an 
appropriations bill--again, for the first time ever we had the 
appropriations process shut down, shut down, denying Members an 
opportunity to offer amendments. Never before in the history of the 
Republic has that taken place, and we now have, unfortunately, seen 
that.
  But as we prepare to extend Christmas and Hanukkah greetings to our 
colleagues and our friends across the country, it is very unfortunate 
that we have now--if we do in fact see today as the last day of the 
first session of this Congress--an entire session without any open 
rules.
  I will tell you that there are many people on the Rules Committee who 
work long and hard to deal with challenges. We, as Ms. Foxx said, met 
into the evening last night, and then we were here at 7:30 this 
morning.
  One of our Rules Committee staff members, Shane Chambers, who has 
worked long and hard, is getting ready to leave. I would like to say, 
Madam Speaker, how much I appreciate his work. He and his wife and new 
baby are moving to Dallas, Texas. I am sure that he will have an 
opportunity--even with a new baby--to get more rest than he does as a 
staff member on the House Rules Committee. But I would like to express 
appreciation to those staff members on both sides of the aisle who do 
work long and hard to address these challenges.
  I am going to urge my colleagues to join in voting ``no'' on this 
rule because I believe that we can do better. This is not the 
appropriate way, and it is not what was promised to the American 
people.

                              {time}  0945

  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. Madam Speaker, I do want to thank my colleague, 
the ranking member on the committee, both for his history lesson and 
also for extending holiday greetings to those across the country. I do 
appreciate that, as a new Member, I often learn bits of the past from 
the things that he discusses with us, and I want to join him in 
thanking our hardworking staff. He is absolutely right. We were here 
late into the evening, and we were here early in the morning. I know 
that my colleagues put in many hours and that our staffs work very 
hard, and I want them to know I appreciate greatly their hard work on 
our behalf and for dealing with many of the challenges we often have 
before us which make our procedural challenges even more difficult as 
we try to determine how to get so much work done that is before us and 
with so much more to do. That is why we are here today--to talk about 
this same-day rule, to talk about the work that is before us.
  I yield as much time as he is interested in consuming to my good 
colleague from Colorado (Mr. Perlmutter).
  Mr. PERLMUTTER. I appreciate my friend from Maine giving me some time 
to respond to my friend from California.
  Madam Speaker, I think we were getting a little lesson in history 
about Kennedy, about Reagan, and about the Recovery Act that was passed 
earlier this session.
  I'm glad my friend is now returning, because what he forgot to 
mention was that, with John Kennedy, when those tax cuts were made, the 
highest marginal rates were 70 percent. Today's highest marginal rates 
are half that. So we need to understand, when those cuts were made, it 
was a substantial amount higher than what we've experienced today. I 
would also remind my friend that, in the Recovery Act, which was passed 
earlier this year, $300 billion--about 40 percent of that bill--was in 
the form of tax cuts. So those kinds of efforts are being made.
  I would also remind my friend that, when President Reagan came in in 
1981, he did take some tough steps in trying to rebuild the economy, 
which was suffering from high interest rates and from a number of other 
things, and it wasn't just nirvana the next day. At least in Colorado, 
we had years of recession that lasted almost until 1990.
  So what we see before us, really, I think, as a result of stabilizing 
the banking system last fall and of rejuvenating the economy in the 
spring with the Recovery Act, is downward pressure on unemployment. We 
are not out of the woods, but it is getting better. We can continue to 
do better than what we saw at the end of the Bush administration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. I yield the gentleman another 1 minute.
  Mr. DREIER. Would the gentleman yield?
  Mr. PERLMUTTER. I yield 10 seconds to my friend from California.
  Mr. DREIER. I am going to need more than 10 seconds to respond. I 
would be happy to ask my friend from the Grandfather community if she 
might yield 1 minute to the gentleman.
  Ms. FOXX. I am happy to yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Colorado.
  Mr. DREIER. Would the gentleman yield?
  Mr. PERLMUTTER. I yield to my friend.
  Mr. DREIER. I thank my friend for yielding.

[[Page H14989]]

  Madam Speaker, let me just say very quickly that, under John F. 
Kennedy, it's true. We saw a 70 percent marginal rate dramatically 
reduced. We are not asking for a halving of marginal rates. The $300 
billion in tax cuts have not been focused on job creators, which is 
exactly what President Kennedy did then.
  I also want to say, Madam Speaker, that I recognize very well that, 
if you look at the provisions that have been put into place within the 
past year, we've not been focused on that private sector job creation 
that President Kennedy and President Reagan perceived.
  I thank my friend for yielding.
  Mr. PERLMUTTER. Reclaiming my time, I appreciate that, but I would 
disagree with my friend by saying, first of all, we provided tax 
credits for first-time home buyers to stimulate home construction and 
home sales. We provided tax credits, net operating loss, carrybacks, 
and carryforwards for businesses. We provided tax credits on 
depreciation. There are many, many business tax credits that have gone 
to stimulate the economy and to create jobs. So I would disagree.
  Mr. DREIER. Will the gentleman further yield?
  Mr. PERLMUTTER. Just for a second.
  Mr. DREIER. Madam Speaker, let me just say that, again, the example 
that I used, the bipartisan example of the Kennedy/Reagan tax cuts, 
were marginal rate reductions for individuals, which encouraged job 
creation and a reduction of the capital gains rate, and we've chosen to 
increase taxes.
  Mr. PERLMUTTER. I take back my time.
  Madam Speaker, the business types of tax cuts as well as individual 
tax cuts are part of the package that is helping this country recover, 
but we aren't there yet. We haven't finished yet. We helped Wall Street 
with TARP money. That same money should be able to be available to Main 
Street. That's the purpose of today's bill. That's why this rule is 
important.
  I would urge an ``aye'' vote on this rule as well as an ``aye'' vote 
on the underlying bill.
  Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
California.
  Mr. DREIER. Madam Speaker, I would be happy to engage in a colloquy 
further with my friend from Colorado to simply say that I believe very, 
very strongly, Madam Speaker, that it is important for us to recognize 
what needs to be done to encourage job creation and economic growth. 
What we have seen in the past year, unfortunately, has been a dramatic 
expansion of the size and scope and reach of government, which, 
frankly, I think, would concern both John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
  The fact is the notion of this regulatory burden and tax cuts that 
are not modeled after the pro-growth model of President Kennedy and 
President Reagan are not going to create the kind of opportunity that 
we need. Why? Because we constantly hear this class warfare argument of 
``tax the rich.''
  This week's Economist has a very interesting piece, Madam Speaker, in 
which it focuses on the bonus tax that Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 
Great Britain is putting into place. The piece in The Economist is 
entitled, ``Class Warrior.'' It focuses on the fact, again, that Prime 
Minister Brown is trying to, with his policy, get the economy going 
when the British economy is, in fact, among those in Europe, doing the 
worst of the economies. We are in a position right now where he is 
engaging in class warfare, and The Economist has this great line, which 
reads, ``Market reforms are not what class warriors do.''
  As we continue to attack job creators, as we continue to attack those 
at the upper end of the spectrum who are, in fact, struggling right now 
to get our economy back on track to create the private sector jobs, 
we've got policies here that are undermining that.
  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. DREIER. Of course, I am happy to yield.
  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. I am happy to yield back again to my wonderful 
colleague from Colorado.
  Mr. DREIER. I have got time. I will yield to him.
  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. We will yield to everybody.
  I want to answer one thing. The two of you have been entered into a 
colloquy, a very interesting one, going back to Kennedy.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman from California 
has expired.
  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. I am happy to engage in a colloquy with both of 
my colleagues here, but let me just make one point to my much more 
senior and well-informed Members.
  Mr. DREIER. If the gentlewoman would yield, that means older.
  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. No, I don't think, actually, they are all 
older.
  Anyway, I just want to say that, while this has been a very 
interesting history lesson and while I greatly appreciate my colleague 
from Colorado and his understanding of the financial services industry 
and of this world that we've been working so hard on to both regulate 
and to deal with, much of my colleague from California's remarks have 
been referring to President Kennedy and to President Reagan, which were 
very different eras.
  I just want to remind my colleagues on the floor that we are here at 
the end of the Bush administration. When President Obama came to 
office, yes, the Democrats had been here for 2 years before and there 
were things that we were unable to fix when we were simply in the 
majority. The fact is that President Obama and this particular 
Congress--and I came here as a freshman--inherited the worst recession 
since the Great Depression, two wars that weren't paid for, a broken 
health care system, and a 1950s energy policy. That is what we have had 
to deal with. As my colleagues know, this has not been an easy year. We 
are here over and over again, attempting to deal with this.
  I yield 1 minute to my colleague from Colorado (Mr. Perlmutter).
  Mr. PERLMUTTER. I appreciate my friend from Maine yielding.
  I would just say to my colleague from Maine, as well as to my 
colleague from California, that I think that Ms. Pingree has a very 
substantial point. My friend from California complained about the 
regulatory burden.
  One of the reasons that this country is facing the recession that we 
are facing is as a result of the Wild West approach on Wall Street 
where there was no regulatory burden, or if there was, it was ignored 
by the regulators under the Bush administration. As a consequence, the 
private sector was brought to its knees last fall and is just now 
getting on its feet as a result of the rejuvenation--the Recovery Act--
which was passed by this Congress and by President Obama. It is those 
kinds of things that have required intervention by the Federal 
Government to get this country back on its feet. We are not there yet, 
but we are heading in the right direction.
  Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I find it very interesting that my colleague 
from Maine says we find ourselves here at the end of the Bush 
administration. We have been in the Obama administration for a year, 
yet our colleagues across the aisle cannot stop hearkening back to 
President Bush and blaming him for everything that has happened in this 
country in the last year when President Bush hasn't been in office and 
while the Republicans have not been in control. The Democrats are in 
control. They have been in control of the Congress for 3 years.
  They actually inherited from President Bush and from the Republican-
controlled Congress a very excellent economy--55 straight months of job 
growth. In the first month that the Democrats took over the Congress, 
the economy started going downhill, and we can document that very, very 
easily. It isn't the Bush administration that deserves the blame for 
the ills of the economy; it's the Democrat-controlled Congress, which 
began in January of 2007, which is when the economy started going sour.
  I want to go back to the issue at hand, which is: Why do we have 
closed rules? Why do we have a same-day martial law rule? Why isn't 
there time for us to debate the important issues that the American 
people want us to be debating?
  Why is it, as my colleague from California has pointed out, that our 
most important function, that being the defense of this Nation and the 
appropriations for that part of the country--

[[Page H14990]]

which can be done by no other group of people in this country as the 
States can't do it and the locals can't do it--is left to be done on a 
day when everybody is trying to get out for Christmas, and we are doing 
it in a rush?
  The Members aren't allowed to read the bill. The 72-hour rule has 
gone out the window. Nobody is allowed to read the bill because there 
is not enough time to do it. We have been operating, as my colleague 
said, under closed rules with bills with no amendments while we are 
doing things like recognizing the Grand Concourse on its 100th 
anniversary as the preeminent thoroughfare in the borough of the Bronx 
and as an important nexus of commerce and culture for the City of New 
York.
  That is how our colleagues want to spend their time, which is by 
dealing with issues that are not a part of our critical job here in the 
House of Representatives, by dealing with things that could have been 
done on a voice vote; but we have to have no amendments allowed and no 
debate time because there isn't time to do these things, according to 
the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and this is what we are 
doing.
  Madam Speaker, I had an opportunity this week to, once more, visit 
Arlington National Cemetery. It is always a sobering thing to do. I 
went particularly to the active duty section this time where men and 
women who are currently serving our country have lost their lives. It 
gets one's attention. There were parents and relatives there, grieving, 
who had recently lost loved ones. I visited the eternal flame of John 
Kennedy. I don't have to be reminded of his comments in his inaugural 
speech, ``Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do 
for your country.''

                              {time}  1000

  We are in a totally different time, as my colleague has said. We are 
in a time where we have people representing this country who want 
wealth redistribution. They want to take money from some people and 
give it to others.
  In fact, that seems to be their entire focus, spread the wealth 
around, take up time on frivolous issues. Don't deal with what's 
important, don't deal with national security, because we really don't 
want to talk about that. That's not what's important. But that is what 
is important to us.
  I watched the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknowns, and I was 
given some insight into the preparation that they have for that job and 
how difficult it is to get it.
  Would that Members of Congress had a tiny little percentage of the 
dedication that these soldiers have for doing their jobs. They do 
everything with perfection. Perfection is not just the goal; it is the 
standard that those people live up to. We are falling far short of the 
standard that our military people uphold for our country.
  We are so fortunate that we have men and women willing to serve and 
have been willing to serve since the founding of this country. This 
Congress is falling short of the goals that they set.
  I support our military. I support the funding for our military and 
our troops, the equipment, the medical care and all that we are going 
to appropriate, but I don't support this martial law way of operating. 
I don't support the arrogance of this administration and this Congress 
to bring things up at the last minute and to disregard the needs of 
those people.
  To put on the bills things that are irrelevant, things they don't 
think they can pass any other way, what a travesty, what a shame. What 
a shame on this Congress that we are doing this bill at the last minute 
and that we are putting these things on here.
  We should be voting on appropriations for our military and honoring 
them here just before the holidays.
  Madam Speaker, I will ask my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this same-
day rule and ``no'' on the next rule so that we could stop and debate 
this and not be up against a deadline for a group of our Members to go 
to Copenhagen, adding to the carbon problem while they are going over 
there to talk about it.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. Thank you to my colleague from North Carolina 
for her thoughts. While we don't always agree, I appreciate her 
reminding us about the soldiers who have fallen, about their families, 
about her visit to Arlington Cemetery.
  I want to concur. I had the privilege of visiting the cemetery myself 
this week. Not only did I also grieve for those families who were there 
visiting the gravestones of their loved ones and their family members, 
and many who were just there to think about the people who they didn't 
even know who served for us.
  I was also tremendously proud to see the thousands of wreaths that 
decorated those graves that had been brought down from my home State, 
the State of Maine, in honor of our fallen soldiers. There were 16,000 
that were brought to Arlington Cemetery, and there were many people who 
traveled with them to make sure that we show the proper respect for our 
military, for our soldiers, and for those who served their country in 
the past and virtually every day.
  I want to just say that we are here today in part to talk about 
making sure that there is adequate funding for our military. Yes, we 
all wish that our colleagues in the Senate had acted faster on this 
bill, that we weren't dealing with continuing resolutions, but this is 
the particular situation that we are in. It is very important that we 
finish our work before the end of the year, before the end of the 
holidays, that we recognize our soldiers, our current military, and 
many of the other needs in this bill, many of which will be discussed 
as soon as we finish the debate on this same-day rule.
  Madam Speaker, in closing, I just want to say that the rule before us 
this morning simply allows the consideration of these measures to move 
forward.
  We have heard a lot about the process this morning. I want to simply 
state for the record in the 109th Congress, before I was a Member of 
this body, the Republican majority reported out over 20 rules that 
allowed for same-day consideration.
  Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote for this rule and for the 
underlying measures before us today. These programs are too important. 
Our constituents are in too much turmoil to slow this process down any 
further.
  I urge a ``yes'' vote on the previous question and on the rule.
  The material previously referred to by Ms. Foxx is as follows:

     Amendment to H. Res. 973 Offered by Ms. Foxx of North Carolina

       At the end of the resolution, insert the following new 
     section:
       Sec. 2. On the third legislative day after the adoption of 
     this resolution, immediately after the third daily order of 
     business under clause 1 of rule XIV and without intervention 
     of any point of order, the House shall proceed to the 
     consideration of the resolution (H. Res. 554) amending the 
     Rules of the House of Representatives to require that 
     legislation and conference reports be available on the 
     Internet for 72 hours before consideration by the House, and 
     for other purposes. The resolution shall be considered as 
     read. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on 
     the resolution and any amendment thereto to final adoption 
     without intervening motion or demand for division of the 
     question except: (1) one hour of debate equally divided and 
     controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the 
     Committee on Rules; (2) an amendment, if offered by the 
     Minority Leader or his designee and if printed in that 
     portion of the Congressional Record designated for that 
     purpose in clause 8 of rule XVIII at least one legislative 
     day prior to its consideration; which shall be in order 
     without intervention of any point of order or demand for 
     division of the question, shall be considered as read and 
     shall be separately debatable for twenty minutes equally 
     divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent; and 
     (3) one motion to recommit which shall not contain 
     instructions. Clause 1(c) of rule XIX shall not apply to the 
     consideration of House Resolution 554.
                                  ____

       (The information contained herein was provided by 
     Democratic Minority on multiple occasions throughout the 
     109th Congress.)

        The Vote on the Previous Question: What It Really Means

       This vote, the vote on whether to order the previous 
     question on a special rule, is not merely a procedural vote. 
     A vote against ordering the previous question is a vote 
     against the Democratic majority agenda and a vote to allow 
     the opposition, at least for the moment, to offer an 
     alternative plan. It is a vote about what the House should be 
     debating.
       Mr. Clarence Cannon's Precedents of the House of 
     Representatives, (VI, 308-311) describes the vote on the 
     previous question on the rule as ``a motion to direct or 
     control the consideration of the subject before the House 
     being made by the Member in charge.'' To

[[Page H14991]]

     defeat the previous question is to give the opposition a 
     chance to decide the subject before the House. Cannon cites 
     the Speaker's ruling of January 13, 1920, to the effect that 
     ``the refusal of the House to sustain the demand for the 
     previous question passes the control of the resolution to the 
     opposition'' in order to offer an amendment. On March 15, 
     1909, a member of the majority party offered a rule 
     resolution. The House defeated the previous question and a 
     member of the opposition rose to a parliamentary inquiry, 
     asking who was entitled to recognition. Speaker Joseph G. 
     Cannon (R-Illinois) said: ``The previous question having been 
     refused, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Fitzgerald, who had 
     asked the gentleman to yield to him for an amendment, is 
     entitled to the first recognition.''
       Because the vote today may look bad for the Democratic 
     majority they will say ``the vote on the previous question is 
     simply a vote on whether to proceed to an immediate vote on 
     adopting the resolution . . . [and] has no substantive 
     legislative or policy implications whatsoever.'' But that is 
     not what they have always said. Listen to the definition of 
     the previous question used in the Floor Procedures Manual 
     published by the Rules Committee in the 109th Congress, (page 
     56). Here's how the Rules Committee described the rule using 
     information form Congressional Quarterly's ``American 
     Congressional Dictionary'': ``If the previous question is 
     defeated, control of debate shifts to the leading opposition 
     member (usually the minority Floor Manager) who then manages 
     an hour of debate and may offer a germane amendment to the 
     pending business.''
       Deschler's Procedure in the U.S. House of Representatives, 
     the subchapter titled ``Amending Special Rules'' states: ``a 
     refusal to order the previous question on such a rule [a 
     special rule reported from the Committee on Rules] opens the 
     resolution to amendment and further debate.'' (Chapter 21, 
     section 21.2) Section 21.3 continues: Upon rejection of the 
     motion for the previous question on a resolution reported 
     from the Committee on Rules, control shifts to the Member 
     leading the opposition to the previous question, who may 
     offer a proper amendment or motion and who controls the time 
     for debate thereon.''
       Clearly, the vote on the previous question on a rule does 
     have substantive policy implications. It is one of the only 
     available tools for those who oppose the Democratic 
     majority's agenda and allows those with alternative views the 
     opportunity to offer an alternative plan.

  Ms. PINGREE of Maine. I yield back the balance of my time, and I move 
the previous question on the resolution.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on ordering the previous 
question.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.

                          ____________________