Providing for Consideration of H. Con. Res. 25, Concurrent Resolution
on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014
Posted on 2013-03-19
BURGESS. I thank the gentleman for yielding and certainly thank
him for leading this rule on the floor this afternoon.
This is an important vote we're going to have today. The rule that will bring various budgets to the floor is a very fair product. As the gentleman knows, as we sat through the hours of debate in the Rules Committee last night, this is not just the product of the Budget Committee that is coming to the floor. It's not just Chairman Ryan's budget that is coming to the floor. But these are budgets that have been proposed by a number of different groups within the Congress--the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, the Democratic substitute, the Senate budget is going to be offered as a substitute, where people can vote, and the Republican Study Committee. At the end of all that time, if none of the budgets receive the majority vote in the House of Representatives, then and only then will the product of the Budget Committee be voted on by the entire House. My expectation is that that is the budget that will pass.
But our argument here today is not over what is contained within the Budget Committee's product anymore than it is what's contained with the Progressive's budget product. After all, what we're voting on today is the rule that will allow us the ability to debate these differences in philosophy on the floor of this House tomorrow, on C-SPAN, transparent for all the country to see; and they'll able to see the big philosophical differences that exist.
We heard in the Rules Committee last night that it's unfair to bring the Senate budget to the floor of the House for a vote because the Senate budget has not been voted on on the floor of the Senate and that obstructionist Republicans in the Senate will keep the Senate from voting; but, actually, that's not true. The Senate, under its own rules, can bring the budget to the floor of the Senate and pass it with a simple majority. That's a 50-plus-1 majority. There's not enough Republicans in the Senate to block that or any other budget.
So the discussion that it's unfair to bring the Senate budget to the floor of the House to vote on before the Senate has a chance to vote, the Senate could have voted on their budget at any time. The Senate could have voted last year for a budget. The Senate could have voted the year before for a budget. They chose not to because they did not want to put it out for the American people to see what their core philosophical belief is, which is that you have to raise taxes by a trillion dollars on the American people in order to pass a budget.
We hear it time and time again that the greatest antipoverty program in this country is a job. The growth that is provided for in the budget that will be debated upon--and I hope pass tomorrow--we can't discount the importance of that growth.
I just came from a hearing in the Energy Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce. We were fortunate to hear from one of the members of the Railroad Commission in Texas. The Railroad Commission doesn't have anything to do with trains anymore. It has all to do with energy. And Commissioner Smitherman from Texas was at the committee hearing, and I asked him a question. I said, In the Ryan budget that we will hear about tomorrow, there is an estimate of $11 billion over the next 10 years that will be paid to the Federal Government because of development of oil and natural gas on Federal lands. I said, I'm from Texas. That number seems a little bit light to me. I would expect the amount of revenue produced on Federal lands from oil and gas production, assuming we don't legislate it out of existence through the Environmental Protection Agency. And he said, In Texas, the 2-year budget figure for oil and gas severance taxes is $7 billion.
Well, that would be a significantly greater amount than the $11 billion estimated in the Ryan budget. I asked Mr. Ryan about this last night at the Rules Committee. This is the amount that is allowed under Congressional Budget Office expectations. But, honestly, if we free up the energy that we have available within our own shores, within our own borders, that is a jobs program that would go a long way towards producing that unemployment rate of 5 percent that the gentlelady from Texas just referenced.
I know this because in the district that I represent in north Texas, gas production from a geologic formation known as the Barnett shale has yielded significant economic benefits and significant employment as a result. In fact, when the Nation entered into a recession in December of 2007, constituents in my district basically read about it in the newspapers because it wasn't until 12, 13, or 14 months later when the price of natural gas came down so low that we actually felt the recession in Texas.
So let's utilize that energy that's at our disposal. Life without energy is cold, brutal, and short. We have the ability to produce energy on our own shores. One of the things where I think we can look to the Ryan budget for leadership is allowing that energy to be produced on Federal lands.