tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN March 30, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on march 30, 2011, at 9:32 a.m., that the senate passed without amendment h.r. 1079. with best wishes i am. signed sincerely, karen l.
haas, clerk of the house. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following enrolled bill. the clerk: h.r. 1079, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986, to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the airport and airway trust fund, to amend title 49, united states code, to extend the airport improvement program, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on the motion to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered or on which the vote incurs objection under clause 6 of rule 20. any recorded vote on the postponed question will be taken later. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move to
suspend the rules and pass h.r. 872 with an amendment. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 872, a bill to amend the federal insecticide, fungicide, and rodenticide act and the federal water pollution control act to clarify congressional intent regarding the regulation of the use of pesticides in or near navigable waters, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule -- >> i ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from ohio yield for an unanimous question. if the gentleman will yield i have a question. we have two bills before us on the union calendar. one, the text is in bold, the second, the text is in italics. could -- and the texts are not identical. could you tell us which of the versions we're considering? >> mr. speaker, will the house come to order?
the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from ohio, mr. gibbs, and the gentleman from new york, mr. bishop, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. mr. gibbs: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on h.r. 872. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. gibbs: mr. speaker, i yield my time to the gentlewoman from ohio, mrs. schmidt, and ask unanimous consent that she be allowed to control that time.
the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. i yield half my time, 10 minutes. the speaker pro tempore: who seeks recognition? mrs. schmidt: mr. speaker, i rise in support of this bill and ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mrs. schmidt: mr. speaker, it's imperative that we act in a timely manner on h.r. 872, to ensure that our small businesses, farmers, communities, counties and state and federal agencies will not be burdened with a costly duplicative permit requirement that offers no environmental or health benefits. it is important to note that pesticides play an important role in protecting our nation's food supply, public health, natural resources, infrastructure and green spaces. they use not only to help crops from destructive pests but also
to manage mosquitos and other pests, invasive weeds and animals that can choke our waterways, damage our forests and recreational areas. the reducing regulatory burdens act of 2011 amends the cleanwater act to eliminate the requirement for a permit for applications of pesticides approved for use. this act is being passed in response to the national cotton council vs. e.p.a. which found permits are required for -- biological pesticides and chemical best sided that leave a residue. this legislation, mr. speaker, is not intended to exempt waste team or discharges from regulation simply because they contain pesticides or pesticide residues. this legislation, mr. speaker, makes clear that npde as exemption only addresses
discharges of pesticided or pesticide residues resulting from applications consistent with sieve are a. the legislation does not exempt applications of pesticided that violate the relevant requirements. this bill has been -- has been -- there have been accusations that this bill would cause containment of our waterways. but, mr. speaker, i challenge those accusations. . some will argue that pesticide applications were a violation. the case in question is the water district in jackson county, oregon, where it is claimed that the application of pesticides in violation of the label in violation of the label, resulted in a fish kill of more than 92,000 juvenile steelheads. these applications were in violation.
and the requirements and therefore would be addressed under that law. requiring a duplicative permit under the clean water act wouldn't violate any environmental safety standards. 872 is a simple fix. the legislation before us passed unanimously with an overwhelming 46-8 vote. this proves that this is not a partisan issue but an issue of such importance that republicans, democrats and the e.p.a. have worked together to provide a solution. it was never the intent of congress to require this redundant layer of bureaucracy since the e.p.a. regulates the distribution, sale and use of pesticides. although the court did extend the effective date of its order to october 31, it did fix the underlining problem. this will be the same in october as it is today.
there is no difference in the burden costs or real impact on their livelihoods. the only thing this extension provides is more months of regulatory uncertainty. i ask my colleagues to support this necessary piece of legislation and this remain the standard for pesticide regulation. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the the gentlewoman from from ohio will control the remainder of her 10 minutes. the gentleman from new york. mr. bishop: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from california, mr. baca, be permitted to control 10 minutes of my time. without objection, the gentleman from california will control the time. mr. baca: i thank the gentleman
from new york for yielding the time and look forward to playing with him in baseball. we need him to play third base. iize in strong support of h.r. 872. the reducing regulatory burden act of 2011. i want to thank the subcommittee chair and also want to thank water subcommittee chair for their leadership on this issue. i appreciate the opportunity to work with my colleagues on the transportation and infrastructure committee to jointly resolve the important issue to build relationships across jurisdictions and across the aisle. h.r. 872 is a straightforward, bipartisan bill that creates the necessary fix to the flaws of the national cotton council versus e.p.a. court decision. if the decision is implemented,
pesticide plake on itors will be forced into dupela cative process that will be requiring duplication permits. we don't need that. we need one agency that can handle it, no two agencies. the new regulation will provide add benefits, and add os costs to the agencies, agricultural producers, mosquito control districts and small businesses. e.p.a. understands this. this is why they have helped us write this bill. i want to state that two congressmen would like to submit a statement of smort support. e.p.a. estimates that the e.p.a. process would add costs to our states. but during a hearing on this issue last month, former
congressman john salazar testified that the cost of implementation for the state of colorado would be greater, upward of $20 million. the permitting process estimated to add another $50 million to the cost of pesticide plakeors and most are small businesses. we face 212.2% unemployment and $25 billion deficit. we can't afford this regulatory burden on them or anyone else. the negative impact on agricultural and irrigation and the pest control professionals is cause for serious concern. my district located in california has had a long history with the west nile virus, the ability for the mosquito control to respond must
not be jeopardized. if we have one agency, they can act quickly. if we have two, not only costly but imagine if we didn't act quickly. when a pesticide is used in accord answer with the label requirements it wouldn't be bring risk to our communities or the environment. let's pass this simple fix to protect public health and i state to protect public health of our communities and prevent costly, duplicative regulatory burdens on us. with that, mr. speaker, i have a letter that i would like to submit of a group and it's a letter from the national association of conservative districts, a nonprofit organization that represents 3,000 conservative districts for more than 70 years. it has worked with land owners, managers to provide working lands to help them apply for
effective conservative practices. they understand that the e.p.a. already conducts analysis of the health and environment effects of any proposed use of pesticides. i would like to submit their support. and i have another letter signed by 138 different -- the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. baca: i would like to submit that letter and ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this legislation. it is good bipartisan legislation and deals with the efforts and consolidating some of the efforts and cost effective and we don't need to put the burdens on anyone else. i yield back to mr. bishop. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. gibbs: i rise in strong support of h.r. 872, the reducing regulatory burdens act of 2011. i recently introduced h.r. 872 to clarify congressional intent regarding how pesticides in
and/or near navigable waters should be regulated. the act has long been the federal regulatory statute that governance the sale and use of pesticides in the united states. however, more recently, as a result of a number of lawsuits, clean water act has been added as a redundant federal layer. an additional set of permits will be required for use of pesticides. h.r. 872 is aimed at reversing a decision from the sixth circuit court of appeals. in this ruling, they substituted judge-made policy choices for reasonable agency interpretations of the law. in the process, the court undermined the traditional understanding of how the clean air act inter-- clean water act interacts with other environmental statutes and expanded the scope of the clean water regulation into areas and activities not originally
envisioned or intended by congress. e.p.a. has estimated that approximately 365,000 pesticide users, state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide, farmers ranchers, forest managers and every day citizens that perform 5.6 million applications t will be affected by the court's ruling. this will double the number of entities currently subject to permitting under the clean water act. with this court decision, the states and a wide range of public and private pesticide users will face increased financial and administrative burdens. and this expense comes with no additional environmental protection. this new permitting process was meant to take effect on april 9 of this year. however, two days ago, the sixth circuit granted an extension. the court's extension temporarily postpones the need
for the permit and does not eliminate the need for this legislation. h.r. 872 fixes the problem. it exempts from the permitting process a discharge to waters involving the application of a pesticide authorized for sale, distribution or use under this, where the pesticide is used for its intended purpose and used in compliance with the pesticide label requirements. h.r. 872 was drafted very narrowly to address the sixth circuit's holding in the national cotton council case and return the state of pesticide regulation to the status quo before the court got involved. this bill unanimously out of the agriculture committee and passed the committee on a strong bipartisan vote of 46-8. many organizations representing a wide variety of public and private entities support a resolution of this issue. these organizes include the national association of
counties, the national association of state departments of agriculture, national water resources association, american mosquito control association, american farm bureau association, national farmers union, crop life for america and responsible industry for a sound environment. mr. speaker, i want to thank my colleague, chairman smid for her leadership and -- scmidt and thank the ranking members on the subcommittees for their support of the bill. i want to thank chairman mica and rahall for their leadership as well as chairman lucas and ranking member petter son of the agriculture committee. i urge all members to support h.r. 872 and i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. bishop: mr. speaker, in light of the fact that mr. baca yielded back the balance of his time to me, can you tell me how much time is left on this side? the speaker pro tempore: 15
minutes remaining. mr. bishop: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from oregon, mr. defazio. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oregon is recognized. mr. defazio: we are here pretending to do something about a real problem. we are amending the wrong statute at the wrong time under the guise that this is a crisis and bringing up a bill that will never see the light of day in the senate. so what could we do? we could work with the environmental protection agency and i have written to the environmental protection agency and i would encourage others who recently got an extension until october 31 from the court. there is no threat. the biggest problem with what they are proposing is the small size of general permitting at 640 acres. my state has 6,400 acres. that's a pretty big piece of
property. i don't know many small farms or folks who operate on less than 6,400 -- more than 6,400 acres. and even at 6,400 acres it's a three-page form you fill out in my state. we could see -- and oregon is the state where this problem started, because 90,000 juvenile salmon were killed by the improper application of a pesticide. so we would be particularly sensitive to that. we are sensitive about our water. all of your constituents are sensitive. to amend the clean water act here, you are going at it at the wrong place. people don't want pesticides in what they drink or kids drink. fifra is meaningless in terms of regulating what goes into the water. e.p.a. doesn't test pesticides for their water quality standards and fifra does not regulate how much of a pesticide
is safe to apply to water. we should be amending fifra but that would have been work and legislation and something the senate would have taken up and we don't want to do that but play to the crowd here. it's going to cost $50,000. that is a bunch of hooey. we have a three-page application. so the point is, we can do something real. we can implement e.p.a. and get reasonable regulations and protect the drinking water or do what you are doing here today, which is meaningless. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from ohio. >> i would like to recognize the good the gentleman from oklahoma, chairman of the agriculture committee, for three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. lucas: i rise in support of this bill and ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection.
mr. lucas: mr. speaker, the piece of legislation before us today must be passed and placed on the president's desk as soon as possible. if we want to prevent a possible blip of regulatory burdens on our farmers and ranchers, the six-month delay that the e.p.a. was granted by the court this past monday evening may have brought us more time, but the delay does not fix the underlying problem. the impact on those pesticide users who will be required to obtain a due apply cative permit will be the same in october as it is difference. no difference in the burden or costs or impact on their livelihoods. the only thing this provides is six more months of regulatory uncertainty. we must act now to give our farmers the certainty they need to continue to produce the safest, most affordable, abundant food supply in the history of the world.
if congress does not act, they'll have financial burdens in order to comply with the new permitting process during a time when many states are already having to face difficult budget decisions. this will be a crushing blow to an already fragile economy. giving e.p.a. and the states more time to develop a permit system does nothing to minimize the unnecessary expenses this uninformed court decision has imposed. governments at all levels are facing fiscal emergency. this exercise represents a tremendous waste to valuable time and resource. it was always the intent of congress to exempt pesticide use from the clean water act. the decision of the court represents a fundamental ignorance of congressional intent that will not be
rectified by delay. congress has no choice but to act now. i'd like to serve notes that on the ag committee as chairman i am very plosed with our point person's efforts, chairwoman jean schmidt. i'd like to thank mr. peterson and subcommittee chairman, mr. baca, for working with us in a bipartisan way to address this issue. we all agree something has to be done, something needs to be done and we have an opportunity to do it. with that, i encourage my colleagues to vote in support of this legislation, and i yield back the remainder of my time to subcommittee chairwoman schmidt. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from ohio reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. bishop: i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bishop: i rise in reluctant
opposition to h.r. 872. mr. speaker, i find myself in an awkward situation here being asked to vote on a bill where there is no real sense of urgency and where questions of its impact on human health and the environment far outweigh the answers. in our efforts to address concerns on the implementation of two federal statutes we are neglecting a rational analysis from the potential adverse of pesticides. finally, i stand in opposition to this legislation because it appears that the push to vote today on this bill is so great that it has stretched the bounds of traditional member-to-member commitments to resolve legitimate differences on issues of critical importance to awful us. mr. speaker, let me state from the outset that i agree pesticides provide a valuable tool in controlling unwanted pests, whether it be in mosquitos in my hometown or bores in the west. it is not a question of whether pesticides should or should not
be used. we need to find a way to balance the use of pesticides with the protection of water quality, human health and the environment and the economic ben bets associated with them. -- benefits associated with them. i am not convinced that this bill is sufficient. pesticides would not continually show up in the urban and rural water bodies throughout the nation. as states in the u.s. geological survey have told us, pesticides are frequently detected in streams and groundwater throughout the nation and literally thousands of streams and bays and lakes are currently impaired or threatened by pesticides. in the state of california alone, pesticides are listed as the number one source of water quality impairment in the state. it is also telling that many states continue to find waters impaired by pesticides that have been banned in the united states for decades. in my view, this shows how the decisions we make today will have a long-term impact on human health on our environment and create long-lasting implications and potentially
increase costs for generations to come. according to the e.p.a., the potential human health complications of pesticide exposure depend on the type of pesticide and on the pathway, consenvation and duration of exposure and can range from minor skin irritations to developmental concerns being linked to cancer. one potentially significant source of exposure comes from consuming pesticides contaminated drinking water. both the usgs have looked at drinking water sources throughout the nation. while the majority of these cases pesticide detection levels were below existing human health benchmarks for those pesticides that have standards, they've found a number of examples where they were above pest -- acceptable levels. the health of children, pregnant women and the elderly
were of concern. in my opinion, the combination of these factors, includes the increased detection of pesticide chemical mixtures and water treatment technologies are not designed to detect or remove pesticides compels me to move cautiously on any proposal that would permanently eliminate options for controlling the amount of pesticide being released into the nation's water. in light of these concerns and in light of the fact that the legislation before us provides for a permanent clean water act exemption for pesticide use during the markup of this bill in the committee on transportation and infrastructure, i offered a simple, commonsense amendment to require congress to revisit this issue in five years when we have a clearer picture on whether fifra is ok. if in five years we were to see progress in reducing pesticide contamination in surface and groundwaters, then we will have
more information to justify a permanent clean water exemption for pesticide use. in my view, we simply do not have this critical information before us today. this simple concept was echoed by a former bush administration official who was recently quoted as saying when it comes to enacting statutory exemptions from environmental regulatory requirements it is appropriate to periodically review whether the exemption continues to be supported by data and science. based on a commitment from the chairman of the full committee to work with me on this issue before the bill was to come to the floor, i withdrew my amendment and i voted yes in the markup. unfortunately to date my concerns remain unaddressed and yet here we are today considering this bill under suspension of the rules where there is no opportunity to debate the issues i and several of my colleagues raised at the committee's markup. it seems that the push to vote today on this bill is so great that it has stretched the bounds of traditional member-to-member commitment to resolve legitimate differents
on issues of critical importance to us all, especially related to human health and the environment. i understand that some have pushed for consideration of this bill to respond to the looming court order deadline for clean water act permitting on april 9. i agree that concerns expressed by states and testified applicants and how they could be expected to comply with a yet unreleased pesticide general permit by the april deadline were legitimate. however, that deadline has now been extended by the sixth circuit court of appeals until october 31, 2011. it appears, therefore, that we have additional time to work on this issue and to resolve some of the concerns expressed by several members of the committee. mr. speaker, i believe a more prudent cause would be to take the time necessary and work together to address the concerns of both sides in a manner that minimizes regulatory duplication, makes sense for pesticide applicantors in the states and addresses the concerns related to public health and the water quality -- and water quality. i reluctantly urge a no vote on h.r. 872 under suspension of
the rules so that i may continue to work with my colleagues on improving this bill, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. gibbs: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentleman from arkansas, mr. crawford. the speaker pro tempore: one minute for mr. crawford from arkansas. mr. crawford: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of h.r. 872 because the last thing the agriculture needs is another regulation. pesticides are an integral part of our nation -- of ensuring that our nation continues to produce the world's most abundant, safe and affordable food supply. as it stands today, pesticides must already go through a minimum of 125 tests before being registered for use. on top of that, they're subject to strict labeling and usage requirements. if we don't pass this bill, our farmers will be required to obtain permits that require them to state the amount of pesticides they will use for a five-year period. that's not only next to
impossible, it will be an expensive and time-consuming process that will harm american agriculture as well as cost jobs. thank you very much. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. bishop: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i yield four minutes to the gentlelady from california. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized for four minutes. mrs. napolitano: i rise in strong opposition to h.r. 872. the reduction of regulatory burdens in its current form. at issue, the exemption in the bill means that no clean water act permit would be required for pesticide application to water bodies that are already impaired by pesticides. now, most pesticide applications in the united states are done in accordance with fifra, as you well heard. according to usgs, the report of 2006 on pesticides and frequently in streams and
groundwater, as you just heard, at levels that exceed the heem health benchmark and occur in many streams at levels that affect aquatic life or fish eating wildlife. in this data, the state -- in the data the states provide e.p.a. more than 16,000 miles of rivers and streams, 1,380 of bays and estuaries and 370,000 acres of lakes in the united states are currently impaired or threatened by pesticides. e.p.a. suggests estimates may be low because many of these states do not test for or monitor all the different pesticides that are currently being used. i am very concerned that the effect these pesticides have on the health on our rivers, on our streams and especially the drinking water supplies of all our citizens, especially the most vulnerable, the young, the elderly and the poor and disenfranchised people who have
no other representation. mr. speaker, i do ask unanimous consent to place into the record two e.p.a. reports on how pesticides in california are the number one cause of impairment of water quality. this is 1,787 causes in 162 water entities in california alone. this means that in all the waters in the states that are found to be impaired or polluted under the clean water act, pesticides -- again, pesticides are the most significant cause of those problems. we know that pesticide applications is already regulated under fifra and the clean water act review is not needed. i understand the concerns about the duplication of -- need to minimize the impacts on businesss at large. however, i'm still concerned that these pesticides are having a very significant impact on water quality and
that we are creating this exemption from water quality protection requirements without considering the impacts to the waters that are already impaired as they are in california. and this in turn means costing repairs -- water users hundreds of millions of dollars to filter these pollutants out of the water before it is pottable. this is something on an ongoing basis. not even the aquifers, multimillion in my area, cleanup area of the superfund site that has pesticides as one of the number one contaminants that has been made into a superfund -- about 15 years ago. i do oppose this bill. i do need further study on this issue before taking this very drastic step to reregulate pesticides that affect our nation's water.
and, again, i urge my colleagues on both sides to vote no on this bill. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the items will be inserted. the gentlelady from ohio is recognized. mrs. schmidt: mr. speaker, i'd like to allow the chairman of the interior environment and related agencies subcommittee on appropriations two minutes, my good friend from idaho, mr. simpson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from idaho is recognized for two minutes. mr. simpson: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. i rise in support of h.r. 872. this bill is a much-needed legislative fix that clarifies how pesticide applications should be regulated. congress never intended for pesticide applications that are already regulated under fifra to also require permits under the clean water act. yet, because the federal court did not interpret the intent correctly in 2009, congress must act to ensure that farmers, ranchers, forest managers and other water users as well as bay districts and
local governments won't face unnecessary and duplicative regulations that will make it more difficult to do their jobs. everyone here, everyone here supports our water supplies from polluters acting in violation of our nation's environmental laws and regulations. but it also clear that pesticides used around streams to spray for mosquitos and other pests are already regulated under statute. requiring permits for application of these pesticides doesn't make them safer. it only piles unnecessary paper work on top of day-to-day operations for farmers, small businesses. my good friend from oregon mentioned that in oregon the application is only three pages long so why should it be a problem? it misses a point. it doesn't matter if it's one-page long or 100 pages long. the question is unnecessary, dual regulation. .
the bill would provide needed certainty for farmers and ranchers. i urge my colleagues to support this legislative fix and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from new york. mr. bishop: may i inquire as to how many other speakers there are on the other side. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from ohio has one. mr. bishop: i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. schmidt: may i split the balance of our time between myself and mr. gibbs. the speaker pro tempore: you have 1 1/2 minutes. mrs. schmidt: i yield the balance of my time to mr. berg from north dakota. mr. berg: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my
remarks. i rise to strongly urge my colleagues to pass this legislation to protect the american farmer from the overreaching of the e.p.a. in this regulation. if this ruling were to stand, the e.p.a. would have full discretion over controlling the buffer zone for chemicals on crops near water sources. i have talked with farmers in north dakota and rely on producing good crops and prevent weeds. most of central north dakota sits in the prarie pothole region. many of these farmers plant on land which is within the e.p.a. buffer zone. this ruling would prevent these farmers from raising a good crop on this land. if this ruling goes into effect, it will require over six million new permits and those will need
to be issued to hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of farmers. if they don't comply, they will be forced with a fine of up to $37,000 per day, per incident. we know overregulation hurts american business. overregulation hurts family farms. i strongly urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation. i thank you and i yield the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york. mr. bishop: i have no speakers left. is the gentleman prepared to close or -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. thank you very much, mr. speaker. i will be the last speaker on my side. i want to make a couple of points. there does appear to be strong
bipartisan agreement and it passed out of the ag committee and very heavy vote but my reservations are rooted in the fact that we are rushing to a judgment in terms of making this statute permanent. i believe that we have a.m. will evidence to suggest that we don't know enough about pesticide impairment on ground water to determine whether or not it is prudent for us to make a permanent exemption to the clean water act. when i offered the amendment, which i then withdrew for a five-year sunset so we could assess whether or not this action is the correct one, i believe that i was acting in a very prudent and defensible way and i'm very disappointed that again, this was an issue that we rushed to the floor in a form where we were unable to amend.
so that we could get this bill passed and now the urgency of time has become much less pronounced because of the court ruling that was just announced this past monday with respect to delaying the implementation of the court ruling until the end of october. second point, i know it's very popular to talk about the environmental protection agency as if they are in some way the source of all evil in this world. this is an issue that's important to clarify. this is not an issue that the e.p.a. sought. we are here today because of a court ruling and in fact for years, decades, fifra has been the controlling legislation with respect to pesticide application and the clean water act has not been invoked. in fact, the e.p.a. in 2006 took a position that they would not
engage in a process that would supper seed fifra, it was that decision that was overturned by the sixth circuit court. we want to handle this. we all recognize that pesticide application is something that is very important. i represent the largest agricultural county in the state of new york and this is an issue that is very important to my farmers, but my farmers also recognize that they want to see to it that federal policy is, in fact, consistent with their best interests. there are no better environmentalists in our country than our farmers and need clean water and air in order to do their job. i'm opposed, reluctantly so and i hope as this goes forward and is considered by the senate, if it is, in fact, considered by the senate. we will take our time and craft legislation that we can all support and we will particularly have legislation that has a sunset period so we can evaluate
whether or not we are right in taking this action today. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. gibbs: mr. speaker, how much time do i have? the speaker pro tempore: 5 1/4 minutes. mr. gibbs: i would like to address a few of the concerns raised by my ranking member. sunset provisions. it's not really necessary because this congress can take it up any time they want. they can take it up next week, next year. couple of things i want to address, there was reference to the geological survey. that was a report done over 10 years ago and really, the findings in pesticides in our water bodies is what we call legacy pollutants from years ago
and they haven't been used in the united states for a number of years and majority of these are in low concentrations. we have the technology to detect parts per million, which are well below human health benchmarks. they said data is old, e.p.a., in the past 10 years or so. they certify pesticides coming on the market. and i think that is working. the e.p.a. can pull a product off the market that they deem necessary if there's a problem. pesticides we are using today are more biodegradeable and don't have the impact and don't stick around in the soil, break down the soil. many of them break down so fast that farmers have to time their application to make sure they kill the weeds and not too soon
that the crop, what we call cover crop shade out the sun for the weeds to come up underneath the canopy. that's important. the numbers will show that american agriculture is using less pesticides and lesser amounts and safer pesticides with the biodegadeable aspect we are seeing. it is important to keep in mind that this bill will help bring certainty. agriculture producers, munepalts have to -- municipalities have to spray for mosquitoes. this legislation does not stop the e.p.a. having control over the regulation of pesticides and the certification of pesticides and again many states also have pesticide application depending
-- so there are stringent rules are in place. fifra is working. if you feel it's not working, we need to address fifra and have to debate that issue. agriculture is moving in a safer manner to protect the environment and this bill will keep it in place and e.p.a. under their authority and their control to protect the environment and public safety when it comes to the mosquito control districts. i urge passage of 872 and i yield the rest of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 872 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3
being affirmative, the rules are suspended -- mr. bishop: mr. speaker, i request the yeas and nays on this measure. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, yained pursuant to clause rule 8 clause 8, rule 20, further proceedings on this will be postponed. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following perm requests. the clerk: leaves of absence
requested for mr. burton today and for the balance of the week. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the request is granted. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. poe: request permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. poe: mr. speaker, gasoline has reached nearly $4 a gallon and 60% of the american people want the administration to open up offshore drilling, yet the administration ignores the will of the people remaining defiant on the war on domestic energy and block resources, refusing to issue timely drilling permits despite a federal court order to do so. however, the president has announced that the u.s. is going to help somebody drill for oil. we are going to send money, billions of dollars to brazil and their state-owned oil company and use american money to drill off their coasts and we
will buy if the oil back from brazil. isn't that lovely. it's mind boggling and infuriating and instead of developing our own domestic energy supply and creating jobs in america for americans, the administration wants to become more dependent on foreign oil. instead of propping up foreign energy companies we need to drill in american waters. it is wrong for the administration to prevent the development of our own natural resources while promoting the drilling off the shores of other countries. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does gentlelady from hawaii rise? ms. hanabusa: permission to address the house for one minute. mr. speaker, today h.r. 1250 was introduced. congresswoman hirono, along with mr. young from alaska were among
those who signed it on this bill. native hawaiian government reorganization act of 2011. what does it do? it really establishes us as meeting the fiduciary obligations that we have to the native hawaiians, this is a trust obligation that has been created long ago with the creation of the commission act of 1920. in addition, when hawaii became a state in 1959, in it was contained really a public trust obligation for the betterment of native hawaiians as defined by the hawaiian homes commission act. and we created the concept of the apology resolution and in that, recognized, recognized that we owe a special apology to the native hawaiians and process of reconciliation. this is what this act will do,
give us the right to make things correct. and that is why i ask that you along with the rest of the colleagues support this. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: are there further requests for one-minute speeches? under the speaker's announced policy of january 5 of 2011, the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for 60 minutes. mr. garamendi: thank you, mr. speaker. a lot of discussion here on the floor, around washington, and across this nation about the american financial situation. some people say america's broke. there couldn't be anything further from the truth. than that statement. america is a strong, vibrant
economy that far and away is the largest economy in the world. we are nowhere near broke. we do have a problem. we're running a deficit and that deficit is expected to grow. but to understand the deficit and begin the process of addressing it, we need to understand from whence it came. so i'm going to start this little discussion out with hopefully an opportunity to get a sense of how it is that the american deficit has risen to the point where it is today. really, we need to look back to the ronald reagan period. in the ronald reagan period, he ended his presidency with a projected $1.4 trillion deficit for the 10 years beyond his presidency. so we look at these things
saying, ok, reagan had eight years and then what was projected as a result of the policies during his presidency? well, what was projected was that the american deficit would grow by $1.4 trillion. george bush the first came into office and at the end of his presidency, four years, the projection for the 10 years after he left office continuing the policies that were in place at the end of his presidency, the deficit would grow to $3.3 trillion. similarly, the clinton administration was in office for eight years, and the policies that were put in place during those eight years were projected to literally wipe out the american deficit.
literally, gone. $5.6 trillion surplus as a result of the policies that were put in during the clinton period. those policies were tax policies, those were the expenditure policies a policy that we call today the pay-go policy, that is if you're going to start a new program, how are you going to pay for it. if you're going to cut taxes, what are you going to reduce in the expenditure pattern system of reagan, $1.4 trillion deficit projected beyond his presidency, bush, add another $3.3 trillion, clinton comes along, eight years, deficits turn into a whopping surplus and literally paying off the american debt. george w. bush comes in in 2001 and then right off the bat, major tax cuts. not associated with spending cuts, but just major tax cuts.
that was in 2001. followed up with a second round of major tax cuts in 2003 and in between, a whole new medicare entitlement. adding a new expenditure at the same time that taxes were being reduced and for those of you that remember that period in 2001, we did have 9/11 and immediately we started the afghanistan war. i think most of us would agree that was the right thing do to the do. but it was not paid for. it was actually borrowed money that paid for the early afghanistan war. followed a couple of years later, 18 months later work the iraq war which once again was not paid for but rather borrowed money. the result of all of that and the total pullback of the
american government from regulating the financial industry and the housing markets was the great recession. at the end of the george w. bush period, it was projected by the c.b.o., nonpartisan budget office, that the deficit would grow by $11.5 trillion if the same policies were left in place. so where is today's deficit coming from? it's coming from the reagan period, the first bush period, the clinton policies terminated and the george w. bush policies put in mace, leaving with us a projected $11.5 trillion deficit for the next 10 years. now, the rest of the story is that as a result of the great
recession, the obama administration came into office looking at this situation, an economy that was headed into not a recession but a depression, and a huge deficit. that was put on mr. obama's plate the day he took office. to deal with the great recession that could have become a great depression, a stimulus program was put in place. and it was expensive. and a bailout of wall street was actually put in place during the last month of the -- last two months of the george w. bush administration. combination of those was somewhere, $1 trillion, $500 billion -- was around one
trillion 500 billion or 600 billion dollars. it was necessary. it was necessary that we deal with the wall street collapse. successfully stabilized wall street. the financial industry. could have been done different. most of that money has now been repaid. the money that was spent, about $750 billion on stimulating the economy was similarly successful in stabilizing the economy and causing it to rebound slowly but nonetheless rebound. here we are today debating whether the best way to deal with the deficit. we have a proposal from the president to deliver the next five -- that over the next five to six years would
significantly reduce the annual deficit. not creating a situation such as ened the clinton administration but bringing the deficit back into a situation that is sustainable. that's the president's proposal. based upon holding steady, no growth in the federal budget over the next five years, having the economy bounce back, ending one of the tax breaks that was put in place by george w. bush back in 2003, that is the high income, that is the millionaire, billionaire tax break, which is still in place but would end under the president's proposal. it is following along closely the recommendations of the deficit reduction commission that was appointed. now that's the president's proposal. what we're debating on the
floor beginning early this year with h.r. 1, house resolution 1, continuing resolution to fund the government for the remainder of the year, was a $60 billion reduction in the discretionary expenditures of the government. no one believed that that would have a significant impact on the long-term deficit problem. but it would have a very significant impact on vital, vital programs that are necessary to continue the operations of this government. so what are we to do? h.r. 1 passed this house, it was rejected by the senate. and for me, that was the right thing to do. because h.r. 1 was estimated by two different economists, not
democratic economists, but independent economists, that it would kill 700,000 jobs across this nation. immediately increase unemployment in the area, reduce revenues, unemployed people don't pay taxes, but simultaneously increases expenditures, unemployment insurance, welfare and the like. that's not a very wise thing to do. but that's what our colleagues on the republican side suggest wed should do. and it passed. unanimous republican support. i think there are three or four democrats that voted for it. i think they were wrong. i think the republicans were wrong. that doesn't solve the deficit. you cannot take 14% of the federal budget, which happens to be the discretionary
expenditures, that were targetted by our republican colleagues in h.r. 1 and expect to do anything meaningful about the deficit. the deficit has to be dealt with over a long period of time. and it has to be dealt with in such a way that we actually put in place the foundations for strong economic growth. what are those foundations. -- what are those foundations? well in my view, there are six of them. if this economy is going to grow soon, mid term, and late, that is in the years ahead, we have to have the best educated work force in the world. so in the republican proposal was an elimination of funding for higher education, funding for the pell grant that allow young men and women, and older men and women to go into the
university system. not a wise thing to do. second thing, we're going to have a foundation of good, solid economic deprothe into the future, we need to have the best research in the world. and once again, the proposal, l. 1, and the two subsequent continuing resolutions that have funded the government cut, cut research. critical research at our national laboratories. nearly $800 million of funding for the department of energy research programs would be eliminated. laying off some 6,000 researchers, ph.d.'s, scientists at the national laboratories that are working on research for energy production. no one in this nation would argue that we do not have an
energy crisis. check out the price of gasoline. we have a serious energy crisis. yet yet the proposal would go right at the heart of the research we need in order to solve the energy problem. conservation, nuclear, cleanup from nuke -- nuclear, research into photo voltaic, geothermal, all the renewable energy research largely reduced and in some cases totally eliminated. health care. the fastest growing segment of our economy's health care. research at the national institute of health wiped out. largely reduced. what kind of policy is that? if we're going to have a strong economy, we need to have a well-educated work force, we
need the research and thirdly, we need to take up the issue of manufacturing. we need to make the things that come out of research. mr. speaker, i think it's time for me to yield to our colleague from the rules committee. so i'll yield. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida rise? >> i send to the desk a privilege red port for filing under the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the rule. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 189, providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 658 to amend title 49 united states code to authorize appropriationers in federal aviation administration for fiscal years 2011 through 2014, to streamline programs create efficiencies, reduce waste and improve aviation safety and capacity, to provide stable funding if the national
aviation system and for other purposes. . the speaker pro tempore: referred to the haas calendar and ordered printed. the gentleman from california may proceed. mr. garamendi: thank you, mr. speaker. before that important rule was brought to the floor for consideration, i was discussing how we can grow the american economy and where the critical investments are. spoke of education, research and you have to make the things that come from the research. manufacturing doesn't matter. if we were to take the american manufacturing sector, as weak as it is today, it would still rank as the ninth biggest economy in the world. manufacturing in the united states took an enormous hit during the great recession. about 25% of the jobs were lost. that were lost were in manufacturing. we hollowed out our manufacturing sector. if we are to grow this economy,
if we are to have a serious reduction in the deficit, then we're going to have to make sure that manufacturing returns as a principal part of the american economy. i'm going to move on with the other three elements and then come back to manufacturing. we need to have a very strong infrastructure. this is everything from water to sanitation to transportation, rail systems, air systems and one of the things that was just mentioned on the floor with this rule, has to deal with the air transportation system in the united states. that infrastructure is critical. yet in the proposal we have had from our republican colleagues, we're actually weakening the infrastructure system of this nation. that's not a wise thing to do, but nonetheless, our economy depends upon that
infrastructure. the international investments are necessary. we need to export. we cannot find our economy growing if we continue to rely only on imports. they may be cheap, but in their cheapness, they destroy the american manufacturing sector. so we need to keep that in mind as a principal investment that we need to make. it doesn't come cheaply. it requires us to spend money on the department of commerce helping to open markets for america, it requires us to finance the import-export bank and other federal government agencies that actually support the export of goods and services from america. and of course, we have to pay attention to the defense of this nation. in the defense department, we need to always strive for efficiency. i happened to oppose the war in afghanistan. it's costing us $120 billion a
year. my view is, we ought to end that quickly, spend some money on focusing on directly the real threat, that is the threat from al qaeda and other terrorist organizations. we'll come to that in a different discussion. but those are the six critical investments, education, research, manufacturing, infrastructure, international trade and defense. are we doing well at those? not if our republican colleagues get their way with regard to the discretionary budget cuts. there are some things we can do that are not expensive. in fact they actually will create jobs with no additional fed ex pen difficult tur. let me turn to -- expenditure. let me turn to that at this moment.
now, my democratic colleagues and i have developed a program that we call make it in america. make it in america. if america is going to make it, then we have to make it in america. what are we making? we need to make all of the things that this economy and this world needs for energy security, photovoltaic, geothermal, advanced biofuels, all of those things in the energy sector that allows us to prosper and address the energy crisis, including and i know the problem of japan and the nuclear systems there. but 20% of our energy presently comes from nuclear and that's going to be part of the future. so we need to make sure we make it well, safely and that those systems are made in america.
manufacturing matters. and we need to make sure that our manufacturing sector is up to speed and actually making things in america. we cannot count on the chinese or the indians or any other nation to provide us with our manufactured goods. and the reason is, that's where the well paid middle-class jobsr spent hollowed out in the last decade by unwise policies, but nonetheless, we can restore it. and let me tell you a couple of ways we are proposing to do this in the democratic caucus. i love these charts. they seem to make a lot of sense and help display what we're talking about. if we're going to make it in america, we need to make sure that we are educating and researching and so these are crucial investments that i
talked about before. research in the health sector, science, well educated work force with teachers who are capable of doing the stem, science, technology, engineering, maffering kinds of education and make sure that our workers are prepared to take on these jobs. so this is the first step. that's the education and research step of it. and these are investments. and we need to make those jefments. -- investments. let me give you a couple of other examples of where public policy really becomes important. photovoltaic, invented in america. wind turbines, they have been around a long, long time, windmills and the like, but many of the modern technologies that are in the wind turbine system are american research and of course, transportation. it turns out that we don't
really do much of this or at least a year ago, we didn't do much of this. we were importing the solar systems, photovoltaic systems and wind turbines that are out there providing us with energy and importing from other countries, buses, trains and light rail systems. what we say in the democratic caucus is, each of these are programs that are subsidized or paid for with your tax money. there are subsidies for solar photovoltaic systems. good. we need to do these kinds of things for energy security and it's a good place to spend tax money to encourage the development of those kinds of systems. all are well and good. but, where are those solar panels made? are they made in america or made
overseas? our view and my own personal legislation is, if you want to use american taxpayer monies to help you buy a solar system either on your business or on your home, then you buy american-made solar systems. if your district wants to buy a bus using our tax dollars, this is the tax on gasoline, 18 1/2 cents for gasoline and 25-plus cents for diesel fuel, if you want to buy a bus for your local transit district, good. we need public transportation. but if you're going to use the public's tax money to buy that bus, then you buy a bus that's made in america. make it in america. if you're using our tax dollars as a transit district, as a business or homeowner, with a solar panel or a bus, you use that tax money to buy an
american-made bus. similarly with wind turbines. this is a personal thing for me. in 1978, i authored the first state legislation for wind, solar tax credits to get that industry started and it did start. altamont hills in california has the oldest wind farm in america. good. we are rebuilding those wind turbines and we are expanding the wind industry in this nation. good. we need to do that. and we are using our tax money to subsidize it. that's good, too. but where is that wind turbine built? is it built in europe, spain, germany, belgium, or is it built in america? too many of these have been built in other countries, using
our tax money. and i'm saying with my legislation and the support of others that if you're going to use american taxpayer money to invest in wind turbines, then you buy american-made equipment, period. we don't need to buy chinese wind turbines when we can make those in america. those are ways in which we can rebuild our manufacturing base. turns out that in the san francisco bay area, there's a transit district that has within that district one of the last remaining bus manufacturers in america. but until very recently, that transit district refused to buy buses from a bus manufacturer in that district that was making buses that were every bit as good as buses made anywhere in the world. they have recently changed that policy. similarly in the san francisco bay area, the bay area rapid
transit district wanted to buy trains and wanted to buy trains from foreign manufacturers. many of us said, whoa, stop, time out. don't do that. let's buy trains made in america. seimens has established an upgrading plant in sacramento to successfully bid for the manufacturer of high-speed trains in california and around the nation as well as light rail systems, which they are now and have been for some time producing in the sacramento manufacturing plant. that's how we can use our tax dollars to rebuild the american manufacturing base. as we do that, we build a vital
part of america's economy. that part of america's economy that was traditionally the heart and soul of middle america, the great american manufacturing sector. this is possible. does it take new money? it takes a redirection of money that we have been spending for some time. and let me add one more thing to it, as we look at the renewable industry, let us think about where we can find additional money to enhance the renewable energy industry. for one century, america has subsidized through various tax breaks the oil industry. and we did that for the purpose of creating a very strong, viable oil industry that provided us with energy. it was successful. the oil industry is the most
profitable industry in america and probably around the world. very, very successful. do they need a continuation of tax breaks? well, if you ask them, of course. everybody wants a tax break, but do they need it? not when they're running, over the last 10 years, just short of $1 trillion of profit. the american oil industry in the last decade has earned $950 billion of profit. do they need a tax break anymore? i think not. i think we take that tax break depending upon how much and whose estimate is north of $10 billion, maybe as much as $20 billion a year and use that money to build our renewable
energy sector subsidizing these kinds of things, photovoltaic, advanced biofuels, algae fuels, wind turbines and to enhance our transportation sector. these are strategies that we ought to employ. however, what's happening today, instead of taking the long-term view and making critical investments that actually will give us the foundation and the start to rebuild the american economy, we're going the other direction. . many of this think it's the wrong direction. we should not shortchange those when we create short-term and long-term economic growth. it's critical that we continue to invest in those six things, education, research,
transportation, manufacturing, obviously we have to continue to invest in national defense but we better be very, very wise. as we do these investments, and in fact in everything the government does, we must always strive for two goals that every program be effective, that is, that it actually achieves its stated purpose, and that it be done efficiently. i call these the two e's, efficient and effective. if it's not efficient, change the program. so that it would be efficient. if it's ineffective, and inefficient, it should be terminated. very simple. but if it is effective and efficient, then maybe we ought to continue it. now, in this recent week, we've had our republican colleagues put forth four bills that
literally terminate all of the federal government programs save two to rebuild the housing industry in america. and more importantly to help those families that are in desperate trouble with their mortgage. those programs, some of them were ineffective. necessary but not yet effective. and not up to the kind of efficiency we would want. that doesn't mean they should be terminated. that means they should be modified because the problem continues to exist. there is a homeowner mortgage problem in america of enormous importance. some 10 million american homes are under water. that's a problem. we've got to find a way of dealing with that. not just ignore it. not just to wipe out programs
that we would need. but we need to have efficiency. so we look for not a bill that would eliminate it but rather a bill that would modify, create more efficiency and continue to address the problem. to this date, our republican colleagues have only moved to terminate, not to replace, not to rebuild. similarly with health care. only a bill to determine nate, not a bill to improve when we know we've got an ongoing problem. i'm going to just wrap this up and let it go at where we are but let me go back and review very, very quickly. a raging debate here in congress about the deficit. where did it come from? how did it get to where we are?
and how do we solve this problem in the future? the deficit didn't start with the obama administration. it started way back actually with the reagan, a little bit before the reagan administration. the reagan, the george bush the first administration, dramatically altered by clinton which actually would have, if those policies had continued, created a surplus almost wiping out the total debt of america and then run up big time during the george w. bush administration. these are projections 10 years following if you continued the same policies what would happen. that's where it started. and then the great recession and the effort now to deal with that. the obama administration ha put forth a proposal that follows closely along with the recommendations of the deficit reduction commission that said don't -- don't do anything that
would harm the current recovery like make an austerity program, like make massive cuts, yet our republican colleagues have done and proposed exactly that. fortunately, the senate has not gone along with that. but we're nickel and diming our way toward $30 billion of cuts that may in fact cause us to see a decline rather than a continued growth in the economy. we must watch that very carefully. so that's the deficit piece of it. manufacturing matters. we need to be sure that we rebuild our manufacturing sector. many different pieces of legislation, tax policy, i didn't mention this earlier, but one of the tax policies put forth by the democrats last december and actually went into law was to encourage investment by private companies in capital equipment. allowing those companies to write off immediately in the
first year 100% of the cost of capital equipment, a good idea. unfortunately, very few of our republicans voted for that. in the manufacturing sector, let's make it in america. let's use our tax dollars to make it in america. all of the energy programs, transportation programs, our tax dollars, use it to buy american made equipment. and finally, research and education. research and education. this is not where the cuts should occur. yet our republican colleagues have suggesting that's exactly where it should happen. major cuts in education. major cuts in research. energy, education, health care, you cannot make those cuts and expect this economy to be competitive. one little fact that i just heard about today is that it is
expected in the coming year that the chinese economy will produce more scientific advancement than the american economy. this will be the first time in perhaps three quarters of a century that the united states government will give up its lead on scientific advancements. this is not the time for this nation to make cuts in our science agenda, whether it's in the medical, health care area, the energy area, or any of the other kinds of research we have always been the leader. food for thought, things for us to consider. i would like the american people to be aware of the real deficit story. you cannot solve it by making massive cuts in just 14% of the budget.
yet that's what our republican colleagues are doing. we need a long-term plan, one that's five years, 10 years to bring our budget back into balance and we can do it. it was done during the clinton period. and this little chart here gives you some idea of one half of how the budget -- how the clinton period brought about a budget surplus. this is the spending side. this is the expenditures of the american government as a percentage of the economy. during the reagan-bush period, it was up in the 24 -- let me take a look at this, 23%, 22%
of the american economy was in the -- was for government expenditures, dropped down to 21, bounced between 21% and 23%. during the clinton period, as a result of policies that were put in place in his period, pay-go, reinventing government and other governmental policy we saw a steady decline in the percentage of the economy that was going to the federal government. at the same time, we had very strong economic growth. those are the two things that operate, two of the three things that operate together. there was also a clinton tax increase that took place and basically added an additional tax burden at the very, very top of the income categories, so the combination of those reductions in the percentage of the economy that was used, good economic growth and a tax increase that occurred in the very early period, particularly
a tax increase on the very wealthy, led to a surplus. george w. bush came in in 2001, 2002, and things reversed. first of all, an increase in the percentage of the economy that went to government. principally, the medicare drug program and the wars. then this very, very steep rise that occurred right at the end of the bush administration as a result of two things, one a plummeting of the american economy as the great recession took hold in 2008 and the effort to deal with the great recession with the stimulus and right here at the end of the bush two, the financial bailout. so that's why we saw this extremely high line. now you notice that in this last period which is the
2010-2011 period, we have begun to see a decline once again in the percentage of the economy that is government spending. and if we follow carefully the budget that's been put together by the obama administration this line will continue to fall back into the 21%, 20% range. bringing back into balance the federal expenditure. it cannot and will not happen overnight. it's going to take us five years, maybe longer to bring this thing back into balance. keep in mind the words that were used by the recommendation of the budget deficit commission. don't do anything immediately to harm the american economy by making rapid, unnecessary, unwise cuts in the federal expenditure. that will put people out of work.
700,000 people would lose their jobs immediately if the proposal that was put forth by the republicans, but fortunately stopped by the senate. if that had become law, 700,000 jobs immediately lost and a spike once again in this ratio of government spending. so we've got work to do. we can do this. we need to make the long vision and we need to be very careful we make the critical investments. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time.
the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced spoil of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. speaker. always an honor to come to this floor, these hallowed halls, and address the issues of the day. as my colleague from across the aisle was discussing jobs that is so important to most americans. and there is one way we could do a great deal toward immediately putting americans back to work and that would be if we started utilizing more of our own energy resources which with this nation has been so blessed. when you consider all the natural resources that are
natural energy sources, coal, natural gas, oil, duo have wind, places where solar works, but all of the carbon-based energy resources that are so valuable around the world, the ones for which we keep paying trillions of dollars to other nations that could be utilized here in the united states and could be utilized to create jobs right here at home, it does not make sense to keep sending hundreds of billions and trillions of dollars to countries that don't like us. we're doing that through the purchase of energy. i've listened to all the explanations about why we've gone into libya that have been made in the press, those press
conferences, all kinds of releases by this administration , and you still come back to trying to figure out why libya was so much more important than tunisia or so many of the other -- iran. i mean, the people of iran were -- have attempted rebellions against madman ahmadinejad and this administration didn't seem to lend a helping hand, and that's a nation whose leaders have sworn to see that the united states as ahmadinejad said, will soon no longer be a nation. . as ahmadinejad has said, we will
be able to experience a world without the united states and zionism. we are going to eliminate the united states and israel. that ought to cause concern. have we lifted anything other than trying to prevent people from buying goods from iran? not really. those sanctions are going to work in probably another 15, 20 years, they have a real chance of working. the trouble is in 15, 20 years, and actually the possibility exists in a whole lot less than five, if we continue to persist in sanctions and nothing more with iran, they'll get nuclear weapons and will give us a choice either remove the sanctions or count on a nuclear blast coming into your country.
we have to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons. they will use them and will threaten to use them so they can get what they want. in fact, get more by threatening the use once they have them than they would to actually use them. as ahmadinejad has made clear in a number of settings, he expects the 12th iman and believes he can hasten the return and have a global caliphate where all of us fall on our knees, supposedly or die. well, we can prevent that. could have stopped it long before now. but we haven't. what makes libya so special? it's really interesting and hard to put our finger on it. libya does produce oil.
china may be the biggest purchaser of libyan oil. but not the united states. so why should we go rushing to spend hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in libya? europe, england, big customers of libyan oil. so why would we be running to help europe and england with the libyan oil. the president has made clear, well it's because they asked to. and secretary clinton said -- she made the rounds in the news programs, that arab states asked us to, u.n. asked us to, europe and england has asked us to, so why would we ever need to come
to congress. been made very clear. you don't have to come to congress when the u.n. has said it's something that needs to be done. it's interesting, though, i don't recall any of the cabinet members or the president raising their right hand and taking an oath to defend the united nations. i was thinking the oath had to do with our constitution and our country and it's always -- also been made clear that libya was not a threat to our national security, not a threat to our vital interests, yet, we are willing to put our treasure and our american lives on the line for something that's not in our vital interests. that does not make sense. but then again, as you continue to piece together the obama
doctrine, we get it that apparently intervening, risking american lives and spending american treasure that this administration didn't earn, but taking away from taxpayers and then borrowing from others, that's ok if it kind of feels like it ought to be something we do. if it feels like we ought to go to libya and risk american lives and spend that american treasure, well, let's go, because after all, people ask us to do that, why would we not go if people around the world ask us to do that? could it possibly be that a reason for not doing it is because an oath was taken to this country, not to the u.n., not to the chinese or the european constitutions or the european union, but to this
country. this is where the oath was taken . these are the people in america for whom and to whom the oath was made. but we look at energy again and we look at spending treasure, and as more people are finding out in the last couple of years, this administration has said, you know what? we're sutting down drilling on the gulf coast. we're just not going to stop the one country that had safety violations while others had one or two during the same period, because, you know, that's british petroleum and british petroleum was poised to come public and be the administration and the democratic party's one big energy company that rode in on a white horse and said we support the cap and trade bill. we are going to make money for bp, trading in carbon, these
stupid americans, they don't get it. it's a transfer of wealth like nobody has ever seen before. americans lose. people like bp and general electric will win big. but the american people lose. but wouldn't go after bp and it took so long to go after them. and when you know that bp was going to be their big energy company to endorse the cap and trade bill, it makes a lot more sense why it took the administration so long to respond. and then, of course, the president sat down with bp executives and said, ok, let's tell the american public you are going to put up $20 billion. they did. but there was never $20 billion put up. and so isn't it amazing, we don't know what was discussed or what quid pro quo was promised
for bp coming in and offering large sums of money. obviously, there were a lot of people on the coast that were devastated and continue to be devastated, who were not compensated by any money from bp, but nonetheless, it took the heat off of bp for a while. so perhaps the administration thought that after having the moratorium and putting tens of thousands of families out of work, putting tens and thousands of families on to unemployment insurance, devastating tens of thousands of families, perhaps the administration thought nobody would notice that the first permit that was extended after this moratorium to hurt the southern states actually hurt the whole country, but the
first permit went to -- i believe it was noble energy company. but the major investor was a company called british petroleum. now was that a quid pro quo, ok, bp, we aren't going to take you out in the rose garden and have you announce you support the cap and trade bill because you aren't well thought of right now, but there will be pie in the sky by and by if you play along with us for a while. who knows what conversation occurred there. but isn't it interesting that bp was the largest investor in the drilling that got the first permit after the moratorium. now, understand, there haven't been a glut of permits come rushing forward. there are still tens of thousands of families that were made destitute by this
strailings because they -- administration, because they chose to punish the entire south and even the entire country rather than allowing energy jobs to go forward in the gulf coast area. so imagine the surprise of some of those destitute folks that have just been traumatized by this administration. then they find out our president has just been down in south america telling the people of brazil that we think so much of their drilling and we are going to loan them $2 billion to drill off their coast and when they strike oil of off their coast, the president says, we are going to be your best customer. why can't we be our own best
customer? why can't we drill off of our own coast and where there isn't drilling allowed yet? we would be our own best customer. we would create millions of jobs , not just in the oil industry, but all kinds of jobs if the president were not wanting to punish this area. i mean, it's as if we're wanting to punish free enterprise. and we find out that actually -- we have had a very cold winter where i live, and yet the e.p.a. under this administration doesn't care. and they don't care that the new regulations that they're coming out with would not have one, maybe one billionth of one
effect of co-2 in the atmosphere . and yet as a result of this administration and their war against jobs, the war on jobs, you got the e.p.a. out there trying to keep people from hiring, when the truth is, those jobs leave here, they go to south america. they go to china, india, different places. and they pollute a minimum of four times more than the pollution in this country from the same industry because we do a good job of policing industries. and when the economy is going well, that is when you have the best chance of really cleaning the environment, because when an economy is struggling and china knows about struggling economies and trying to employ people
keeping them from getting upsetting and revolting, when an economy is struggling, they don't care about the environment, but interested in feeding themselves, having a roof over their heads and surviving. you want to have the environment, really, if that is the true purpose, then what you do is allow the economy to thrive and this president has had a war on jobs and that continues. i should qualify. a war on jobs in america. we are helping create jobs in brazil. we're helping the democratic, largest contributor, mr. soros with his single largest investment in the drilling down in south america or brazil. so the democrats' largest investor is going to make a tremendous amount of money because we are loaning $2
billion to pay him and his investment up there or down there, rather, to do the drilling that we won't allow in this country. why is it that our global president is more interested in creating jobs in bra dill than in the united states? -- in brazil than in the united states? it may help us understand why we expend american treasure and risk american lives in a country that is of no vital interest to this country. and it is interesting when you look at the history of gaddafi, this is not a nice man, this is not a nice man that should have avoided prison and perhaps even capital punishment depending on charges and the evidence proving
the charges. yet, you have to look at what will replace gaddafi when he's gone. we heard from the administration, no, there is no al qaeda that are rebeling and we found out yes, there is. they are involved. the muslim brootshood is involved in the rebelion -- brother hood in egypt. now mubarak was a dictator. we're not big fans of dictatorship in this country. but when you have to look at the national vital interests here and you have a man who is in charge in egypt who is not a threat to the united states and was living as best one could
with the status quo next to israel, and yet there is an effort to throw mubarak out of office and any kind of decent intel would indicate you have the muslim brootshood who will replace -- brotherhood who will replace mubarak and allow him to leave and be replaced by a group that wants us to bow the knee in one giant caliphate to religion when some of us believe in our own, my case, christian beliefs, heart and soul, which i hoped to get through this life without having to die for? but there are people who are
trying to take over egypt who we have given great encouragement to. there are people in libya, they are wanting to take over that country and it's powerful military, who would like us to either convert from christianity or to lose our heads, why would we be helping them? that's a difficult question. if it weren't so serious, it would be an amusing game to try to figure out what this administration is attempting to do. what is the obama doctrine? when it comes to the budget, the president gave a wonderful speech, he read it impeccably well, about how we have got to cut spending. he gave that speech right before he released his budget.
and that budget was projecting around a $3.75 trillion expenditure when we were only going to take in around $.1 trillion system of he gave a speech about cutting spending and he's been doing that the last two years and it turns out the first year, we had a $1 trillion deficit. the next year we had more than that. and this year, the president proposed a budget that will be a $1.65 billion deficit that makes no sense. why would you give speeches saying you're going to cut spending yet every year it goes up and up dramatically that doesn't make sense. and yet we know the results of the election in november indicate very clearly the american people want the spending cut. we can't continue to live in a country that is running up
trillion-dollar deficits. people will quit buying our bonds. we're dangerously close to having our bonds downgraded, our rating lowered, and if that happens, interest rates go up. if interest rates go up like that, that will give fodder to those who are demanding that something besides the dollar be used to buy oil. it could put this country in a terrible financial spiral downward from which it might be impossible to pull out. i was in a plane once when i was told the bibles were -- when i was told the baffles were being taken out, it was a crop dusting plane, i was sitting in the co-pilot's seat,
it was fun flying the plane with a joystick, i said through the radio system in the plane through the pilot this thing is acrobatic qualified, isn't it? we could do loops, go in and out of spins? he said it would be but we removed the baffles from inside the wings where the gasoline is -- the fuel is stored so if we go into a spin, then the fuel all runs to one end of one wing and we go into a spin we can't get out of and we'll crash and both of us die. well, that's kind of where we're headed with this thing. if we don't get the spending under control, one thing leads to another and we're in big trouble. and it's got to stop. and at the same time, we're supposed to be helping americans with better health care, you liked your insurance you were going to keep it, and
yet we found out that absolutely was not true. if you like your doctor, you can keep him. found out that absolutely was not true. it's a bad bill. and then we find out that the prior congress not only passed that 2,800 page bill, all kinds of things in it, including a new president's commission officer corps, noncommissioned officer corps, do we really need that, i wondered when i'd read that in the bill? but then you find out we're being sent to libya and going to use our treasure and our american lives there, maybe there's intention to so deplete the military that we're going to need that presidential reserve officer commission corps and noncommissioned corps that the president can call up on a moment's notice,
involuntarily, according to the obamacare bill. but the trouble is there's already been $105 billion appropriated, it's like writing post-dated checks that are due to be cashed each year in the future. you're really not supposed to do that. that's not appropriate. this suspect like social security where it is controlled by foreign formulas and it's in automatic motion. this was just an appropriation. not mandatory. it could be repealed. but to do so it actually has to be rescinded. my friend steve king has got a bill that would prohibit any money that's currently been appropriated through the president from being utilized for the purposes, in other words, it ties the hands of the administration from using any of the money already appropriated for the purposes of implementing this obamacare
program. representative rehberg has an amendment voted in that has some effect in that regard. judd kingston is an appropriator and has come up with an idea that a couple of us have joined forces with him, and i think we've got around 24 co-sponsors and that's growing constantly. but this is an approach that i would hope would attract democrats in both the senate and house because it is an important principle. i would hope that it would attract democrats in the house because it in effect says we're not going to do post-dated checks for something besides social security, those type of things that are controlled by formulas.
we're going to cancel the post-dated checks. it should be attractive to my friends in the minority now because someday they may be back in the majority, and when that happens they surely would not want the republican majority to have passed a decade's worth of spending bills, not for social security, not for mandatory spending but a decade worth of spending with post-dated checks so you can't ever stop this. so the principle that the kingston bill would stand on is that these type of things must be taken up annually. so we're going to cancel all the post-dated checks that we're going to be -- that were going to be cashed in the future and if the democratic
representatives get back in the majority, some wail say it's not a good idea because if they get back in the majority, they can just appropriate that money. of course they can. they can pass a whole different health care bill if they get back in the majority. that's the way it work, when your in the majority you can pass things. so it would not be unfair to just say we're canceling all those post-dated checks, we're canceling $105 billion worth of spending and if you get back in the majority it's up to you what you appropriate but as long as we're in the majority, we're not spending that money. that allows us to keep our promise, it allows people on both sides of the aisle to say, we're standing on principal and -- principle and procedure that the -- procedure that the majority should rule in the legislature and not the minority that years ago was a majority. that's a better way to do it. so there have been those
questions, some of said -- some have said why make it so complicated. in the new bill we proposed today, filed today, it would effectively end the $105.5 billion in the funding that was in obamacare by turning them into an authorization without the appropriation. that means not this or any future administration would be able to spend the money without first coming to congress and getting the majority here in both the house and senate to approve it. now there are those that say, well you know there were a few good things in that obamacare bill. my gosh, when you have a 2,800 page bill, there surely ought to be something in there that is decent and there were a few good things. but why not make those a
25-page bill instead of a 2,800 page bill, why create all these hundreds of new agencies, the hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations, all those things that come from this massive government overload, why not just do away with all of those things? that's what we should do. and then start as -- not president obama, but senator obama had said we should do when he said repeatedly we ought to have negotiations on health care bill, we ought to have hearings, we have gos that are public, have them on c-span if c-span will carry it. let everyone see who is in it for themselves and who is in it for the american people. i think the american people even without seeing the negotiations on obamacare, they
got the message who was for the american people and that's why the house changed hands. so we hope within the next few days there will be more and more people get on board because this is an important principle, a minority, even though they weren't -- they once were a majority should not be able to bind future congresses on things that are not mandatory through formulas like social security. now, with regard to libya, there were some interesting quotes from the president's speech, he had pointed out that gaddafi had denied his people freedom, murdered opponents at home and abroad, terrorized innocent people. this has been going on for years. it's certainly been going on all the time president obama has been in office. it was going on when he was a
senator. and he never caught on -- called on these kinds of things before. but he goes on and just two paragraphs down he says, joining with other nations at the united nations security councils, we broaden our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, allowed -- d enabled gaddafi and those around him to be accountable for their crimes. i'm familiar with holding people accountable for their crimes as a former judge, a former prosecutor, i've done that, hold people accountable for their crimes. i don't see what this administration has done to make gaddafi accountable for his crimes. there's discussion in the news today that this administration is floating the idea of some type of amnesty if gaddafi will
just leave. so that may be, the statement in his speech may be like the one like if you like your health insurance you'll be able to keep it. it sounds good but it has no basis in fact. but the president said mill tear helicopter gunships were unleashed on people with no means to defend themselves with assault from the air. my understanding is that that's happened in burma, pakistan, possibly in syria, there's a lot of other countries it's happened in where we haven't gone against the administration in that country, so that was a little puzzling. and the president said, so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership in congress, i authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce u.n. security council
resolution 1973. but the fact is we've been told repeatedly that this administration had the support of the u.n. to whom the president did not take an oath to defend and did not have the consent of the governed in this country. not the governed and not the governed's legally elected representatives. now, president said in his speech, we had gaddafi's troops. well, i would think with the president's broad education he would understand, if an infidel, an infidel country like we're considered, kills muslims then we're worthy of death under what they consider the law.
so if the president's right and we haven't just shot rockets and taken out certain type of military hardware, we've actually killed muslims in libya , then we have not made ourselves a bunch of friends and in fact that may be one of the reasons we see the president's image being stomped on and burned and destroyed in effigy in libya and foreign countries. the president says, i said that america's role would be limited. we would not put ground troops into libya, that we would focus our unique capabilities on the front end of the operation, we would transfer responsibility to our allies in partner. in other words we're turning over command but our u.s. military is doing the lion share of the fighting. we keep hearing that in the
news. this administration is turning over the lion share of the effort when actually they're turning over the leadership. my office made an official request yesterday to the administration to know what percentage of the military, of nato is u.s. military and we were given the figure 65%. so, it doesn't come as a great comfort to many of us that we're turning over this great responsibility that we have led as helpers in libya to nato where we're 65% of nato. that's one of those things that sounds good, kind of like if you like your insurance, you can keep it. but it really doesn't have much basis in fact for comfort.
the president said in his speech, nato has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and no-fly zone. and yet it's confusing because those speaking for the administration in washington seem to indicate that we have not yet turned over command. he says, going forward, the lead in enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians will transition to our allies and partners. i guess that means nato which we're 65% of. i know i look stupid sometimes but, i mean, i can get that. if we're turning it over to a group that's 65% us, we really haven't turned it over unless we want to say, yeah, but we're not leading anymore, we're putting ow -- putting our military under the command of foreigners who have never taken an oath to support and defend the constitution of this country. how do you feel good about that? well, it's hard for some of to
us feel good about it. the president says, libya will remain dangerous. the question is, dangerous to whom? we saw that after the invasion of iraq that gaddafi threw up his hands and said, hey, hey, we've give up nukes, we'll give up pursuing anything, we don't want you to invade our country so we want to work with you. we saw a similar attitude after president reagan dropped a bomb down his chimney. so we know that as long as gaddafi knows we have a strong president who will go after him if he does anything to us, then we have nothing to fear. but we also know from his history if he is not controlled, if we do not have a strong president who is willing to go after and punish those who are attempting to destroy us, then maybe he is dangerous. maybe that's what the president was talking about in his speech.
anyway, the president said, we also had the ability to stop gaddafi's forces in their tracks without putting american troops on the ground. but here again it didn't have the support of the american people, it didn't have the support of congress. and it brings back to mind when george w. bush was president, he enjoyed playing golf. he still does apparently. i've never played with him but i understand he's a good athlete. but once troops were committed to harm's way, president george w. bush said it didn't feel like for him to be out on a golf course while troops he committed to harm's way were in danger. so he gave up playing golf for the rest of his administration. yet the current administration
has a president at the top who not only doesn't feel any qualms about playing golf while we have troops committed, that he committed to harm's way, he'll also play golf and pause long enough to commit more troops to harm's way. the democratic impulses across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship . that's unfortunately what the majority of americans are concerned about happening here in america if we get away from the legislative process and forcing bills through that are not supported by the american public and forcing american commitments in places that
america does not support and spending beyond anything a drunken say lohr would have ever spent -- sailor would have ever spent. we're afraid of what's happening in this country. we're afraid of what's happening to our economy and the president said, it's also what the libyan opposition asked us to do. well, then we find out the libyan opposition is composed of at least numerous members who are part of al qaeda and the muslim brotherhood. and apparently al qaeda and muslim brotherhood representatives had not asked us to intervene militarily in egypt or tunisia or syria and maybe that's the difference. i don't know. but it's disconcerting. the fact is when you look at the
oath we took, our allegiance is to this country, it's not to the united nations, it's not to other countries, it's to this nation. so a serious look at libya and the problems there might deserve some intervention but first we have to ask the question, is whomever will replace gaddafi more of a danger to this country than gaddafi? if the answer is possibly yes then we should not be sending american treasure and american lives to help intervene on behalf of people who would like to see this nation destroyed.
that ought to be pretty commonsense. one other factor is israel. we have a true friend in israel in the middle east. but unfortunately our friends have seen the way we've treated our best friend in the middle east, israel. we vote against them at times like we did last may, we snub them in public ways, people hear about -- or israel's enemies hear about how we've snubbed israel. and israel's enemies know when there is a crack and especially a perceived -- whether it's there or not, a perceived distance between israel and their greatest ally that used to be us, then it's time to move. that's when the flotilla came last may is after we voted
against israel. that's when a lot of these actions began taking place. people who want to see israel gone seem to be in the middle revolting in a number of countries -- in the middle of revolting in a number of countries, around the middle east and africa. we got to come back to what's best for the united states and it should be very clear. with the common interests and beliefs that the people of israel have, in the value of life and the value of equality of people and the equality of women. those ought to be our friends, those ought to be people who when under attack tell us we're next. and in this case it's not a hard deduction to get to because the people have said, we want to
eliminate israel, the little satan, and then the united states, the big satan. so israel is a great investment as a defense partner because if they go, if they go down, we're certainly next and also i happen to believe that by blessing israel we can be blessed. i'll conclude my time here tonight. it is so important to take a look historically at things that have been said in the past history of this nation, that have been said in this building, in official settings, that have been said by those who have led the way, carried a torch to light our way down the years. one such man was the chaplain of the senate, peter marshall, i was given this book in the last couple of weeks, two or three weeks.
sermons and prayers of peter marshall while he was chaplain of the united states senate. so i'd just like to read a prayer that peter marshall gave in the senate for historical value and the insight of this brilliant man, dedicated christian. he said, our father, we are beginning to understand at last that the things that are wrong with our world are the sum total of all the things that are wrong with us as individuals. thou has made us after thine image and our hearts can find no rest until they rest in me. we are two cystian -- too christian really to enjoy sinning and too fond of sinning to really enjoy christianity. most of us know perfectly well what we ought to do, our trouble is that we do not want to do it.
but help is our only hope. make us want to do what is right and give us the ability to do it. in the name of christ, our lord, amen. peter marshall. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from illinois, mr. jackson, is recognized for 30 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mr. jackson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i've recently given several special order speeches about my view of the constitution and making my argument for why i think it should be amended to include certain basic rights that the american people currently lack, such as the right to a high quality education, the right to health care and equal rights for women. i believe these rights should be given to the american people as a matter of moral and social justice. however, more than that, i believe there is a strong economic case for why these
rights should be granted by this congress. if we guarantee the right to an education of equal high quality to every american and give the congress the power to implement that right by appropriate legislation, then, mr. speaker, we will set off a true race to the top as states, cities and the federal government are compelled to meet a new standard. the nature of the problem, in 50 states there are 95,000 schools, there are 15,000 school districts, 3,141 counties, 19,000 municipal governments and 30,000 incorporated cities and in all of that government there are 60 million children who are being asked to be the very best that they can be. with my amendment that means more teachers, teachers' aides and others for our kids. it means architects will be engaged to improve schools and
build new ones. ipads, kindles, and nooks will replace textbooks. i realize there will be a cost to all of this but i believe if we can find the money for wars in iraq and afghanistan and military action in libya, we can find the resources to educate the american people. most importantly for $30 -- for 308 million americans we can be the afford not to. i want to put my proposals in a historical context if i can. i want to suggest that law is actually going somewhere. at points in time from the earliest civilizations, prodepress has been made incrementally toward freedom, justice and human rights. i want to put our own constitution and bill of rights into the context of vital points in time. these documents are not the end of -- end all and be all of
democracy and freedom. no, mr. speaker. the very ability to amend our constitution suggests that the founders of our country see things the way i do. that the document they crafted as a landmark in human history but not perfect, it's not a final draft. so tonight, mr. speaker, i'd like to take a walk through history to talk a little bit about where law and human rights have been, where they are, and where they're going. a couple of themes will emerge that as history shows that law is heading in a certain direction, we're going to see an action by a majority in this congress heading in the opposite direction of human law through human history. like all civilization, the roots of democracy and human rights lie in what is known as the middle east, thes me poe tamian empire. those -- the mesopotamian empire. the evolution of law as we know
it started there. around 2350 b.c., before christ, mesopotamia was ruled by the oldest known set of laws. they are referenced in documents from the period as the consolidation of, and i quote, ordinances that kings were appointed by god and affirmed the rights of citizens to know why certain acts were being punished. around 150 years later, the we have the earliest known written law. only a handful of articles can be deciphered but it suggests an advanced legal system with specialized judge, testimony under oath and the ability for judges to assess damages to be paid to victims by the guilty party. in 1850 b.c., we saw the first law known legal decision involving the murder of a temple employee by three other men. nine witnesses testified
against them and three were sentenced to death. in 1,700 b.c., hamrah bee's code was carve -- hammurabai's law was carved into a temple in babylon. the underlying law was an eye for an eye. the regulations governed marriage, deaths and other things. it seems barbaric, cutting off fingers for theft. the jewish torah says the 10 commandments were received directly from god. those became the basis of modern laws against murder, adultery and stealing. around 1280 b.c. in india, rules passed down orally through yen rations were formally written down as the laws of manu. they were the basis of india's caste system and punishment was
used sparingly and only as a last resort. interestingly, member of the higher caste were punish master's degree severely than those in the lower castes. in 621 b.c., a law was written for athenians. the punishments were is so severe, including death, draco's law, it was so severe we developed the word draconian from it. shortly after this law, the spartan king gave his oral law to the world. lycurgus' law held that a woman had the duty to have children and if the children were deformed were killed. at age 7, the children began training for military duty. in 750 b.c., someone refined
draco's law by demock rahtizing it. around the same time, 536 b.c., china created the book of punishments, limiting the ways in which somebody could be punished after being convicted of a serious crime but still allowing for tattooing, manipulation, the amputation of feet and death as legal punishments. in 450 b.c., the 12 tables in rome were created. these formed the basis of all modern law. under these laws a system of public justice was developed whereby injured parties could seek compensation from guilty defendants. the lower classes were given greater protection from abuses by the ruling classesing the patricians, especially with regard to debts. it gave fathers the right of life or death over their sons. the tables survived for nearly 1,000 years until they were destroyed by the invading
galles in 390 add. -- gauls in 390 add. -- ad. the next law dealt with arrest, robbery death an other general summits an served as a model for the chinese code that came about 1,000 years later. in 339 b.c., the trial of socrates played a role in the development of law. accused of corrupting the minds of youth with logic and not believing in the gods, socrates was a scapegoat for the loss of the pell ponetion wars. he was -- pelopo in nesian wars. he was sentenced to death but he was afforded the opportunity to speak to the jury and engage them in a dialogue and instead he chose to give the your a speech, criticizing them for their lack of sensitivity.
while it may not be contemplated as part of the traditional legal history the life of jesus christ informs my personal understand og of the law. under jesus' law, pure motives a mature love and grace unmerited as well as nominal justice, good behavior and honorable ends became important. jesus' life was not rematesing moses' law but was seen as perfecting it. in the book of matthew, he said think not that i come to abolish the law and the profit, i come to perfect them. he said until heaven and earth pass away, not a dot or an iota will pass from the law until all is accomplished. in galations, paul write the whole law of moses is in one word, love your neighbor as yourself. in roman he writes, love is fulfilling the law.
this judeo christian understanding of the law is a commitment to justice and application of the understanding of love is important to the spiritual framework that underlies and undergirds much of my understanding and this nation's philosophy toward the law as well as the purpose and function of the law in society. all law after the birth and resurrection of jesus christ is profoundly impacted. we make a transition from before christ to anno domini. jumping ahead, justinian's code organized roman law into a series of books. this legal collection was guided by greek and english common law, the two main influences on contemporary western jurisprudence. many legal principles in use today, including the spelling of the modern word justice, emanates from justinian, the emperor of the byzantium.
the constitution of japan written in 642 add shaped their morality and law. it ex-pounds such legalisms as peace and harmony that they should be respected because they are important for intergroup relations and equality, speediness and integrity should be maintained in court procedures. one distinction that characterized two different legal traditions is that much of the traditional asian law seeks to prevent disputes whereas western law seeks to resolve disputes. very important, mr. speaker. a distinction between asian law is that it seeks to prevent disputes, whereas western law seeks to resolve disputes. in 653 add, the kingdoms that make up modern day china were consolidated and the code revising earlier existing chinese laws and standardized procedures was created. it listed crimes and punishments in 501 articles and one of those allowed just two forms of capital punishment for
a convicted criminal, beheading or hanging. shortly thereafter, in 700 add -- a.d., china used fingerprinting to identify people. in 1100 a.d., the first law school came into existence. the magna carta was signed by king john and forced the king to concede a number of rights to barrens and people. its 61 clauses including freedom of church, fair taxation, control over imprisonment, habeas corpus, and the right of all merchants to come and go freely except in time of war. its most important clause was number 39 stating that no free man shall be captured or imprisoned except by judgment of his peers or the law of the land. the king was restraped from merely exercising his will against another person. in 1689, the english bill of rights was enacted, the precursor to the american bill of rights.
it limited parliament to the right to raise money through taxation. in 1692, the salem witch trials captivated salem, massachusetts. it resulted in more than 300 act sages of witchcraft with 23 executions as a result. it thrust the justice system into the popular mind in a way never seen before. in 1740, the infamous south carolina slave code which regulated the use of slaves became the model for slavery in other states. it said that all negros and their offspring shall be and are hereby declared to be and remain forever hereafter slaves and shall be deemed to be chattels personal in the hands of their owners. then in 1765. law became more accessible to the common man when a british barrister named blackstone wrote down the entire english law system in an easy to read,
four-volume blackstone's commentaries on the laws of england. his work was easily exported to the british colonies an was the basis for the government according to many legal scholars. the somerset case captured the world's attention in 187 . james somerset escaped from his master while on a trip to england. he was recaptured to be sent to jamaica. three english citizens claimed to be his god parents. three white citizens claimed to be the god parents of the african-american slave, they filed a suit saying slavery was not legal under british law. they won their case. somerset was freed and slavery was finished in great britain. the reaction in the colonies was profound, partly in response to the somerset case, the colonies in america revolted. in 1776, the declaration of independence by the american colonists from great britain
created a new day for human rights. it asserted that all men are created equal and have certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from con sthoacht governed. we know that the writers of the declaration did not intend those words to apply to all men. certainly not to women or the american slave. the constitution of the united states of america was signed in philadelphia in september of 1787. and ratified by nine states on june 21, 1788. it formed a legal basis for the first republican form of government in the history of the world. it defined the constitutions -- institutions of government and the powers of the judicial, executive and legislative branches. its shortcomings with respect to slavery and turmoil between
the states and federal government have been documented however it's been a model for many countries in gaining their independence. the american bill of rights was approved and ratified in 1791. these 10 ealts in the tradition of thomas jefferson declared rights in the areas of free speech, free press, free religion, the right to trial by jury, protection against cruel and unusual punishment, and unreasonable searches and seizures, the bill of right has influenced many modern charters and bills of rights around the world and stands alone as one of the bedrocks of not just democracy but human rights history. the supreme court upheld the supremacy of the constitution and stated that the court had the power to strike down actions taken by american states and federal bodies that in its judgment were unconstitutional. this principle of judicial review represents, in my opinion, and the opinion of many legal scholars, the biggest
advance in american law since the constitution was rat feud -- ratified. it serves as a model for the balance of powers that many other nations have adopted. one year after marberry, france adopted the napoleon code wiccanenized many of the victories of the french revolution. in a great influence beyond france, with quebec, canada, germany, switzerland, california, louisiana and louisiana, adopting parts of it. the geneva convention set human rights standards during time of war, including military medical personnel and humane treatment for the wounded. it was later supplemented by a prisoner of war convention that has been violated and ignored numerous occasions. the geneva convention remains an important document on the march of law and human rights in 1865 following the civil war, the u.s. congress passed and the states ratified the 13th
amendment to the constitution. officially ending legal slavery. prior to that, the 10th amendment was the turning point in the constitution of the united states. those rights, not written in the constitution are in the purr view of the states. the addition of the 13th amendment to the constitution established a new paradigm. if slavery, as conservatives as southerners argued, is a state right, then states' rights can never be human rights. the constitution, with the addition of the 13th amendment, changed the present order and it -- in a divided time. i'm in congress today and barack obama is president of the united states because of the constitution and its capacity to change time and space. in 1948 the general assembly of the united nations adopted the universal declaration of human rights which put forth a legal code of naturally observation of
human rights. we've seen many, many more landmarks in human rights that have been reached. we're even watching the middle east now seek even greater human rights against monarchies and kings and other leaders who are despots and not believing in the basic rights of people. and while we failed to ensure full equality for all women in this country, we're making progress toward pay equality. i believe we need to amend the constitution, to ensure that women have fully equal standing with men. we've enacted hate crimes legislation and many states have moved toward marriage equality for gays and lesbians. we have much more work to do on that front. and as i began my remarks tonight, i began, mr. speaker, by saying that we need to amend our constitution to include certain rights that the american people should have but don't. as i just said, we need to include the right, equal rights for women, we need to include the right to a public education of equal high quality, we need
to include health care as a right for all americans. mr. speaker, it might surprise some americans to know, which we learned in bush v. gore, that we don't even have a fundamental right to vote in the u.s. constitution. only a right to not be discriminated against in the states while voting. so from the earliest civilizations, the development of europe, asia, north america and the rest of the modern world, we've seen greater democracy. we've seen more inclusion. we've seen more freedom. we've gone from vigilanty justice to an eye for an eye, that is an eye for an eye to the modern criminal justice system. the death penalty was a common response to crime in many of the earliest civilizations and it persists to this day in many places around the world, including here in the united states. but my home state of illinois, thanks to governor pat quinn, recently banned the death penalty. i person personally support that but i know -- i personally support that but i know many of my colleagues would not. there's an element in this
congress that's heading in the opposite direction of human law and human hit are -- history. but the arc of history continues. the development of human rights did not stop at the writing of our constitution and it did not stop with the writing of our bill of rights. the constitution is not static, it is not set in stone, take it as it is and -- taken as it is an only document. it like the overall development of human rights and the law through time is organic. it's dynamic. it's living, it's forward looking. it is an adaptable to the changes of the new day and the new world. in fact, in their infinite wisdom, the framers of the constitution set up very mechanisms by which the march of justice and human rights could continue. an amendment process. it's not an easy one, and it's not one that should be taken lightly. but i believe we should indeed revisit our sacred document and amend it to include fundamental freedoms for the american people. thus human law and political rights have evolved through history to ever higher forms of granting more rights.
this is also -- this has also meant the responsibilities and obligations have moved away from external sources and appointed government power to the voice of the majority of the democratically elected representatives of the people. the word democracy is comprised of two greek words, people, strength or power. people power. it means we the people have the strength and the power in the end to elect people to make our laws and rules. we the people have the right to declare what rights we have and what rights we don't have. what rules we will live and play by and under which laws we will be governed. a representative democratic government is a political structure and arrangement whereby the supreme governmental authority is accepted and the rules are made with the consent of the majority of the common people. thus the contrast between organic, evolutionary and political nature of the law versus the static, strict constructionist natural view of the law should be clear in terms of the creation and preservation
of political right in human development. the approach of conservatives to play down or advocate an antipolitical, antilegislative, antifederal government philosophy of social change is therefore certainly not a strategy designed to advance the public interests or real economic interests of a majority of the american people. these conservatives and tea party activists who will descend upon washington tomorrow are acting on behalf of the special interests of the few. who do not want mass democratic participation and action. this antidemocratic and undemocratic conservative approach is a strategy to undermine progressive and economic change intended to benefit the public good. in a living democracy, we must continually criticize and reform our politics, our government and policy to keep them relevant, effective, efficient, accessible, accountable and responsible to real people's
needs. this is very different, however, from criticizing politics and the government per se as irrelevant and ineffective, as instruments of change, of protecting old rights as opposed to advancing new ones. it is quite clear that the strict constructionist constitutional approach of conservatives like mr. quail and mr. buchanon, mr. robertson and mr. meeks and george w. bush seem to be frozen in time, backward looking. and fearful, philosophical views of government, history and the constitution. strict constructionism, mr. speaker, runs contrary to the whole legal development of rights in human history. strict constructionists look back to the founders' original document before the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments and other progressive amendments to the constitution were added. before nonland owners could vote, before lincoln's getty'sberg a-- gettysburg
address. strict constructionists, as thurgood marshall said at an event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the writing of the constitution, quote, believe that the meaning of the constitution was fixed at the philadelphia convention. that would require us to know their original intent and rythedly preserve the founding fathers' philosophy. even though they were all men, most were slave holders and they allowed slavery in the constitution. a strict constructionist interpretation of the constitution also means a reaffirmation of states rights as the preeminent legal guiding principle. a broad interpretation on the other hand sees the constitution as forward looking, as living, as positive and a hopeful document. we respect the past and the positive contributions that the founders made. we seek to understand their intent in the full context in which the constitution was written. and we seek to understand to the fullest its original meaning. bewith you also know that it has been changed and it's been
improved along the way. and in order to be more inclusive all of the american people, therefore we also know that we have an obligation today to move it even further. the more people are made aware of their rights, to which they are entitled, the rights which they've already been written into national and international law, the more politically educated and conscious people become of these rights, the more politically active and organized the common people become in the struggle to achieve theseritises and the more accessible and -- these rights and the more accessible our government become to the democratic will of the people. the faster and more nonviolently we as society will be able cho a-- we as a society will be able to achieve a new and higher set of human rights. mr. speaker, since this congress has begun, i've been coming to the floor talking about one issue and that's high unemployment. in order to wipe out unemployment which we've been recording from 1890 to 2011, we
had a massive jobs program in this country. i recommend a jobs program that benefits all americans. the rebuilding of 95,000 schools in this nation. to an equal high quality standard. putting roofers, brick masons, electricians, teachers, carpenters to work. providing unprecedented technological access to the internet and modern forms of communication, to 60 million children across our country. unfortunately, mr. speaker, tea party activists and conservatives in both the democratic party and the republican party, many of them don't see it that way. but i see something different. i see an america that can build runways for airplanes in states all across interest this country and build an interstate transportation system.
by one national federal standard. we simply can't build schools and provide an equal high quality education for 60 million children in 50 different states, in 15,000 locally controlled school districts, in 3,100 counties, in 19,000 cities across this country one school at a time. if there's enough money to fight the war in iraq, if there's enough money which this congress keeps writing the check for to fight the war in afghanistan, if there's enough money to spend $550 million in one week bombing libya, then, mr. speaker, we can find the money in this congress to rebuild these schools, reduce unemployment, put 15 million unemployed americans to work and change the course of our country. if we can put 15 million americans to work, we can wipe out the nation's debt.
its deficit. and provide a long future for the american people. with that said, mr. speaker, i'd like to yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the chair now recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. diaz-balart, for 30 minutes. mr. diaz-balart: thank you very much. i appreciate the recognition. mr. speaker, on march 28, former president jimmy carter arrived on a trip to cuba. at the invitation of the cuban dictatorship. he arrived there and originally in his agenda that was made
public he had no meetings with any of the internal opposition leaders, no meetings with any of the civil society leaders, no meetings with anybody other than the regime. i know that he met with the dictator who's been oppressing and torturing and savaging that population without obviously having free elections for over 5 years, for over half a century -- 52 years, for over a half a century. he called the dictator, mr. castro, he called him his dear friend. mr. speaker, right before former president carter arrived at that enslaved island, the regime went about arresting and detaining a rather large number of people. people who they wanted to make sure didn't make trouble. now, remember that making trouble in that regime, mr. speaker, is speaking out, asking