Providing for Consideration of H.R. 325, No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013by Representative Rob Woodall
Posted on 2013-01-23
WOODALL. I thank my chairman for yielding.
I used to come to this podium, Mr. Speaker, and say I'm just a House freshman, but this is what I think about things. I'm now a House sophomore. It's been 2 years and 1 month since I arrived here; and if you told me 2 years ago when I arrived that we were going to be bringing five-page pieces of legislation to this floor for up-or-down votes by this body, I wouldn't have believed it because I've watched the way this House has operated for over a decade.
I see these bills--and Mr. Speaker, you've seen them too--these bills that folks have to carry down here on a dolly, those bills that they drop them down here on the rostrum with just a thump. Folks can't read those bills; folks can't analyze those bills; folks can't digest those bills. But this one that we have today deals with an incredibly complicated topic, the debt ceiling, an incredibly controversial topic--how it is that the House and the Senate get their business done--and yet we bring it in five pages that every Member of this body has had a chance to read and digest, every Member of this body.
We had a hearing on it in the Rules Committee yesterday. And here on the floor today we're going to debate this bill not just with one committee of jurisdiction, with the Ways and Means Committee getting time, but with two committees of jurisdiction, the Ways and Means Committee getting time and the House Administration Committee getting time.
You know, it's unusual, Mr. Speaker, that we have a bill that the Speaker of the House has decided to bring forward, that the majority leader of the Senate has praised the Speaker for bringing forward, and that the White House has said it doesn't have any objection to. That's unusual. Candidly, it makes me a little suspicious. That's the way it's been around here. I think my colleagues on the Rules Committee would agree. So often we get so used to the controversy that if we can't fight about something, we start to wonder what's wrong, what's wrong that we can't fight about something. I'll tell you, Mr. Speaker, we're going to have that opportunity to fight. We don't have that roadmap yet. Of course, the House has laid out its budget roadmap year after year after year after year. Certainly, the 2 years I've been here, the House has done its job--much to the credit of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle--and passed a budget. This year, rumor has it the Senate is going to do the same thing.
This bill certainly puts an incentive in place for both the House and the Senate to get their job done, but how is it that we're going to tackle those tough decisions that my friend from New York, the ranking member of the Rules Committee, talked about, those really difficult financial decisions, talking about those obligations we have in the future that we have absolutely no plan or means to pay for. How are we going to grapple with those decisions? Well, I'll tell you, I wish we had gotten a big deal in the debt ceiling debate of August of 2011. We got a step in the right direction, but we didn't get it all done. I wish we had gotten it in the Joint Select Committee. We didn't get it done. I wish we had gotten it in the fiscal cliff debate of last year. We didn't get it done.
But I believe--maybe it's just a hope, Mr. Speaker--but I believe that if the Senate has the courage to lay out its path for America--its path for America's budget and dealing with America's obligations--and if the House has the courage to lay out its vision for America, its vision of dealing with America's obligations, that we're going to find that opportunity to come together to make those decisions that have to happen.
Now, I hope I'm not speaking out of school, Mr. Speaker, but I had a chance for some constituents in town--some of my business leaders, some of the great entrepreneurs from my district, they're in town. I took them by to meet with Speaker John Boehner. I'll tell you, I come from one of the most conservative districts in the United States of America; Speaker John Boehner is not always the most popular name in my district. But I brought them by to meet him because I wanted them to hear from him directly and he said this to them, he said: We have real opportunities in divided government, real opportunities to come together and do the big things that matter; that only in divided government can you bring together the best ideas from both sides and put everybody's fingerprint and stamp of approval on them and do [[Page H232]] those things that really make a difference for America. And my goal is to do those things while I'm leading this, the people's House.
I take him at his word, Mr. Speaker. And if giving this 90-day extension so that budgets can be passed gives him that opportunity, I'll do it.
A colleague of mine yesterday said, ``That stuck with me.'' He said, ``I've had people I respect a whole lot less ask me for a whole lot more.'' I have great respect for our Budget Committee chairman, Paul Ryan. I have great respect for our Rules Committee chairman, Pete Sessions. I have great respect for the Speaker of the House. If they tell me another 90 days is going to give us that opportunity to do those big things I think we on both sides of the aisle want to do, I'm there.
I support this resolution, Mr. Speaker, and I hope folks will support the underlying bill.