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Steny H.
Democrat MD 5

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  • Providing for the Expenses of Certain Committees of the House of Representatives in the 113Th Congress

    by Representative Steny H. Hoyer

    Posted on 2013-03-19

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    HOYER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

    Mr. Speaker, let me say at the outset that I heard the gentlelady from Michigan's comments. I have three grandchildren of my own and two great grandchildren. The gentlelady said we don't want to turn to them and say, We don't want to pay our bills. You pay them.

    That's what we did in '01 and '03. We cut revenues. We cut revenues deeply. We didn't cut spending--we increased spending--on the theory that the people who were going to get the benefit were voting and that the people who were going to get paid and who were going to have to pay the bill weren't voting. It worked to some degree; but we didn't pay, as the gentlelady suggested we ought to, our bills. As the gentlelady probably knows, we had a provision in place which said we ought to pay as we go. If we buy a war, we ought to pay for it. If we buy a tax cut, we ought to pay for it. If we buy a prescription drug, we ought to pay for it and not ask my children or my grandchildren or your children or your grandchildren to pay for it. I agree with the lady, but that's what we've done.

    Now we are about the process of undermining the people's government by slashing its funding so it cannot provide the services that the people want and need and vote for, and now we will slash the ability of this House to do what the people expect us to do. I'm sorry the former Secretary of State left the Chamber. He's the Secretary of State. He says we ought to lead by example. By golly, I'll tell you: the people in my constituency, they hope we're not the example of how to work. They hope we're not the example of the dysfunction that they ought to follow, that we're not the example of ``do it my way or no way,'' which is what we've been doing.

    The people of the United States of America send us here, and they want us to make sure that we adopt policies that will help them and their families, that will create jobs and grow our economy. That's what they want. What the people of the United States also want is to make sure we can conduct the oversight of their government. That's our responsibility. The previous gentleman said, Well, the executive ought to lead, and then we wouldn't need to do oversight. I didn't get that, frankly, at all. The executive is a separate and equal branch of government, but we are the first branch of government. We are article I. We are the people's House. We represent the people, and they expect us to make sure their government is operating properly. To the extent that year after year we reduce our ability to conduct the oversight necessary to ensure that the people's government is operating consistent with law and on behalf of the people of the United States-- to the extent that we undermine that ability--we undermine free government, a free people, a free country.

    {time} 1530 We undermine the ability of this government to make sure that the executive is doing the right thing. And to the extent that the population of this country keeps growing, as it does every year, it needs us to be on the job. And what we're saying, of course, is: Well, we have a sequester. Sequester starts with ``S''; it stands for stupid. It is an irrational policy that we've adopted. And we've adopted it. It just didn't happen. It didn't come out of the air. It didn't fall from the trees. We adopted sequester. It's an irrational, ineffective, inefficient, negative policy that we've not only allowed to go into place, but in the budget we passed, we adopted it one more time, not by mistake but by policy. It was a bad policy. I didn't vote for it. It's irrational.

    I tell people around the country, you know, it's like the family has a budget. You have a food budget and you have a movie budget. Somebody loses their job and so your income goes down. So what you do is you sit around the table and say: We'll cut food by 10 percent and movies by 10 percent. What rational human being would do that? Nobody. They'd say we're not going to go to the movies this month so we can put food on the table and make sure that our family is well fed.

    But that's not what we're doing. The sequester that we're now pursuing, somewhat mindlessly, in my opinion, with respect to our ability to do the job that the people expect us to do, is to cut food by 10 percent and movies by 10 percent.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

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