Providing for Consideration of H.R. 444, Require Presidential Leadership and No Deficit Actby Representative James P. McGovern
Posted on 2013-02-05
McGOVERN. I want to thank the gentleman from Georgia, my good
friend, for yielding me the customary 30 minutes, and I yield myself
such time as I may consume.
(Mr. McGOVERN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this restrictive rule and to vote ``no'' on the underlying bill.
The process here is awful. The bill before us was not even considered by the Budget Committee. They didn't hold a single hearing, no markup, and on a party-line vote last night the Rules Committee denied Mr. Van Hollen, the ranking member of the Budget Committee, the opportunity to offer a meaningful substitute. The Rules Committee also, on a party line, voted against an open rule. To all of the Republican freshmen and sophomores who campaigned on the need for openness and transparency, by voting for this rule, you are officially part of the problem.
This bill before us isn't a meaningful attempt to address the budget; it's a gimmick wrapped in talking points inside a press release.
Two weeks ago, this House passed the so-called ``No Budget, No Pay Act,'' then they went on another recess. There wasn't a holiday, mind you. I guess it was the Super Bowl recess. Now they're back with today's bill. It calls on the President to tell Congress when his budget will come into balance. If his budget doesn't say when it will come into balance, then he must submit a supplemental statement telling Congress when it will come into balance.
Why are we doing this? Because the President is late submitting his budget for the next fiscal year. Okay, fine. The President should submit a budget on time, and I support that. But lost in all of this Republican budget Kabuki theater is the truth: the reason the administration is late with their budget is because they just spent months trying to avert the disaster that was the fiscal cliff.
As the Speaker was trying in vain to corral House Republicans into doing the right thing, we had Plan B and Plan C and Plan--who knows what. Finally, we reached a deal on January 1, technically after we went over the cliff. In the meantime, back in the real world, we are less than 24 calendar days away from the disastrous sequester taking effect--less than 24 calendar days from massive, arbitrary, and devastating cuts to defense and nondefense [[Page H356]] discretionary programs, cuts to jobs programs and medical research and education, cuts to military personnel and law enforcement, cuts that will cost jobs and do real harm to the American economy as it struggles to recover.
And the reality is that we don't even have that much time. We only have 9 legislative days left in February to address the issue, 9 days to negotiate a trillion-dollar deal with the Senate and the President. And instead of a meaningful plan to address the crisis that we need to avert, we have this nonsense before us today. This is no way to govern.
The disturbing truth is that many Republicans seem downright giddy when it comes to the sequester cuts. There is news story after news story about how the Republicans are going to allow the sequester to take effect. In the Rules Committee last night, the author of this bill, the gentleman from Georgia, Dr. Price, couldn't support these cuts fast enough. I was shocked.
Mr. Speaker, it was only last week that the economic numbers for the fourth quarter of 2012 were released. Unexpectedly, we saw a contraction in those numbers, a contraction fueled by a massive reduction in defense spending. What do you know: huge cuts in government spending during a fragile economic recovery damage economic growth. The Republican response is to double down on this stupid.
These Republican games of Russian roulette with the American economy must come to an end. It is time to replace short-term partisan political interests with the greater good.
The President today is asking us to consider a thoughtful, balanced plan to stop the sequester. I urge the Republican leadership to bring that plan to the floor of the House for a vote as soon as possible. That's what the American people want and that's what they deserve: a real plan. The bill before us today isn't it, and I urge my colleagues to reject it.