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Ron D.
Republican FL 6

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  • Let’s Talk

    by Representative Ron DeSantis

    Posted on 2013-10-04

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    Congressional Record, Volume 159 Issue 136 (Friday, October 4, 2013)

    [Congressional Record Volume 159, Number 136 (Friday, October 4, 2013)]
    [Pages H6274-H6281]
    From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                                   LET'S TALK
      The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
    January 3, 2013, the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler) is 
    recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
                                 General Leave
      Mrs. HARTZLER. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
    Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their 
    remarks and include extraneous material on the subject of my Special 
      The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
    gentlewoman from Missouri?
      There was no objection.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. Madam Speaker, today is a historic day. It is the 
    fourth day of the Democrats' government shutdown. There is a profound 
    difference of opinion on not just ObamaCare but on the size and role of 
    government in our lives. The future course of our country and what we 
    look like hangs in the balance. Will we continue down the path of a 
    bigger government that takes more of our hard-
    [[Page H6275]]
    earned money, inflicts a substandard health care system on us, and 
    tramples our rights? Or will we be a Nation of the people, by the 
    people, and for the people that protects our rights, ensures our 
    liberties, and allows us to keep our hard-earned money? These are big 
    decisions. And America is watching how we, as leaders, solve these 
    problems and come to a resolution.
      As Republicans, we have been here and have put forth proposal after 
    proposal to fund the government and keep it open and protect the 
    American people from this onerous health care law. We have sent over to 
    the Senate numerous proposals to keep the government open while 
    ensuring no one gets special treatment under ObamaCare. Unfortunately, 
    Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats rebuffed every attempt to negotiate 
    and slammed the door to talking.
      They went home last weekend. We stayed here and worked. They tabled 
    each of our proposals. We appointed conferees. Harry Reid refused to 
    appoint conferees. He has slammed the door to reopening government by 
    refusing to talk.
      President Obama called Speaker Boehner to the White House yesterday. 
    We were encouraged. Sadly, the message was, I've called you here to 
    tell you I'm not going to talk. I'm not going to talk. I'm not going to 
    talk. Good-bye.
      You can't negotiate if you won't talk.
      My mother is a pretty special lady and a pretty wise woman. When I 
    was a little girl, she knew how to get my sister and I talking again 
    when we were mad after a fight. She'd make us sit in a room together 
    for half an hour. We hated it. It was uncomfortable at first. We didn't 
    want to make eye contact or communicate. But by the end of 30 minutes, 
    we were always talking again, and we were ready to set aside our 
    differences and move forward. That's what needs to happen here.
      I have got a poster here, Let's talk. That's what we need to do. But 
    instead, the President has resorted to tactics and over-the-top 
    political stunts that are not only harmful to moving the discussion 
    forward but are harmful to American citizens. He furloughed defense 
    civilians and Reserve personnel. This is in spite of the legislation we 
    passed and he signed to prevent that.
      The Pay Our Military Act appropriates funds to our military and 
    allows all defense workers to remain on the job, but the President has 
    decided to furlough workers anyway. As a result, over 150,000 Army 
    civilians and 75,000 Navy civilians were sent home. Reports are coming 
    in that long overdue maintenance at shipyards is being delayed and not 
    completed. Our national defense is jeopardized because our Commander in 
    Chief has sidelined our military.
      But that's not all. The President has chosen to try to inflict as 
    much public pain as possible to get his way. For the first time in 
    history, he has closed the U.S. memorials in Washington, D.C., and 
    around the world. Despite many of these memorials being open air venues 
    with 24/7 access 365 days out of the year, he has spent precious tax 
    dollars renting barricades to close them.
      Earlier this week, President Obama ordered the National Park Service 
    to close the World War II Memorial despite the fact that numerous World 
    War II veterans had been planning for months to travel to D.C. to visit 
    the iconic memorial as part of the Honor Flight program.
      Here's a picture of what they were greeted with: instead of being 
    greeted like heroes, these veterans came to D.C. to see metal barriers 
    surrounding the monument in the middle of the Mall erected to honor 
    their service and their sacrifice. There was no need to ever close the 
    World War II Memorial other than to make a political point, as keeping 
    these monuments open would not cost a thing and were funded primarily 
    through private donations by those wishing to honor these veterans.
      When I went down Wednesday morning to help remove the barriers for 
    veterans from Missouri so they could see their memorial, I was ashamed 
    of the President's action and continuous lack of respect for the men 
    and women who fought and died for our country. The unprecedented action 
    of closing monuments has never been authorized during any previous 
    government shutdown by any other President, including President 
    Clinton, and underscores this President's desire to purposely do 
    everything in his power to make Americans suffer from his political 
      The President has since seen the public outcry and opened the World 
    War II Memorial but only to veterans. Unfortunately, it remains 
    barricaded to the general public and all other war memorials. President 
    Obama has also barricaded other venues in D.C., such as the FDR 
    Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the new Martin Luther King, Jr., 
    Memorial. Here they are in this poster doing that.
      He, himself, dedicated this memorial in 2011. And during his 
    dedication speech, he referenced many important milestones in the life 
    of Dr. King and made reference to the fact that this monument was meant 
    for all who seek freedom and testament to the numerous--and here are 
    the President's words--``the numerous barricades that have fallen since 
    Dr. King started his fateful journey to push for social justice.''
      However, the President has chosen to needlessly punish Americans who 
    travel to D.C. to pay homage to the monument and has literally erected 
    barriers to keep out those visitors.
      In that same 2011 speech, the President points out that if Dr. King 
    were alive today, ``He would want us to know that we can argue fiercely 
    about the proper size and role of government without questioning each 
    other's love for this country--with the knowledge that in this 
    democracy, government is no distant object but is rather an expression 
    of our common commitments to one another. He would call on us to assume 
    the best in each other, rather than the worst, and challenge one 
    another in ways that ultimately heal, rather than wound.''
      I sincerely wish the President would heed Dr. King's wise words and 
    sit down with us so we can work out our differences instead of 
    needlessly punishing Americans for his inability to find common ground 
    and civilly pass legislation.
      Let's talk.
      Now I want to give my colleagues an opportunity to share their 
    thoughts about this important time in history. So I yield to my good 
    friend from Tennessee, Diane Black.
      Mrs. BLACK. I thank the gentlelady for yielding.
      Madam Speaker, ObamaCare is having disastrous effects on Americans 
    across this country. And in my home State of Tennessee, premiums are 
    rising by as much as 190 percent. And now schools are being forced to 
    reduce hours for substitute teachers.
      Every day, constituents contact my office with stories about how this 
    devastating law is hurting them. Louis in Hendersonville told me that 
    his premiums are going up, and I quote:
           We do not know how to address this huge additional burden. 
         Please help.
      Tracy in Smithville wrote to me and said:
           I will have to close my business due to ObamaCare. I'm a 
         veteran, and I have spent 21 years building this business. 
         It's a shame that it has come to this. Everything that I have 
         worked for will be gone because of this bill.
      Jeffrey in Goodlettsville is a small business owner who wrote to me:
           Please continue fighting back against this law.
      My constituents and Americans across the country never supported this 
    law that is being rammed down their throats by the President and Senate 
    Democrats. My House Republican colleagues and I have repeatedly worked 
    to try to protect them from the law's disastrous effects. But instead 
    of listening to the American people, the Senate Democrats have shut 
    down the government to protect their own ObamaCare carve-out. Madam 
    Speaker, this is shameful. And it's past time that Harry Reid negotiate 
    with this House to address the concerns of the American people over 
    this disastrous law.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you, Diane, for those great words.
      Now I yield to the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Ron DeSantis, who 
    knows a little bit about serving his country in multiple ways, 
    including being a part of the Navy.
      Mr. DeSANTIS. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.
      I just want to address some things that I have been hearing out there 
    that just strike me as wrong. The President
    [[Page H6276]]
    said that ObamaCare has nothing to do with the budget. Now that is very 
    rich, considering it was passed using budget reconciliation in order to 
    ram it through the Senate with less than 60 votes. So it was a budget 
    issue then. Somehow it's not now. Of course the individual mandate has 
    been ruled a tax by the Supreme Court, and it authorizes trillions of 
    dollars in new spending.
      Now some say ObamaCare is the law and, therefore, cannot be changed. 
    Well, this body has the constitutional authority to legislate. We can 
    always amend or change the laws. But I would also say, if this 
    particular law is somehow so special and sacrosanct, then why isn't the 
    President enforcing it, as written? Indeed, he has given waivers and 
    exemptions to politically connected entities, including a bailout for 
    Members of Congress, giving them relief from the text of the very law 
    that they passed without reading.
      I think ObamaCare is dangerous in terms of how it's going to impact 
    economic growth and medical care in the country. But just in terms of 
    good government, this really is a recipe for institutionalized 
    cronyism. You have burdens imposed on society. And then those who have 
    political connections can get those burdens removed.
      So employers can get it removed. We know there will be something for 
    labor unions at some point. But if you are an individual, well, you've 
    still got to abide by ObamaCare's dictates.
      Some say doing individual bills is simply cherry-picking, we can't 
    pass individual spending bills, which the House has been doing very 
    resolutely over the last several days.
      Big omnibus CRs, that is not the way business is supposed to be done. 
    You are packing all the departments into one big bill. You are 
    forfeiting Congress' ability to make good spending choices, forfeiting 
    Congress' oversight authority, locking in bad policy. We haven't done 
    appropriations bills in this House for years. A lot of this stuff 
    that's locked into these CRs was done when we had the previous Speaker 
    of the House. So individual bills are better. The Senate should 
    absolutely act on our bills.
      And then just finally, I would say, before I yield back to the 
    gentlewoman from Missouri, ObamaCare is the only major piece of 
    legislation that's passed in the last 80 years that had zero support 
    from the other party. Social Security had 80 percent of the Republicans 
    in the House; the Civil Rights Act had 80 percent of the Republicans in 
    the House; Reaganomics, the Reagan economic program, had 78 percent of 
    Democrats in the Senate. So typically, these big laws have broad 
    bipartisan support. This one didn't. And we have a lot of constituents 
    who didn't want it to begin with and don't like living under it now.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. I thank the gentleman. I think that is very true. It 
    shows that we are here fighting for a bunch of people in this country 
    whom it's hurting. And that's why we need to repeal it or amend it or 
    do something to stop this onerous law that's hurting people. So thanks 
    for bringing that up.
      Now I yield to my good friend from Colorado, Doug Lamborn.
      Mr. LAMBORN. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.
      I want to talk about negotiations. The President, unfortunately, has 
    said he's not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling. And Harry Reid 
    has said, he's not going to send negotiators to sit down with 
    Republicans and talk about the continuing resolution and the government 
      But that begs the question: Who does the President negotiate with? 
    Well, take a look here. Bashar al-Assad, the dictator of the regime in 
    Syria, who has used poison gas on his people about 15 times; 100,000 
    people have died in that civil war. And after the latest explosion of 
    poison gas, the civilized world was outraged that 1,500 people were 
    killed. And John Kerry now has entered into negotiations, with the 
    Russians acting as intermediaries.
                                  {time}  1845
      So the Russians are going to help negotiate with the Syrians. This 
    has the blessing of the President. I wish them success on this venture. 
    I hope the negotiations come to something, but they are willing to 
    negotiate with these reprehensible dictators from around the world, and 
    that includes Iran. Iran now has entered into discussions with the 
    State Department and the President. The President has talked to the 
    President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, and I wish success upon these 
    negotiations. They are trying their best.
      But when you think about these characters around the world, and in 
    some cases evil regimes that the President is negotiating with, who is 
    he not negotiating with? The Republicans in the House.
      John Boehner is the Speaker of the House, and the Republicans in the 
    conference represent over half the people in America. Over half of 
    Americans are represented by Republicans here in Congress, over half 
    the country; and yet the President won't even negotiate. Harry Reid, 
    the Senate majority leader, won't even send negotiators to talk to 
    House negotiators. I think this is wrong. I think we should have some 
    negotiations. I think we should have some discussions. If these people 
    merit negotiation and discussion, certainly half of the country, the 
    Republicans here in the House who represent half of the country, should 
    enter into negotiations.
      So I call on the President to negotiate with the Speaker and House 
    Republicans on the debt ceiling. I call on Harry Reid to send 
    negotiators to meet with House Republicans to talk about the government 
    slowdown or shutdown or whatever you want to call it.
      We need to negotiate, Mr. President. We need to negotiate, Mr. Reid.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you, Doug. What great points. We have extended 
    our hand to the Senate and to the President this entire time, and yet 
    we have had the door slammed in our face. But you're right, he has 
    negotiated with others. It's time for him to negotiate with us. Thank 
    you for bringing up those excellent points.
      Now I yield to the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, the 
    gentleman from Texas (Mr. Jeb Hensarling).
      Mr. HENSARLING. I thank the gentlelady for yielding. I especially 
    thank her for her leadership on this Special Order, and her leadership 
    on behalf of all of our men and women who serve in uniform, many in her 
    district. And she is well respected within this institution for what 
    she has done for our military.
      Madam Speaker, I know the American people occasionally get somewhat 
    confused by what is going on in Congress. Here's what's easy to 
    understand: House Republicans have put not one offer on the table, not 
    two, not three, but four; four different offers to negotiate with the 
    President and the Democrats. What do we hear from the President? What 
    do we hear from Harry Reid, no negotiations.
      You know, I still recall vividly my mother-in-law who has a saying, 
    the least you can do in life is show up. President Barack Obama and 
    Harry Reid have not shown up. Now I know that the President says at one 
    time in his life he taught congressional law. Some of us find that 
    somewhat ironic because if the President actually knew the 
    Constitution, then he would know that it is the Congress that has the 
    power of the purse. It is Congress that appropriates funds. Nowhere 
    will you find in the Constitution that Congress is relegated to the 
    power of the rubber stamp. So we know that the President and Harry Reid 
    want us to rubber-stamp the health care policies of this administration 
    that we hear about every single day. Every single day I'm hearing from 
    one of my constituents, Congressman Hensarling, they just cut me back 
    to 29 hours because of ObamaCare. Congressman Hensarling, my health 
    care premiums are going up $1,500 because of ObamaCare. And yet we're 
    told by the President, it's the law, don't touch it. Well, it's a law 
    that he has already changed seven times, and it is a law that's hurting 
    our constituents. And, no, Republicans are never, never, never going to 
    give up on our quest to have patient-centered health care that's right 
    for our families and doesn't harm our economy and is not an affront to 
    our freedom. So we'll never give up on that.
      Madam Speaker, we know that the President is not going to sign away 
    his signature item, and we know since so much of this spending is what 
    we call mandatory spending, automatic spending, we know that the 
    President is not going to cooperate to repeal it or defund it, and 
    we'll never give up our
    [[Page H6277]]
    quest. But, Madam Speaker, all we're asking for now is if ObamaCare is 
    going to be imposed on the American people, then it ought to be imposed 
    equally--none of these special interest deals, none of these sweetheart 
    deals. You know what, if it's good enough for the American people, it 
    ought to be good enough for the President.
      Why wasn't he the first one, the very first one signing up for this? 
    Why wasn't there a line at the White House? Well, I can tell you why, 
    Madam Speaker, because, guess what, they exempted themselves. The 
    American people are tired of Washington elites passing laws that the 
    rest of us are supposed to live under. That's not what the American 
    people expect, and so Republicans are asking one thing: if ObamaCare is 
    going to be imposed on America, no special deals for big business, no 
    special deals for big labor. If they are going to get a 1-year 
    reprieve, then working Americans ought to get a 1-year working 
    reprieve. And if it's good enough for working Americans, it ought to be 
    applied to the President, his Cabinet, and everyone in the White House 
    and the Congress.
      Listen, I don't want to put my family in the exchanges. I don't want 
    to lose the employer contribution that the taxpayers have so generously 
    given us, but we're not going to have the President act like he can 
    make the law. No Member of Congress, no one in the White House is above 
    the law. So that's what we're trying to do. We want negotiations. If 
    we're going to get stuck with ObamaCare while the President is the 
    President, then let it be applied equally; but this is bigger than 
      Millions and millions of our fellow countrymen are either unemployed 
    or underemployed. They need our help. This is a spending bill. The 
    President's economic policies have failed. We want fundamental tax 
    reform. We want to get rid of the red tape burden. We want to take our 
    Nation off the road to bankruptcy. I say this not just as a Member of 
    Congress, but as the father of a 10-year-old son and an 11-year-old 
    daughter. So somehow when the President says you can't mess with this 
    spending bill and we want you to rubber-stamp the debt ceiling, the 
    Republicans say, no, no, no, Mr. President. We will negotiate with you 
    in good faith and maybe the electorate gave you the White House and the 
    Senate, but the American people gave the House to the Republican Party, 
    and we will not sit idly by while men and women are unemployed and 
    underemployed, wondering how they're going to feed their families. 
    We're not going to sit idly by while he bankrupts this Nation for 
    future generations.
      No, no, no, we will not sit idly by. We are ready to negotiate, but 
    we are through negotiating with ourselves, and the American people will 
    demand ultimately that the President and Harry Reid negotiate and we 
    work together to get this economy back and put us on a road to fiscal 
    solvency so that our best days will once again be ahead of us.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you, so much. What wise words about what this 
    fight is about for the future generations of our country and how we are 
    fighting for a better health care system and a government that lives 
    within its means. It's time to do that, and it's time to negotiate for 
    the President and the Senate to come and talk to us. So let's talk.
      I am glad to have a friend of mine, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. 
    Wenstrup). We have the honor of serving together on the Armed Services 
    Committee, and I really respect him and his views not only as a patriot 
    and a member of the Armed Services Committee, but also as a doctor. I 
    yield to the gentleman.
      Mr. WENSTRUP. I thank the gentlelady for yielding.
      This slowdown, shutdown has taken on many particular angles and a lot 
    of accusation and a lot of discussion; but as we get to this point, 
    although ObamaCare isn't driving the shutdown, it isn't merely about 
    the millions who will still be uninsured, and its not merely about the 
    50 percent or more of this country who will be on Medicaid where access 
    to care is extremely limited, and it's not only about rates going up. 
    It is about that health care is going backwards in America, not 
    forward. The government shutdown is not only about the fact that in 
    Ohio we passed a constitutional amendment that made the mandate in 
    Ohio, only to be overturned by the Supreme Court. Sixty-six percent of 
    the people in Ohio did not want this law, and I'm from Ohio and I'm 
    here to continue to fight for that.
      I'm bothered as we go through this and I hear the arguments and I 
    hear people referred to ``terrorism,'' ``jihad'' and ``bombs strapped 
    to their chest.'' Well, as someone who served in Iraq as a combat 
    surgeon during the bloodiest time of the war, 2005-2006, I guarantee 
    you what's taking place here is not that, and it's shameful when people 
    use those types of references. And I bet those who have served in war 
    understand that's not appropriate.
      We are here to negotiate, we're here to discuss, and we're here to 
    represent the American people. Really, I thought when I came here, I'm 
    new, I'm a freshman--I thought that fair treatment for all Americans 
    would be something that's common ground for all of us. I thought that 
    having special subsidies for Members of Congress would be something 
    that we would all disagree with, and that would be another area of 
    common ground.
      Those are the basic premises that are driving this shutdown right 
    now, because we have passed continuing resolutions that would fund the 
    government completely if we would just sit down and agree that these 
    portions of this law are wrong and they go against what we as Americans 
    believe in, that we're to be treated fairly, that there is no special 
    premise for one group over the other. I thought those would be areas of 
    common ground, and I'm surprised that this still goes on.
      We'll continue to fight over things we disagree with within ObamaCare 
    and try to improve our health care system as we go along; but it 
    interests me when people say it's the law, get over it. Well, it's not 
    the law that was passed when you're changing things, and that's the 
      I wonder sometimes if the Presidential election was different. Say, 
    for example, Mitt Romney had won and he went into the Presidency and 
    said, I'm going to exempt this group and I'm going to exempt that 
    group. I'm going to change the law and provide a subsidy for those it's 
    not written into the law for. What would the outcry be? The outcry 
    would come from me because I believe in the rule of law, and I believe 
    in fairness under the law.
      We need to sit down and figure this out. The President is the 
    President, and he has the seat at the head of the table; but he was not 
    the only one elected. We've all been elected to represent the people, 
    and we all have a seat at the table, and that's what needs to take 
      I hear arguments from the other side talking about while we're 
    passing these resolutions, you're picking and choosing now. That's 
    exactly what ObamaCare has done. Throughout that law, there is picking 
    and choosing. So when I hear the other side say we're picking and 
    choosing, I say thank you for making our argument because that's what 
    we're having problems with.
      I pray for a better day. And Lord willing, we'll all sit down at the 
    table and get these things figured out on behalf of the American 
    people. That's what we were sent here to do, and I hope we can get that 
    done, and I urge those who will not come forward to think about it and 
    to come forward and sit and talk with us.
      With that, I appreciate the gentlelady putting this Special Order 
    together for us to have a chance to discuss these issues.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. I thank you very much. You've really spoken to the 
    heart of this whole issue. We want fair treatment for all. The 
    President has given over 2,000 waivers from this law to special 
    interests and to certain groups, given special treatment to Members of 
    Congress and their staff and has said that businesses and large 
    corporations don't have to comply for a year. But yet he has been 
    unwilling to give a 1-year extension to the hardworking families in my 
    district and your district and individuals who work so hard and the 
    ones that we're hearing about, so that's not fair.
      So we hope--I hope--that the President and the Senate will listen to 
    your words tonight and be willing to come forward and to sit down with 
    us and find that common ground, and where we can delay this for a year 
    and move
    [[Page H6278]]
    forward as a country. Thank you for bringing up those great points.
      I am very happy tonight to yield to a friend of mine from Missouri, 
    Representative Jason Smith. He is here and he's doing a fantastic job, 
    and I'm very honored to serve with you. The people of the Eighth 
    District of Missouri know that you're doing a fantastic job on their 
    behalf. I would love to hear your thoughts at this historic time about 
    the matters before us.
                                  {time}  1900
      Mr. SMITH of Missouri. Thank you very much. It's a great honor to be 
    here this evening to talk about the effects that ObamaCare has on the 
    folks in rural Missouri. I also want to thank my colleague and my 
    neighbor just west of me in Missouri, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, for 
    having us and for putting on this Special Order.
      Just over a week ago, I posted a question on my Facebook page asking 
    the folks back home to give me examples and comments of how ObamaCare 
    has affected them. It's amazing. We were inundated with people and just 
    different story after story. I want to share a few of those stories of 
    real families that are facing the struggles of ObamaCare back home.
      We have folks all the time that ask, Is the fight worth it? Is the 
    fight worth defunding and delaying ObamaCare? And I'll let you all 
    decide. But let me give you a few examples.
      Paul from East Prairie, down in Missouri County, in Missouri, wrote 
    on Facebook that he checked to see what his insurance premiums would be 
    next year after ObamaCare completely goes into effect. Paul and his 
    family would be forced to pay $1,035 a month, with a sky-high 
    deductible of $12,700. Paul said he could get coverage from his wife's 
    employer--his wife is a teacher--but with increased costs. The 
    employer's insurance for their family plan would take his wife's entire 
    paycheck because of the new regulations under the Affordable Care Act, 
    which is everything but affordable.
      Madam Speaker, I ask, Is the fight to defund ObamaCare worth it?
      Let me give you another example. Another constituent, Noel, said he 
    has worked for 35 hours every year for the last 12 years. But, guess 
    what, his employer now has changed it to where he only works 28 hours a 
    week. Guess why? Because of the new regulations under ObamaCare.
      Is the fight worth it for Noel?
      Donald from Festus, Missouri, just south of St. Louis, told me that 
    his health care premiums are rising from $480 to $740 per month. He 
    went on to say that because of his increased insurance costs, he will 
    be contributing $3,000 less a year to our Nation's economy.
      Madam Speaker, do you think fighting ObamaCare is worth it?
      These are just a few examples of my constituents. These are real 
    people, President Obama. These are people that are affected and are 
    required to be in this program, which you are not required to be a part 
    of, which the Vice President of the United States is not required to be 
    a part of, which Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are not required to be a 
    part of. This is wrong, folks. This is completely wrong.
      In the last week, this body has voted to defund and to delay 
    ObamaCare because it is worth the fight. Democrats in the United States 
    Senate must now justify to the American people why the individual 
    mandate is too harmful for businesses and unions, but should still be 
    forced on families and individuals. The Senate must justify why special 
    interests are eligible for waivers and delays while average Americans 
    will be hit with an ObamaCare's tsunami of mandates, fines, and 
      Madam Speaker, the fight to defund ObamaCare is a good fight to have, 
    and I will keep fighting until folks in my district are treated the 
    same way as big businesses and special interests.
      Madam Speaker, this fight is about fairness. The fight is about 
    families in my district who are seeing skyrocketing insurance premiums 
    and lost wages and lost jobs.
      Madam Speaker, this is a fight worth fighting for.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you very much for those excellent comments.
      This is about fairness. Fair treatment for all. That's all we're 
    asking. That's something that Americans everywhere can agree on. So as 
    the Senate and as the President hear these words, I hope they will come 
    and let's talk and let's move forward with this.
      Now I'm happy to yield time to my friend from south of Missouri, in 
    Oklahoma, a fantastic representative and leader here, James Lankford.
      Mr. LANKFORD. I thank the gentlelady for hosting this time to be able 
    to talk about some of the serious issues.
      Madam Speaker, I want to bring to our attention tonight something 
    that we're trying to bring up over and over again. It is a simple 
    injustice and an absolute avoidance of the law.
      A week ago, this body, Republicans and Democrats together, agreed 
    unanimously to make sure that the United States military, civilians, 
    and all civilian contractors would be exempt in case there was a 
      The United States military has taken the brunt of the sequestration, 
    and in bases all over the country and all over the world they have 
    suffered. They have stopped training missions, they slowed down the 
    process, as they've rapidly try to adjust to very fast-moving furloughs 
    and sequestration. But they have. They've done what they've been asked 
    to do.
      So we make sure as a body, Republicans and Democrats together, that 
    in case we got to a government shutdown, the United States military, 
    all civilians, and the civilian contributes that serve with them would 
    not be affected.
      We passed it. We sent it to the Senate. The Senate approved it 
    unanimously. The President of the United States signed it. That's a 
    done deal.
      We are dealing with every other aspect of the shutdown or what really 
    is to be better described as a slowdown of the United States 
    Government, which is serious. But we knew at least the United States 
    military would not be affected by this. They were held entirely exempt.
      There were three aspects of this law. You can look it up. It's H.R. 
      Aspect number one: all title X individuals, all active duty military, 
    without exception, would be held exempt from this.
      Number two: all civilians that support them--all of them--if they're 
    connected in any way as a civilian to supporting our military, they 
    were to be held exempt from this and the government shutdown would not 
    apply to them.
      Number three: all civilian contractors.
      It's a 1-page bill with very broad language giving authority to the 
    Secretary of Defense to say whoever you determine in any area supports 
    in any way military, they should not be affected by the government 
    shutdown. It's clear. It's plain language.
      And then it went to the United States Pentagon; and in the Secretary 
    of Defense's office, they have a group of lawyers. And those lawyers 
    say they're studying the law to see who it applies to and who it 
    doesn't apply to.
      For this entire week they have studied the law to see who it applies 
    to and who it doesn't apply to, and our members of the United States 
    military and the civilians that serve with them are on furlough this 
    week--against the law.
      Republicans and Democrats agreed 100 percent in the House and the 
    Senate, and the Pentagon lawyers can't decide how this should work. A 
    first-year law student could read that bill and could tell it applies 
    to all military title X, all civilians that support them in any way, 
    and all contractors. It's not hard language.
      It is time for the Secretary of Defense to turn to the lawyers in his 
    office and say, Release those folks. The law is clear.
      Our own Defense Department is violating the law. The President is 
    allowing it. It's time to get on with this. Why are we holding them 
      Well, the President stands up and says the Republicans are holding 
    America hostage. The Defense Department really is holding their folks 
    hostage, in clear violation of the law.
      Let's fix it. This is not something that's hard for us. It's already 
    been passed. Let's get on with it.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. I thank the gentleman. What a great point. It is 
    unbelievable that the Commander in Chief of this country has sidelined 
    his own men and women in uniform and the civilians that support and 
    defend this country.
      Thank you for bringing that up. I agree with you, we have done 
    everything we can. When this first happened,
    [[Page H6279]]
    we signed a letter and sent it to the President. We said, We did not 
    intend for you to be able to furlough these people. We want everyone 
    back on the job.
      So far, we haven't heard a thing. As Representative Lankford said, 
    they're still studying the issue.
      Well, I call on the Commander in Chief of this country to step 
    forward and be a Commander in Chief and to put that order out to bring 
    them back for the good of our country.
      And now I am pleased to yield to my friend from Minnesota, the 
    wonderful lady, Michele Bachmann.
      Mrs. BACHMANN. I want to thank Representative Hartzler for her 
    wonderful leadership this afternoon. We've heard wonderful comments 
    about why we're here and why this is so important.
      People all across the United States want us in to get our act 
    together in Congress and with the White House and put this country back 
    in the position we've always been in--the greatest economic and 
    military superpower that the world has ever known. But we can't be that 
    superpower, as Representative Lankford of Oklahoma said, if our 
    Commander in Chief is illegally furloughing employees who are civilians 
    actively supporting our defense initiative when we need them at this 
    critical time in world history.
      And I want to bring attention to one particular area and underscore 
    what Representative Lankford said, because this is so extremely 
    important. It was highlighted today by one of our Members, 
    Representative Lee Terry of Nebraska. What he told the Republicans 
    today at the microphone was chilling. A story is written about it today 
    in Breitbart.com by Ben Shapiro.
      In the article it says President Obama is illegally furloughing 
    civilian defense employees at STRATCOM. What is STRATCOM? STRATCOM, 
    Madam Speaker, is where thousands of people work to deal with missile 
    defense in the United States. That would include nuclear missile 
      Madam Speaker, we are being told that upwards of 60 to 70 percent of 
    the civilian employees, which are thousands of individuals, have been 
    illegally furloughed. Their job is to secure the safety of the missile 
    defense system in the United States and the nuclear defense system in 
    this United States.
      The most important title of the President of the United States is to 
    be Commander in Chief because the number one duty of our government is 
    national security.
      There can be politics played in this town. We get that. You never, 
    ever, ever, ever play politics with missile defense and nuclear defense 
    and the safety and national security of the American people.
      Madam Speaker, I call on the President of the United States, before 
    the clock strikes midnight tonight, if nothing else, put these civilian 
    employees back in place at STRATCOM. The American people and the world 
    need to know that our missile defense and nuclear defense system is at 
    100 percent capability.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you.
      I now would like to yield to the gentleman from Oklahoma, Jim 
    Bridenstine. I not only serve on the Armed Services Committee with him, 
    but he has a very good perspective on all these issues.
                                  {time}  1915
      Mr. BRIDENSTINE. I just wanted to take a moment because there's a lot 
    of information out there, Madam Speaker, about what's going on in our 
    country right now--and a lot of misinformation. I thought it would be 
    appropriate just to set the record straight.
      A little over a week ago we sent a bill to the Senate. That bill 
    funded the entire government. It kept the government open and it 
    defunded ObamaCare in its entirety. Senator Harry Reid and the Senate 
    Democrats stripped from that bill the defunding mechanism and they sent 
    it back to the House. So we looked at it and we said, What can we do 
    that they might agree to?
      Well, the President has already unilaterally delayed major provisions 
    of ObamaCare, including the employer mandate. He did that because he 
    saw the jobs report. People were being forced from full-time work to 
    part-time work. Many of them were being forced out of a job. In my 
    district, I talked to an employer that has 57 employees; they're trying 
    to get down to 49. And guess what they did. This is happening across 
    our country. So the President unilaterally decided he's going to delay 
    the employer mandate.
      So we said, okay, if he wants to delay that for 1 year, let's give 
    him an opportunity to delay the entire ObamaCare for 1 year. So we 
    passed a bill that funded the government, kept the government open, and 
    we sent it to the United States Senate with a 1-year delay of 
    ObamaCare. We did that at about 1 o'clock in the morning.
      Interestingly, the next day, the Senate Democrats took the day off, 
    and the day after that they didn't even show up until 2 in the 
    afternoon. This was my first indication--as somebody who's new to 
    Congress, I've seen a lot of crazy things--it was my first indication 
    that maybe they wanted a government shutdown. Astonishingly, they just 
    didn't show up. When they did show up, they tabled it.
      So then we said, okay, well, what if we just delay the individual 
    mandate? He has already given multibillion-dollar corporations a 1-year 
    reprieve. He's given Members of Congress a subsidy. It's not written in 
    the law; in fact, it's illegal. He had a meeting with Harry Reid and 
    Nancy Pelosi, and the next thing you know Members of Congress get a 
      So we said, look, if Members of Congress are going to get a subsidy 
    and multibillion-dollar corporations are going to get a break, why 
    don't we give hardworking Americans a 1-year reprieve? So we passed a 
    bill that funded the government, kept the government open, and delayed 
    the individual mandate for only 1 year. Of course Harry Reid took that 
    bill and he immediately moved to table it.
      So then at about 1 o'clock in the morning we decided, okay, let's 
    just ask for a conference so that we can have some people from our side 
    and some people from their side get together and work this out. 
    Astonishingly, they didn't even want that. If you can imagine that, 
    they didn't want to sit down and talk to Members of Congress.
      Interestingly, the President called on the Speaker of the House, John 
    Boehner, to go to the White House, and he went and he talked to the 
    President. Guess what the President told him? The President said, We're 
    not going to negotiate. He said, We're not going to negotiate on the 
    continuing resolution to fund the government, nor are we going to 
    negotiate on the debt ceiling.
      This is not how it's supposed to work in our constitutional Republic 
    in split government, but that's where we are. This is indicative of the 
    fact that this is Harry Reid's shutdown. This is President Barack 
    Obama's shutdown. This is not the Republican shutdown. We have done 
    everything we could to keep this government open, and Harry Reid and 
    President Barack Obama have shut it down.
      But here's the good thing. Here's what we have done: We passed a 
    bill, and that bill said we're going to fund the troops. We passed it 
    unanimously in the House of Representatives. We passed it unanimously 
    in the Senate. The President signed it into law. That's a good thing.
      Then we had another bill. We thought we could pass it under 
    suspension, so it would require a two-thirds vote. That bill was to 
    fund the veterans of the United States, the Veterans Administration. 
    Interestingly, Members of this body on the other side of the aisle 
    killed it, if you can imagine that. It is every bit as indefensible to 
    kill funding our veterans as it is to not fund our troops, every bit as 
      Then, after that occurred, we wanted a bill that would fund our 
    National Guard and our Reserve. I'm a reservist. I've been on Active 
    Duty. I've been a reservist. I can tell you firsthand that reservists 
    serve this country every bit as honorably as those on the Active Duty 
    side. So we wanted to fund them. And guess what? We brought up a bill. 
    We passed it under a rule so it only required a simple majority, and we 
    passed it. We sent it to the Senate, and they haven't done anything 
    with it.
      This is where we are. Harry Reid and Barack Obama are holding our 
    veterans hostage and they're holding the National Guard and our 
    reservists hostage to ObamaCare. It's that simple.
    [[Page H6280]]
      And, by the way, it's not just to ObamaCare. It's one very simple 
    provision that is only a 1-year delay of the individual mandate. When 
    you think about it, it's really they're holding it hostage to having a 
    meeting. At the end, we just said, Okay, let's have a meeting. They 
    said, No, we're not going to have a meeting, and, oh, by the way, we're 
    shutting down the government.
      That's where we are.
      So I just wanted to clarify that for my constituents back home. We 
    are opening the government one bill at a time, and we're being blocked 
    by the Senate. Certainly it's in nobody's best interest in this country 
    to have a government shutdown. It's nothing any of us wanted. Yet Harry 
    Reid and Barack Obama gave it to us.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you, gentleman.
      I think that was very helpful to review all the steps of what we have 
    done to keep this government open, and how each one of our attempts has 
    been rebuffed and how the door has been slammed in our face time and 
    time again. But we are still here. We are still working. We're not 
    going to give up. We want to talk. We want to negotiate. And we're 
    going to continue to put forth proposals to fund different aspects of 
    government to make sure that people aren't harmed in this whole 
      So thank you for coming today and sharing those thoughts.
      I would like to yield now to my good friend from Kansas (Mr. 
    Huelskamp) just across the way here, a fellow farmer. I look forward to 
    hearing your thoughts on this very important time.
      Mr. HUELSKAMP. I thank my colleague from the East and also my 
    colleague from the South for their comments.
      I'd like to follow up first on Congressman Bridenstine's laying out 
    the record of what has occurred. Here you see a list of the votes the 
    House has taken since the government shutdown began.
      First, as was mentioned, the Senate refused to negotiate, sit down 
    and actually talk. That happened at 1 a.m. on October 1. Senator Harry 
    Reid said, We're not going to talk; we're not going to negotiate.
      Since then, we've gone to work. The U.S. House, House Republicans 
    said we're going to try to take care of the veterans. Let's try to take 
    care of funding our national parks. Let's take care of funding the NIH, 
    cancer research for our children. Let's take care of making certain 
    that folks that serve at FEMA are taken care of--a list of vote after 
    vote after vote for the last 4 days.
      And Congresswoman Hartzler, I appreciate you being here to take the 
    opportunity so that we can show we are at work. We would like to open 
    up the government. The Senate does not.
      But I'd like to point out how busy the Senate has been for the last 4 
    days. This, Madam Speaker, is a list of all the votes the U.S. Senate 
    has taken since the shutdown occurred:
      October 1, the first day of the Harry Reid shutdown, no votes. Day 
    two in the U.S. Senate, no votes. Day three in the United States 
    Senate, not a single recorded vote. Day four--they must be getting 
    tired over there--not a single recorded vote in the U.S. Senate. The 
    entire week.
      Now, don't forget, the weekend before, the U.S. Senate took the 
    weekend off. Harry Reid came back into session on Monday to make 
    certain the U.S. Government would be shut down to the applause of the 
    White House. That was Monday. Tuesday, no vote; Wednesday, no vote; 
    Thursday, no vote; Friday, no vote. They're home on vacation again. 
    We're going to go back to work tomorrow, and we're going to send 
    another bill to the U.S. Senate.
      It's clear to me, Madam Speaker, it's clear to me the Senate does not 
    want to open up the U.S. Government, but we cannot give up.
      One other item I would like to mention--and the Congressman from 
    Oklahoma has made it very clear--that under ObamaCare, every Member of 
    Congress, every Member of the U.S. Senate, everyone in this body, under 
    ObamaCare, is required to sign up for ObamaCare.
      Monday afternoon, as the government was about ready to close, almost 
    the last thing the President did before they locked the doors on the 
    Federal Government is they issued a special rule to allow Members of 
    Congress to ignore ObamaCare, to create our own health care system just 
    for U.S. Senators and Members of Congress and our staff. The last bill 
    we sent over said, Harry, you know what? We're not going to take part 
    in ignoring ObamaCare. That's the very last thing the President did 
    before they shut down the doors.
      One thing I've done personally is say, You know what? I don't accept 
    that. I will not accept the President of the United States saying that 
    Members of Congress and Members of the U.S. Senate--indeed, Kathleen 
    Sebelius and the entire Cabinet--should be exempt from ObamaCare. If 
    it's good enough for all of America, it should be good enough for them.
      I went online, as many of us have done, and started to do my 
    responsibility--I don't know if any Member has done that--and said I'm 
    going to sign up for ObamaCare. At 12:01 a.m., when the government shut 
    down, the Senate's going home, I'm going to sign up for ObamaCare. 
    Madam Speaker, I've been trying to sign up for ObamaCare on Monday, 
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Here we are Friday, 91 hours later, and I 
    still am on virtual hold.
      You've seen the pictures. Go on and look it all up yourself. You 
    can't get online. It's an absolute failure. But I will say I am 
    absolutely required under the law, Mr. President, despite your 
    regulations that were inspired and requested by the former Speaker of 
    this body and the current leader of the Senate, we are not exempted.
      Members of Congress, Members of the U.S. Senate, Members of the 
    Cabinet, the President himself, sign up for ObamaCare. Lead by example 
    and do the right thing. We can open the doors of this government, put 
    Congress back out of the role of a privileged class.
      And again, one thing I'd like to remind this body, the first 
    individual in the entire United States of America that signed up for 
    ObamaCare, the very first individual who was willing to lead by example 
    was a man by the name of Harry Truman.
      Mr. President, if you are listening, if you have any convictions of 
    leadership, if you have any integrity you would like to show us, sign 
    up for the D.C. exchange; be the next person to sign up online. 
    Hopefully it won't take you 91 hours to get through, but lead by 
    example. No gilded class. No special rights and privileges. The 
    Constitution says ``no nobility clause.'' I agree with that.
      I want to thank the Congresswoman from the East, my fellow sophomore, 
    Vicky Hartzler, for her leadership on this issue.
      So let's talk. Let's have some action. And, oh, by the way, I'm 
    confused. Was the Senate on furlough all last week, all this week? Get 
    back to work, Harry. I appreciate you joining the battle to open this 
    Federal Government.
      Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you, gentleman.
      I think that shows that the Senate has been, it seems like, on 
    furlough. It's too bad they didn't have time to vote on the NIH funding 
    bill that we sent over there that would ensure that money goes and 
    continues for very vital research, such as cancer and Alzheimer's and 
    diabetes and heart disease. We sent them that bill to make sure that 
    research continues and it's fully funded, but it's just sitting over 
    there. They haven't voted on it.
      We passed a bill dealing with veterans, to make sure the Veterans 
    Administration, everything remains open. But they haven't voted on it; 
    it's just sitting over there.
      We passed a bill to ensure the memorials stay open, to clarify and 
    make sure the President isn't able to close them down and barricade 
    them like he's doing now. But they're not voting on them.
      This has got to stop. It's time for us to get together and talk.
      I appreciate all of my colleagues who have come here tonight to share 
    their thoughts at this very historic time in our country's history, 
    first of all, to let people know why we are fighting. We're fighting 
    for our families, and we're fighting for quality health care in this 
    country, and we're fighting for fairness. We believe in fair treatment 
    for everyone.
      It's not right that the President says this health care law isn't 
    good enough
    [[Page H6281]]
    for corporations, and I'm going to grant over 2,000 waivers for my 
    special interest groups, but yet you, as an American family, 
    hardworking family, you have to comply. And then I thank the gentleman 
    for bringing up the point that, even as the law went into effect, it's 
    unworkable; people can't even sign up.
      Do you know that the President has had over half of his deadlines he 
    hasn't been able to meet in this law, he's had to extend them? So 
    that's why we're fighting. Let's wait just at least a year and not 
    force every person in this country to comply.
      I'm from Missouri and I know Harry Truman, and he said, ``The buck 
    stops here.'' The buck should stop here with the Commander in Chief 
    when it comes to him allowing the civilians in the military to be 
    furloughed in this country. That has got to stop.
      I appreciate my colleagues who brought up this excellent, excellent 
    point about what has happened and the travesty and the injustice and 
    the danger that this Commander in Chief is putting our country in. It's 
    wrong and it needs to stop.
      He also needs to open up the memorials. We all understand we have 
    differences of opinion here. We all understand we have to talk about 
    policy. But no President ever has closed open-air memorials in this 
    town that are open 24/7, 365 days a year. But this President has chosen 
    to barricade not only the World War II Memorial, but also the Martin 
    Luther King Memorial and all the others here in Washington, D.C.
                                  {time}  1930
      We have learned today that they have even closed Normandy. Around the 
    world they are closing the veterans cemeteries. This has got to stop. 
    We can discuss the policy, but these tactics have got to change.
      We want everyone in America to know tonight that Republicans, we are 
    here willing and ready to keep working and to talk. It is time for the 
    President and Harry Reid to negotiate, to meet with us, and to discuss 
    our differences and come to an agreement that will result in less 
    government--it will keep our government open though--spend less money, 
    and protect the American people from this onerous health care law.
      We can do it. The American people do it every day. We do it in our 
    families. If we have a disagreement, we sit down and talk. My sister 
    and I did it when we were little girls. My mom made us talk. It works.
      So let's sit down, let's talk, let's work this out. Let's get our 
    government back open, let's get all the military reinstated, let's 
    reopen the memorials here around this country, and let's put the 
    American people first. We can do it.
      Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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