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Steny H.
Democrat MD 5

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  • Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015

    by Representative Steny H. Hoyer

    Posted on 2015-01-13

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    HOYER. Mr. Chair, I thank the gentlelady for yielding. I want to thank the chairman of the subcommittee for the work that he has done on this bill. I want to thank the ranking member of the Committee on Appropriations and Mr. Price for working on this bill.

    This bill is an appropriation bill. This bill funds the Department that is charged with the responsibility of keeping America safe and Americans safe. This bill is an appropriation bill. It is against the rules of the House of Representatives to put legislative language on an appropriation bill.

    Now, frankly, having served there 20, 30 years, I know that that rule is not always followed; and you, therefore, need a waiver from the Rules Committee in order to effect this end. This is not, therefore, regular order.

    We just had another demonstration of the clear and present danger to which every citizen in the free world is subject. We saw it in France, and 17 people lost their lives.

    {time} 1815 We, of course, lost over 3,000 lives on 9/11. This is an issue on which there ought to be no difference among the 435 of us who have the privilege and honor of serving in this country and in this Congress.

    Mr. Hensarling raised his right hand to preserve and protect, yes, the Constitution and laws thereof, but also to preserve and protect the general welfare of all of our people. That is what this bill seeks to do.

    Mr. Chairman, there are many compelling reasons why the House must pass a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security without delay. I have spoken to some of them. We saw one of those reasons all too clearly last week, as I have said. Our Homeland Security agencies are hard at work every day to prevent incidents like those from occurring here in the United States, and how extraordinarily successful they have been since 9/11.

    Again, Chairman Carter and Ranking Member Lowey, I want to congratulate you for coming together and agreeing on a bill, agreeing on funding levels, and agreeing on the objects of expenditures to keep Americans and America safe. But with only a continuing resolution to fund it, as has happened in December, the Department does not have the full flexibility necessary to respond to every threat to the best of its ability. This leaves us vulnerable at a time when we cannot afford to be vulnerable. That is why it is so unfortunate that House Republicans have chosen to play political games.

    If this is, in fact, unconstitutional, the courts are set forth, in article III, to resolve this issue. If you feel so strongly that you are right, that is where relief should be sought. But let us not hold America's national security and the safety of our people hostage to that political difference. In doing so, you have managed to snatch partisanship from the jaws of consensus. We have agreement. The underlying bill before us will have the support of over 400 Members.

    The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Conaway). The time of the gentleman has expired.

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