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tv   U.S. House Takes First Step in ACA Repeal Approves Mattis Waiver  CSPAN  January 13, 2017 1:00pm-3:01pm EST

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fiscally responsible. something that actually works. i look forward to working with my colleagues to replace obamacare with a system grounded in economic reality. a market-driven, consumer-centered health care system that provides americans with more choices, lower costs and greater flexibility. that's why we are working on a replacement system that will expand consumer choice through health care focused on their needs, a system that will spur innovation in health care, attract new doctors and health care providers, and protect patients with pre-existing conditions. . we must help americans gain access to insurance they can afford. passing this legislation is one step towards helping people and fulfilling our promise to the american people. i urge support for this resolution and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new york is
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recognized. mrs. maloney: here we are, mr. speaker, more than three months in fiscal year 2017, debating a budget which is not really a budget resolution. even the majority admits it is nothing more than a shell to help them repeal the affordable care act. it doesn't contain any way to grow jobs. it doesn't contain any new ideas to grow our economy. and with all of the majority's rhetoric about deficits over the last decade or more, this budget explodes the deficit and adds $2 trillion, as in t, to the national debt. only to set the stage for repeal of health care assistance to millions of americans. what's more, the congressional
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budget office has told us that repeal of the affordable care act would increase the deficit, $353 billion over 10 years. now, many of my colleagues have noted the devastating effect of the repeal of the affordable care act -- the effect it would have on millions of americans' health. 30 million americans would lose insurance including four million children, the cost of prescription drugs would go up. young people would lose the coverage on their parents' health care and pregnancy would no longer be covered. the affordable care act has made critical, critical progress for americans. millions have gained health care that they never had before and
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our uninsured rate is now at 8.9%. it is the lowest, the lowest rate in the history of our great country. nearly half than before the affordable care act took place, as you can see from this chart. this is something we should be proud of. we have allowed more and more and more americans to have health care when they need it. it is literally a life and death situation to millions of americans. but this reckless repeal of the affordable care act will also cause economic havoc. it not only hurts people, it hurts our economy. now, just last month, our economy added 144,000 private sector jobs. the 75th straight month of job growth in the united states of america. that is something we can all be proud of. that is the longest stretch of
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b creation since 1939 in our nation's history. and that's in stark contrast to the way things were at the last time the presidential transition took place. when president obama took the oath of office, our assassination was shedding jobs. in 2008, the economy lost 695,000 jobs. the next month, another 598,000 jobs gone. we were losing roughly 700,000 jobs a month. the banks were teatering and the auto industry was exploding. our nation was in economic turmoil. the combination of combursing asset bubble and panic brought this country to the edge of collapse and worst financial
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crisis in global history, according to the head of the federal reserve, in global history. and today we have a very different story. thank you, president obama. our downemployment rate which 4.7%. p to 10% is now at that's a great achievement. in 2016 alone, our country added 2.2 million jobs bringing the total to over 15 million new jobs created over the last seven years. instead of shedding jobs and losing jobs in the prior administration, we were imagining. look at this chart. we moved from the deep red valley of political devastation, economic loss of jobs and suffering to moving out of our economic troubles to a continued
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growth of blue job creation. and in the job creation and in our economy, we also expanded health care to help our people. just look at this chart. it tells the story. the deep red valley of economic devastation caused by the last republican administration. and the steady job growth under president obama. we are now seeing stronger job growth after years of stagnation. over the past year averaged hourly earnings rose to 2.9%. another great success. but now we are considering a heartless and i would say a reckless plan to repeal the affordable care act. a move that threatens to undo our progress and will turn millions of lives absolutely upside down across this great nation. a report issued this month by
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the commonwealth fund outlined the disastrous economic consequences of the majority's plan. and just the first year of repeal, our economy will lose nearly 2.6 million jobs and over $255 billion in economic output. over the course of five years, r economy will lose $1.5 trillion in output and these devastating job losses are not just limited to the health care industry. as was pointed out by many democratic speakers, our industries are intertwined. you can't count the affordable care act without also impacting not only people but the delivery of services through our hospitals and also medicare and medicaid. it is also intertwined and reckless to move forward and say we are going to come up with a
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good plan. you have had years to come up with it and we have never seen it. we will lose 2.6 million jobs in and d industries, retail this repeal plan will place massive financial burdens on our state budgets. the commonwealth fund report estimates that in just the first year, states would lose out on $8.2 billion in tax revenue. over five years, they would lose tax revenue and that is schools, roads, first responders, our neighborhoods and repealing the affordable care act will hurt the millions of people who have directly benefited from it. people have come up to me and told me i finally have health care. i have health care for my children. i know if they get hurt, they will be taken care of.
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people in my home state of new york will be hit hard. 2.7 million new yorkers have health coverage today that they did not have before the affordable care act. and now their health care is on the line. for they are among the 30 million who would lose health coverage under the majority's repeal plan. and this would also cost -- not only hurt people but hurts economic development, a loss of 9.7 billion in my state alone. and this is the way it is across the country. americans of every political stripe who work hard and play by the rules and think they finally have health care to have the worry of what's going to happen to them tomorrow. they deserve better. they deserve what they already have. and they at least deserve a plan. we should not repeal.
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we shouldn't repeal it in the first place. if you are going to repeal it, let's be responsible about it and have what it is that you are going to put back in place to help people. it is reckless to repeal it. and in the most advanced, most economically -- our people deserve the certainty that they can have access to health care for themselves and their families. and with all that is at stake, health care of americans, loss of 2.6 million jobs, it is irresponsible to move forward with a budget and reckless to repeal the affordable care act without any real solution to help people. i reserve the balance of my time. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote against this budget resolution, which is nothing more than a plan to take health care away
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from americans. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. mr. tiberi: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from florida, mr. rooney, for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. rooney: mr. speaker, i rise to speak about and oppose the travesty known as obamacare. the need to replace this program was obvious on day one. it is a failed socioeconomic experiment perpetrated by people who don't believe in individual choice and don't understand free market competition. in fact, we can see less than half of the folks that were supposed to sign up have done it. nothing promised under this medical health insurance program has proved true. care costs have gone up. premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed. another chart here, if i might,
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that shows the projected 25-plus percent increase in premiums in 2017. my state of florida is 19%. coverage has been circumscribed and reduced. and this business about keeping your doctors is another falsehood. can't afford to keep your doctor or your insurance. the program was flawed and op-down boondoggle and created monopolies for insurance companies. i have heard stories from so many families in southwest florida who suffered severe financial burdens and reduced and dropped coverage because of obamacare. paying more for less is bad policy. it's bad economics and raw deal for america. now we have the opportunity to do three things, to turn the page and put this disaster of
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obamacare behind it. we have the opportunity to enact a resolution which will lead to repealing obamacare. we have the opportunity to have dr. price take the helm at health and hollywood services and begin a substantial administrative overhaul and we have the opportunity to put in the replacement plan that has been talked about which provides a seamless transition into a new form of health care and leaves no one without coverage and assures the continual coverage of pre-existing conditions. but it will offer consumer choice, the american way and make coverage affordable and competitive. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for additional 30 seconds. mr. rooney: and will stimulate competition and removing an artificial barrier. and lastly, it will encourage innovation in the delivery of health care and advances in treatment. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman from florida yields back. the gentleman from ohio reserves. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. mrs. maloney: i would like to apologize to mr. beyer and mr. delaney, but mr. nadler says he has an absolute pressing emergency and i yield to him for one minute. the gentleman is recognized. mr. nadler: repeal of the affordable care act will be a disaster for the american public and will send america back to the days when people went bankrupt trying to pay medical bills and seniors paying prescription drugs. adding insult to injury, it would defund planned parenthood. republicans are asking us to pass legislation to punish an organization without due process because they don't agree with it. this smacks in the face. if we pass this bill, women will have no access to health care.
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community health centers do not include enough providers to take on all the patriots. by voting to defund planned parenthood we will be leaving 2.7 million men and women with no access. what a statement for republicans to make in the major piece of legislation. they are saying, republicans don't care about your health or your families but just about politics. my colleagues and i care about the american people. and we will vote against this absurd budget resolution and the a.c.a. repeal. i urge my colleagues to vote against this bill and i yield back. . the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. . maloney: i yield three
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minutes to -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady has four minutes remaining. miss maloney: i yield two minutes to mr. beyer. the chair: the gentleman is recognized 34r678 beyer: i rise to oppose : i rise this. the speaker admitted important facts, number one, more than 80% of obamacare customers get subsidies to help them pay the cost of the premiums. they do not pay the full cost an won't feel the full brunt of this. arizona is up but rhode island will decrease he cherry picked the highest one, omitting the overall increase. most importantly, number three, most people are unact affected because most people get their insurance through their employers, medicare or medicaid.
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only a small percentage of americans getter that insurance on the individual market. as an employer myself who offers health insurance to more than 300 people, if someone is very concern -- and someone who is concerned about the debt, my concern is the republicans seem willing to throw out the management of our debt for this repeal. i've heard them lament about our national debt and we've made progress on the budget deficit but blowing up obamacare will blow up our national debt, the most fiscally irresponsible act since we waged two wars without paying for them. this will cause the state of virginia to lose up to 100,000 jobs and $50 billion in business health care. i urge my colleagues to vote no on this plan. i yield back.
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the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentlewoman reserves, the gentleman from ohio reserves, the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. ms. ma he nee: i yield two minutes to another distinguished mobe of the joint economic committee, congressman delaney. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. delaney: we know this has not only eroded confidence in our government but caused government to function to a very low standard. in my four years in congress i have never seen a better example of that than what we have here today. today we are considering a budget that is not only fiscally irresponsible, it double ours deficits across 10 years, increasing the national debt by $10 trillion, but its sole purpose is to repeal the affordable care act. the purpose of today's budget is not to amend the affordable care ct but to preserve -- -- and preserve its strengths, nor is it to repeal the affordable care
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act an he place it with something that's been well thought through and shared with the american people. the purpose of today's bill is to repeal the affordable care act and let the chips fall where they may. even people who oppose the affordable care act who looked at this issue have concluded that the affordable care act should not be repealed without ary placement. it's being done for political reasons because my colleagues, unfortunately, for year have told their supporters they would repeal this bill at all costs without having the courage or convictions to explain to them the consequences of repeal without replacement, nor without the determination to do the work to come up with an alternative. the affordable care act was passed eight years ago. it was passed on a straight party line basis which was unfortunate. it had three important goals which it has achieved to expand health care to over 20 million people, to lower the overall
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cost of health care in this country, which is the most important number in our fiscal health and to impruff the quality of health care. is it perfect? no. are we addressing its problems today in no. are we repealing it without any replace ment? yes. by any measure will that be bad for the peculiar health and potentially cause a public health crisis in the united states of america? the answer to that is yes. i urge my colleagues to reject the budget po posal. the chair: the gentleman's time has ex-peer the gentlewoman has 15 seconds remaining. mrs. maloney: i urge a strong no vote. this budget resolution jeopardizes the very health of our citizens and put ours economic recoughry at risk. i uverage a no vote and -- i urge a no vote and yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman's time has ex-peer thsmed egentleman is recognized. mr. tiberi: i yield mousse such time as i may consume. there are several perspectives,
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important perspectives to health care and health insurance. one, value delivered to patients in terms of insurance plan options, choice of doctors, access to treatment and most importantly, health outcome. two, health insurance premiums and health care cost sharing. three budgetary costs to the federal and state governments. four, supply of health care services include big doctors and hospitals and through medications. fifth, indirect cost to the economy such as reduced job creation and labor force participation. the affordable care act fails on all five counts. and that's why we're here today. to start the possess of repealing and replacing it. the program is dysfunctional and it's -- its costs have become and will become more unsustainable. supposedly the central objective for passing the a.c.a. was to ensure those who did not have
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coverage. i was there. yet the increased government sprawl shown in this chart in health care is striking. the joint economic chart from the time of the law's passage illustrates the law's mind numbing complexity. unsurprising to anyone skeptical of bureaucratic solutions, the obama health care system has not worked. instead of empowering innovators, doctors, patients, obamacare has implemented a complex scheme that relies on unelected bureaucrats. and this chart demonstrates that clearly. mr. speaker, obamacare means fewer choices. in fact, kimberly a constituent in my district, recently told me that she had a brain tumor. virtually no doctors take the marketplace insurance. so i am left to change doctors who i've seen for 30 years and switch to new doctors who don't
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-- who i don't trust and cannot provide the same health care benefits that i've received in the past. traumatic for her. remarkably, the enrollment failure is happen degree spite penalties on individuals failing to obtain coverage and employers failing to provide it. even with billions of dollars in subsidies, in my opinion, this illustrates that many would likely prefer to trade their subsidies for more flexibility, the choice of their own doctors, and useful alternatives. obamacare also means higher premium. ohioans on the individual marketplace have seen increased premiums by 111% since passage of obama kear. now in my state, the average premium is over $5,000. republicans agree that the system needs reform but obamacare cannot be reformed. the argument that parts of the
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american health care insurance system were not working previously and that more people now have health insurance is irrelevant to the decision to repeal obamacare. nobody claims that the former system was perfect. i certainly don't. certainly the government can increase coverage with subsidies, increase coverage with mandates, but what has it done to the underlying health care that is being provided. the extent and method by which obamacare increases coverage has caused huge and unnecessary collateral damage to all others in the marketplace. all others with respect to patient choice of their doctors. the quality of the care that they're receiving. the supply of health care. and certainly state and federal budgets. the focus of obamacare advocates has been almost excuse ily on increasing the number of insured
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by government subsity an mandates. i get that and i understand that. but not on maximizing healthy outcomes. those aren't the same things. health insurance is not an end in itself. effective treatment to health care problems is. private investment is so needed to push forward medical discoveries, innovation, accelerate drug development, personalized medicine, harness technology to coordinate our health care and help administrate it. there is a better way. you'll hear from the other side of the aisle that republicans have no plan to replace obamacare. here are the plans. it's just not true. the goal of republican plans is not to go back to the way things were before obamacare, it's to move forward. we want to facilitate a well functioning market in health care and health insurance as well. in the united states we let the marketplace work things out. republicans would have fixed those on -- want to fix those
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obstacles and make it better. portability, patient center care, insurance across state lines, medical liability reform, new mechanisms for maul businesses an individuals to power together and negotiate. flexibility for governors. a paint-center, patient-focused program. the government has a role. and a responsibility. to provide support for those who can't afford it, for those who fall through the cracks. addressing pre-existing conditions is part of our planful keeping dependents up to 26 on their parents' plan is part of our plan. but the deeper points to recognize are, one, there's no reason why a free market cannot offer insurance to individuals that provide continuous coverage throughout their lives. there's no reason that helping the poor should not limit the choices and flexibilities of everyone else which obamacare has done. much less in fear -- interfere with with the larger economy.
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moreover the law has had an impact on employment. i see it every week. casey mulligan of the university of chicago estimated that the a.c.a. taxes will affect nearly half of the working population in america. reducing average wages, hours worked and g.d.p. based upon c.b.o. estimate the overall impact of the a.c.a. on the supply of labor will become progressively worse as time passes. obamacare took certain problems in health care insurance, a large of number of insured, lack of individual coverage for pre-existing conditions, higher premiums for individual, and used them as an excuse to create socialized medicine. the repeal of obamacare will take us off that path and replacement will offer shortcomings to other problems. it will provide support away from obamacare to transition. it improves consumer choice. ladies and gentlemen, i understand the anxiety that many are feeling right now listening
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to the democrats tell them that health care will be yanked out from under them. when i was a kid, my dad, a steelworker, lost his job. we lost our health care. we lost our insurance. i know what thatting an stiity is like. and i would assure everyone today that's not what we're doing here today. i know what we're doing here today. we're empowering patients, we're empowering doctors, not bureaucrats. we're giving them more choices, more opportunities, and a better health care system. mr. speaker, i ask that we support this resolution and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from hio yields back. all time for the joint economic committee has been used.
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the gentlewoman has six minutes remaining, and the gentleman from tennessee has two minutes remaining. the yom from tennessee is recognized. mrs. black: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. yarmuth: i'm prepared to close. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. yarmuth: everybody in this room wants the same thing. we want the best quality of care available to the most people at the lowest price. that's what everyone in america want, that's what republicans and democrats alike want. we put our plan to do that on the table. we recognize that there are ways it could be improved. but the idea that there is a plan competing on the other side is just hilarious. i mean, last night, i testified at rules before chairman sessions and chairman sessions introduced a bill last year, he had one co-sponsor, that
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gentleman is no longer in the house. though he has no -- so he has no co-sponsors as of now. his plan is called the world's greatest health care act. i like the name. but i don't know how that relates to any of those other plans. i know that probably some of the elements are similar. but this is the problem with the exercise we're going through. we are heading down a road with no final determination or destination. we're going to repeal the affordable care act, eliminating all the protections we have provided for 300 million americans, expanded coverage, expanded guarantees, benefits and quality and we don't know what's the alternative. waving around a bunch of papers does not mean there's a plan. does not mean that the republicans can say to the american public, here is what your health care is going to look like when we get finish with our repeal and replace. hey just can't do that.
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18% of the american people want this course of action, repeal without an aa replacement. if we go down this path, we won't have repeal and replace. we will have repeal and repent because we willow a huge apology to the american people. i urge my colleagues to reject this resolution and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. black: after all the debate we have had today, these facts remain. obamacare is failing. health coverage is becoming less affordable. health care is becoming less accessible and the american people want and deserve something better than this broken status he ". while my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are doing their best to defend this law and make excuses for the harm
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it's causing, republicans promised the american people we will not ignore those in our country who are suffering under the current health care system. today we have the opportunity to begin to bring relief to the american people. today's vote will kick start the reconciliation process which we can and must repeal obamacare and pave the way to a patient-centered health care system. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this resolution so we can pursue those solutions that will expand access to care, increase the quality and affordability of that care and to give the american people, not washington, the power to choose what best fits their individual need. thank you. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from tennessee yields back. pursuant to the rule, the concurrent resolution shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule and considered read.
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no amendment shall be order except the amendment printed in house report 115-4, such amendment may be offered by the member designated in the report and be considered as read and debatable for the terms specified in the report equally and divided and controlled by the proponent and opponent. now in order to consider amendment number 1 printed in house report 115-4. mr. yarmuth: mr. chairman, i have an an amendment in the nature of a substitute. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 printed in house report 115-4 offered by mr. yarmuth of kentucky. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky and a member opposed each will control five minutes. mr. yarmuth: the rush to eliminate affordable care act to take health insurance away from americans will introduce chaos
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into the insurance market and give millionaires a big tax cut. on top of that, it can significantly damage our economy. repeal will upend our nation's health care system. hospitals will see a spike in uncompensated care and higher prices for everyone and cost the nation 2.6 million jobs in 2019 including 4,000 jobs in kentucky and the hit to the economy will be trillions of dollars. repeal isn't about what's best for the american people. it is solely about politics and the financial interests of the well off and well connected. there is no logic to this. if republicans are determined to rush something through congress, we would suggest a totally different approach. let's look at areas where this congress and this incoming administration can work together to address a pressing challenge.
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members of both parties and the president-elect need to support our failing infrastructure and investing in transportation needs to create jobs and build a stronger economic future. the substitute i have offered today provides the budget procedures needed for such a bill to be considered. mr. chairman, i urge my colleagues to support this alternative budget so we can move our nation forward together. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky reserves. mrs. black: i claim the time in opposition. this would gar and tie that the american people continue to be harmed by obamacare and would ensure that insurance markets continue to collapse and that premiums and deduct i believe so continue to rise and parets have less access to health care
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choices. at a time when we are trying to provide relief to the american people and protect them from a failed and broken status quo, this amendment ignores those who are suffering under the law. it ignores the 20 million americans who either paid the penalty or sought an exemption from it because the costs for complying are too costly or not worth their trouble. it lacks the savings we achieved through our instruction. obamacare is collapsing and failing. and in order to get them that relief we need to reject this to
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ork. the chair: does she yield back? the gentleman from kentucky is recognized. mr. yarmuth: i yield to the gentlelady from florida, ms. wasserman schultz. shuts shuts as a mother and breast cancer survivor and proud floridian, i rise in strong opposition to the majority's irresponsible efforts to repeal the affordable care act because the facts speak for themselves. 20 million americans have obtained affordable care act. 129 million americans who like me had a pre-existing condition could no longer be discriminated against. our nation young adults can rest
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easy. allow me to remind my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we were legitimated to help americans. repealing the a.c.a. will not only rip health care but we owe it to the americans with employer-based coverage to maintain the prohibition against annual and lifetime limits. they had a lifetime limit on their insurance policy. the a.c.a. limits it. we owe it to our seniors. repeal of the life saving provisions would increase prescription drug costs for millions seniors who are saving more than 2,000 on their drugs by reopening the gap in part d coverage. the solvency of the medicare trust fund has been extended by 11 years and owe it to 129 million americans with
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pre-existing conditions to stop he repeal so they can't be overcharged. as a cancer survivor and i'm appalled that the republican plan or lack of a plan would increase out of pocket costs by requiring to pay for preventive services. this is an assault and outrage. we will fight tooth and nail for all americans and not return to the days when health care was a privilege to those who could afford or fortunate not to have a pre-existing condition. thank you. i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman's time has expired. mr. yarmuth: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen. mr. cohen: i see the buzz words about the repeal of the
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affordable care act, patient-centered, that sounds good and against bureaucrats and that sounds good. what they don't tell you is for the insurance companies and for the people to deal with it because the people will have to deal with the insurance companies in the future. the people don't want have to deal with insurance companies when their claims are den quide and won't pay them. that is what the american people are against and affordable care act was insurance reform on steroids and you can't have all of the insurance reform on steroids without government action looking out for the people versus the insurance company. they don't tell you about which people the other side is always concerned about who could use tax credits and get more money because they are in a higher tax rate than others and they will get more out of this. what we ought to be doing is
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trying to create jobs, jobs for people in infrastructure, construction jobs, people out there in middle america where america used to be first in infrastructure and now we are 28th in infrastructure. we need to have an infrastructure that gets goods to market and goods to the public for sale. that helps creates jobs further. jobs is what's important and when america used to be first. america has always been last in health care. we were the only one in the industrialized world without health care and republicans never wanted it. the affordable care act did good because it woke the people on the other side of the aisle to the tact that we needed to have a policy to make sure people had health care because they never cared about it. teddy roosevelt and richard nixon and romney cared about it, but they were mute and didn't
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say a word about it. all of a sudden because they saw something that was good. 2/3 of the people in tennessee like the affordable care act. pass this substitute amendment and create jobs. mr. yarmuth: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from pennsylvania, a new member of the budget committee, mr. boil. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. boyle: it is interesting that after six years of the repeal and replace here we are and we have repeal and maybe replace at some point. it shouldn't be very surprising considering what is obamacare? more than 20 years ago, senator bob dole, then the republican leader in the senate and a group of his colleagues introduced the republican alternative to the then democratic plan to expand health insurance to some 40
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million americans who didn't have it. the republican plan hatched at the heritage foundation instead of expanding medicare for all, let's create a system of taxes and tax credits and pool the uninsured together and enable them to buy private health insurance in the marketplace. fast forward two decades, barack obama comes to the white house wanting to compromise, wanting to create a system that would disrupt the health care system as little as possible and decides to go in this direction. and then suddenly all those on the other side who supported that idea for two decades suddenly decided it was socialism and couldn't possibly be the health care law. the reason they don't have an alternative to obamacare is because this is the market solution. this was the more moderate
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approach. this actually isn't a big government-run plan. so i am extending a hand to the other side, if they want to come up with a way to improve the affordable care act, there are many on this side who genuinely want to work on that. i already voted on ways we can improve the affordable care act and make some modifications, the same way we made modifications to medicare and medicaid many times since 1965. but, mr. speaker, if the real intent of the other side is just to strip away health insurance to 22 million americans, we will say no and continue to fight it. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from kentucky is recognized. mr. yarmuth: as i said in my closing to debate on the resolution itself, it would be wonderful if the republicans had a plan that they could describe
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to the american people and american families would know what would be in their health care future and it would be nice if they would wait to repeal the affordable care act until they could do that. i think the american people expect it. the poll i mentioned from kaiser, 82% of the people prefer to go in that direction. let's find out if there is a better way. i have said many times in public, the reason there has been no republican alternative to the affordable care act is because there are really only two alternatives, one is to go back to the era in which insurance companies decided who lived and died and the other one is to go to single payer like medicare. i would love i'd love to discuss that option, i believe many americans would love that. but instead they go back to the other direction, instead of
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patient-centered care, insurance-company centered care. but the important thing today is, we have an alternative here through which we can do something constructive to the american people, for the american people, something that will help the economy, that will make vital investments in o-- investments in our nation and the future economy, instead of putting the country's health care system at risk. that's what this amendment does. that's why i introduced it. that's why i urge my colleagues to support it. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from kentucky. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the noes have it. he amendment is not agreed to. mr. yarmuth: i request a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to the rule further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from kentucky will be
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postponed. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from tennessee seek reck snigs? mrs. black: i move that the committee rise. the chair: the motion is on the committee rising. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayings have it. accordingly, the committee rises. the speaker pro tempore: mr.
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chairman. the chair: mr. speaker, the committee of the whole house on the state of the union having had under consideration senate con surnt resolution 3 directs me to report it has come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the chair of the committee of the whole house on the state of the union reports that the committee has had under consideration senate concurrent resolution 3 and has come to no resolution thereon.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> pursuant to house resolution 48, i call up s. 84 and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: an act to provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as secretary of defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the armed forces. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 48, the bill is considered read. the bill shall be debatable for 90 minutes, equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the committee on armed forces. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and insert ex-trains you --
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mr. thornberry: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and material. aneous let me get right to it. we need to pass this legislation to allow general james m. mattis to serve as secretary of defense. it's true this is an extraordinary thing we're doing to pass a new law to pass a one-time exception to an underlying law so a particular individual can serve. the last time we did this was 67 years ago. our predecessors then faced challenging times and believed it was appropriate to go to extraordinary lengths to allow an exceptional individual, george c. marshall, to serve as secretary of defense. and history reveals that it was fortuitous that they chose to do
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so. we face challenging times today. we live in increasingly dangerous world and we confront it with a military that's been significantly damaged by budget cuts and other actions. and i believe it's appropriate, in fact, i believe it's necessary, for us to rise to meet the challenges of our time as our predecessors did in theirs and allow an exceptional leader to once again serve our country. now, there are legitimate complaints about the wording of the resolution about various procedural flaws, about not exempting general mattis from the ucmj and in that regard let me correct something i said before the rules committee last night a retired officer can be held accountable for acts after they retire, although never has that happened to someone in civilian office. but there are legitimate complaints about the
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president-elect's transition team refusing to allow general mattis to come to a hearing and testify before the house. even though he was very eager to do so himself. i share all of those concerns. i think it was a mistake and shortsighted to deny the house the opportunity to question general ma tuss on the issues related to this legislative exception. i think it was also a missed opportunity, by the way, it was an opportunity to facilitate giving him a large, bipartisan vote out of this house, which reflects the overwhelming bipartisan support that he has in this house. but getting back to the bottom line, even with those concerns, we have a responsibility to the men and women who serve, and i think we have a responsibility for the safety and security of every american, to see that there is a fully functional
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secretary of defense on day one of the new administration. the only way we can do that is to pass this legislation today. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the members of the armed services committee. we had a great debate on this, a lot of well thought out opinions were expressed in a respectful way. i want to thank the chairman because the second it was said that general matti sumbings was going to be the president-elect's choice for secretary of defense, he joined me in saying we wanted general mattis to appear before our committee to answer some questions. this is something that's only happened twice, the first time in 67 years, and we wanted an opportunity to do our job as the house armed services committee and hear from the nominee about how he felt about the separation, or the civilian
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control of the military which is the reason that this law was put in place in 1947. i thank the chairman for that. unfortunately, it didn't happen. one thing i would correct. we do have to pass this piece of legislation in order for general mattis to become sec retear of defense. we do not have to do it now. i'll explain more on how we can do that in just a second, but the problem with where we're at right now, because of the actions of the transition team, we basically, certainly on the house armed services committee, to some extent in the full house, are being treated as irrelevant. it was mentioned during our committee that general mattis received an 81-17 vote on this legislation in the senate. that's true, it was bipartisan , he appeared for the senate armed services committee. the senate armed services committee was given the respect to do their job. they heard him, asked him
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questions, didn't take very long, he was done by 12:30, and they voted. that didn't happen for us. really, it's sort of a two-step process in which the legislative branch, the house, was basically ignored and treated as irrelevant. first was in the continuing resolution that we passed to keep the government open where with guidance from the transition team they insisted on very specific language in the c.r. to set it up so that general mattis could be confirmed. we on the democratic side objected to a couple of things in that at a time but those objections were ignored an it was put in and we were not prepared to shut down the government over this issue since it was put into the c.r. the chairman has mentioned one of the problems with it, the biggest one, and that is in the past, in the case of general marshall, they exempted him from this provision that retired officers are subject to the ucmj. they did not exempt general
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mattis. then we're talking about civilian control of the military, if you have a military officer who is still subject to military law that blur thinks law between him being a military officer and him being a civilian. that's something we easily could have fixed. but the way they wrote it into the c.r., there was no way for us to do that. second and more -- i can't think of the right word, second and worse, we'll put it that way, as we said, we agree, we were going to have general mattis come and talk to us. both the chairman and i spoke to the general on the phone and he was anxious to come testify. three days ago we noticed that we were going to have a public earing with general mattis before us. answering our questions. and addressing whatever concerns we might have. and then the next day, 24 hours before he was supposed to appear, the transition team and as i'm led to believe, it was a low-level person on the transition team, said, no, we're
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not going to let him come. reporters have asked me many times, why did the transition team do that? the best answer to that question is, because they could. because they really didn't feel like. some people said, it would be a lot of effort a lot of work. like i said, general mattis testified before the senate committee, most of us watched it on television, he was done at 12:30. we were scheduled to have him at 2:30 he could have had a nice lunch, walked over to the house, sat down for an hour and the house armed services committee could have been permitted to do its job. the reason this is porn and i have heard for eight years, endless complaints from the republican side of the aisle about how president obama has ignored the legislative branch, how executive authority is making irrelevant the people's house, and how wrong that was, and on a numb of occasions i have agreed with them, that has happened. but here we are, before this president is even in office, at the very first opportunity , he
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is choosing to completely ignore us for no reason you cannot tell me that general mattis couldn't handle an hour and a half's worth of questioning in the house armed services committee. he's done it before, countless times. what we can do, what i think we should do, that i think we should have done at the time when they called up and said that, is we should have said, we appreciate your opinion but you need us to pass this law in order for general mattis to be sec retear of defense. we've been told he's going to appear before our committee. we have told our members of the committee and everybody else he's going to appear. and until he does, we're not going to pass that law. now i'm of the opinion fa -- that if we had said that, shown some become bone and stood up for what is our right as a legislative body, general mattis would have been available. etch today, i submit if we defeat this bill on the floor, we couldn't get him in by january 20, i gant you that, but we're back,ian 23, 24, we were
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scheduled to be here the 25th, i gather that got canceled, but we could certainly take that day back. we could wait three or four days, which i don't think would be the end of the world, and assert our authority as the legislative branch, because let me tell you something, if we set this precedent now, do you think president obama exercised executive authority in a high handed way ignoring the legislative branch? there's every indication that president-elect trump is going to have an even greater approach in that direction. so if we don't stand up for ourselves now, we're going to be rolled over countlessly. we all want to support general mattis, we want that bipartisan vote. the way to get that vote is to do what we said we were going to do have him come before the armed services committee and address the issues we want to raise. that's why i would ask this body to reject this motion now so we can have the armed service committees do its job.
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i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from south carolina, mr. wilson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. wilson: thank you, mr. speaker, thank you, mr. thornberry for yielding. i'm grateful to endorse the selection of general jim mattis for secretary of defense and based on his extraordinary background believe a waiver is appropriate. his recent experience in the middle east makes him uniquely qualified to address the threats to service members overseas and american families at home. i am confident that through his position, general mattis will continue the great traditions of civilian control of the military delivering peace through strength. my personal perspective of appreciate of general mattis is as the graste son of a world war ii flying tying who are served in ippedia and china. as the son in law of a marine whork received the navy cross for okinawa service. as a 31-year veteran myself of the army reserves and army
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national guard. when four sons who have served in the military, army field artillery in iraq, navy doctor in iraq and italy, as a signal officer in egypt, as an engineer in afghanistan, with the air force nephew serving in iraq. in his testimony before the senate yesterday, reaffirming the european reassurance initiative, general mattis spoke bluntly about the readiness crisis facing our military and we are eager to work with him on the critical task of rebuilding our national defense to promote peace through strength. simultaneously, bipartisan endorsements to me personally from his fellow marines confirm he's the right person at the right time. general mattis' swift confirmation is crucial to couldn't nuent for our ongoing military -- continuity for our ongoing military operations and protecting american families. i urge my colleagues to support the waiver for general mattis. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from virginia, mr.
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mceachin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for two minutes. mr. mceachin: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the ranking member for yielding. . speaker, i rise today in opposition to this bill. mr. speaker, every one of us in this body was elected to serve and represent the people of our district. doing our jobs means fairly and fully considering the legislation that comes before us. if we pass -- if we pass this measure, we would have failed to meet the incredible responsibility, our democracy depends in part on civilian control of the military. if we're going to appoint a recently retired general as the new secretary of defense, that decision calls for careful deliberation and informed debate. mr. speaker, i hear nothing but good things about the good general. but the good people of the fourth congressional district of virginia didn't hire me to take someone else's word for it. if we're going to waive this law that's been on the books for oh, so many years, members of this body deserve the opportunity to
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ask the general questions, to hear his answers, and to weigh his views. unlike our colleagues in the senate, members of this body do not have the opportunity to have a full committee hearing with the general. for that reason, i urge my colleagues to oppose this bill. i thank, again, the ranking member for his leadership and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from ohio, mr. turner. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for two minutes. mr. turner: thank you, mr. chairman. the united states and our allies currently face some of the most complex security challenges in our recent history. isis continues to sweep across much of the middle east. an expansionist china continue tos to develop its military -- continues to develop its military produce he is. we continue to face a nuclear threat poised by countries such as north korea and iran. and an increasingly hostile russia seeks to destabilize much of europe. it is imperative that the department of defense not lose continuity in leadership,
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administration and governance, general mattis must be confirmed expeditiously. such a lapse would create vulnerabilities in our national security strategy and would be detrimental to the safety and security of our armed forces. civilian control of the military is undoument doubtedly crucial to the success -- undoubtedly crucial to the success of our defense department. this candidate's military experience alone should not bar him from serving in a civilian role as the secretary of defense. it actually enhances the capabilities he brings to the job. this is a unique exception, for a candidate hose who's exemplary leadership and experience would come at a crucial time for our country and our men and women in uniform. i understand that many of our colleagues across the aisle are choosing to vote against a waiver for general mattis, despite the fact that they support general mattis himself as an eminently qualified nominee for the secretary of defense. that is a mistake. to do so is self-feeting. under these circumstances --
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self-defeating. under these circumstances, a vote against this is a vote against general mattis himself, from becoming our next secretary of defense. i want to thank chairman thornberry for his leadership throughout this important deliberation and for his work for obtaining this waiver for general mattis and for the future of the service of general mattis to our country. i urge our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support s. 84. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: thank you. i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from california. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognize fword minutes. mrs. davis: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i opposed similar legislation in a markup yesterday and i cannot support it today. my concerns are not with the exceptional qualifications and decades of honorable service of general mattis. but i am opposed to a process that has made this house irrelevant. we have an obligation under the law to review this nomination based ognjen mattis' military service -- based on general
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mattis' military service, a law that codified the principle of civilian control of the military. general mattis agreed and was even eager, according to the chairman, to speak before the armed services committee. the people have the right to know that the approximately al -- that the presidential transition team blocked him from hearing. the american people don't care that unelected members -- what unelected members of the transition team think and would much rather hear from general mattis why we here in the house should grant this exception to law. his testimony would be in all of our best interests. the general could certainly start the new relationship that he has with the house armed services committee, with our committee, through a thoughtful productive conversation onon the issues. so today, we're casting off our duty and agreeing to be irrelevant, to accept this legislation without making the appropriate changes, without fully participating in this legislative process, under a
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closed rule, we are doing nothing to safeguard civilian control of our military. in fact, we are accepting poorly wadge and we're not performing proper -- language and we're not performing proper oversight. why are we doing that? because president-elect's transition team said so. my colleagues have said that there is no requirement that general mattis speak before us. but i want to say to them, why cede our power to the senate? both houses of congress have a duty here. why let a nation administration push us and a distinguished general around? i will not roll over and allow the transition team to dictate the charge of the people's house. we can fix this, mr. speaker, and we should. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from alabama, mr. rogers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from alabama is recognized for two minutes. mr. rogers: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise today in strong support of the rule and passage of h.r. 393, to allow retired general
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james mattis to become our nation's 26th secretary of defense. first of all, i'd like to say that i believe civilian control over our military is one of the pivotal principles of our republic. this body must ensure that our military leaders remain accountable to civilian authorities, les we -- lest we puft our hard-won liberties at -- we put our hard-won liberties at risk. first, does the appointment of james mads i -- mattis present any threat at all to the con department of civilian control of -- concept of civilian control of our military? the answer is clearly no. he's demonstrated his openness as a straight shooter throughout his career. i'm confident he will continue to candidly face the problems in the department of defense and be a positive force for change. it is james mattis' record of open mindedness, his almost four-year separation from the defense interest that assures me that this waiver, as a unique
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measure, pose noes risk to civilian control of the military -- poses no risk of civilian control of the military. the second question is, the appointment of james mattis worth waiving the seven-year requirement? the answer is clearly yes. the united states armed forces are at a pivotal moment in their history. after eight years of neglect under this administration, our military has been brought to its lowest point in the past four decades. james mattis has the experience, knowledge and leadership skills to rally the services while they rebuild over the next -- for the next four decades. he will start on day one with a strong grasp of the challenges facing our military and with the ideas to meet those challenges. that's why i support this one-time waiver which will allow james mat toys serve as our nation's -- mattis to serve as our nation's 26th secretary of defense. thank you, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: i now yield three minutes to the gentleman from .evada, ms. rosen
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from nevada is recognized for two minutes. ms. rosen: thank you. mr. smith: that was three, actually, sorry. the speaker pro tempore: the chair apologizes. the gentlelady is recognized for three minutes. ms. rosen: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in opposition to this legislation. in the aftermath of world war ii, leaders from both parties, who many in this house revere to this day, developed the principle of civilian control of our armed forces and codified it into law. they this even -- they had seen the rise of fascism and communism and held this principle dear because they believed it was necessary for the safety of our democracy. is the outgrowth of a long tradition of think being civil military relations as old as our republic itself, going back to the founders. and yet, almost all of these same leaders and legislators made an exception for general george marshall. when they did so, they did not take the action lightly. the exception in 1950 did a number of things that this legislation does not, which my colleagues have spoken about. all are serious, but i want to highlight one. the exception in 1950 named
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general marshall by name. and applied the exception only to him. this bill does not name general mattis and it is written more broadly. the principle of civilian control of the armed forces was important to the greatest generation and it was an exception in every sense, an exception for an exceptional individual. this matter should not be rammed through congress. there are serious issues to discuss. i believe civil military relations remain vitally important to the american people and to the health of our democracy. i believe that general mattis is an excellent general officer, he has served our nation well and he will be a capable secretary of defense. my opposition to this legislation is not about general mattis's capacity to serve in this role. but i ask, mr. speaker, why is this legislation written so it could apply to other individuals not named -- why does this not
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have the exception and not name general mattis and state that this is only for him? we are being asked to rush, without conducting proper oversight, without holding a hearing, and after being prevented by an unelected transition team to hear from the general himself. this is the people's house. the house should have a proper hearing before a decision of this magnitude is made. the general should have been allowed to testify before our committee, as i am told was his desire. if today's legislation addressed these concerns, which should have been achieved -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for an additional half minute. ms. rosen: my vote would likely be different today. but i cannot, given this process and this language, vote for this legislation today in good conscience. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from virginia, mr. wittman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for two minutes. mr. wittman: thank you, mr. speaker. i ridse in support of s. 84, a
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bill that would allow for general james mattis to be considered for appointment as the 26th secretary of defense of the united states. leading up to this vote, i've heard time and time again from my colleagues that they respect general mattis, his service to our country. i've also heard that they understand him to be an intelligent, capable leader. some have even gone so far as to say he's a military hero and i don't doubt the sincerity of my colleagues' words. in fact, i echo them. but for some of my colleagues this praise for general mattis is followed by what i believe is a flawed line of thinking. i've heard the argument that this vote we have before us today is not about general mattis. my friends, today's vote is clearly about general mattis. make no mistake. a yes vote today will not permanently change the requirements prohibiting the appointment of anyone inside seven years of active duty service. this vote will provide a
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one-time-only exception for general mattis. a man of utmost character. the original intent of this law was to prevent an active duty service member from retiring and then becoming secretary of defense within the same presidential administration. with president-elect trump raising his right hand in seven days, it is clear that general mattis does not violate the laws original -- the law's original intent. the fact that we are here to deliberate this issue only proves that the nomination and appointment process works. i'm encouraged that we're having this debate today, but at the end of the day, we should not deny the best candidate to become the secretary of defense. a vote of no is a vote against general james mattis. i urge my colleagues in joining me in voting for an exceptional american, james mattis.
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i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: this is not a vote against general mattis, i've made that very, very clear. i think it's important for the house to have an opportunity to hear from him as we said we were going to do yes, he appeared before the senate, but after the transition is over and the new secretary of defense is in place they come up and report the budget to us. the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff come up. they go to the senate too. are we going to say, we can watch the senate on television so why does he need to go to both polices? why bother having him come over to the house and have our members have the opportunity to ask him questions? i don't want to set that precedent. as passionate as the previous speaker was, please understand, i've expressed this directly to general mattis. this is not a vote against general mattis.
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if we have our opportunity to do our job as the house armed service committees and do not simply roll over for the presidential transition team, we'd be more than happy to support general mattis in a bipartisan way and we have plenty to have time to do this right instead of doing in it a rushed way that disregards the power and importance of the house armed services committee. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. hunter. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hunter: i rise in strong support of s. 84. here's what i think this is about. we feel slighted. we in congress feel slighted that the trump administration did not dane to have general mattis come and speak to us, the house, which is not required by any law or any statute. we feel slighted. i would feel -- i do feel the same way the ranking member feels in terms of what the administration, how they're treating the house of representatives and this body. but it's times like this where
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we need to rise above the slights from this trump administration. the future trump administration. i think there's going to be a few more. i think the -- this future administration does not hold this body in the highest regard. that's going to become evident over the next four years. and i think we're going to have to take things like this as a body and do what's best for this nation. that's why the arguing with the process, the house was slighted by the future president, i understand that. i feel that as well. but it's time for taos say, we need to be above that. this is about the future of the nation, about our men and women serving in conflict, right now, under fire and they need general mattis as their secretary of defense. for those who assert that the marshall prohibition which bars, in the absence of a waiver a general from becoming secretary of defense a glance at the erpgsal chain of command is in order. under the u.s. constitution, the command of the armed services
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flows from the president to the those ry of defense to leaders around the world. general mattis will bring insight to a job that no background in academia or business could ever provide. lastly, when i met general mattis for the first time, i was going up to iraq from kuwait, we got ambushed by machine gun, got shot in the arm, drops into my humvee, we pull out of the ambush area, my convoy gets up to the area with jim mat tuss is, i'd never met him, i'd heard about him. i was lieutenant in the corps, didn't know much about much. there's general mattis in the operations center. he turns to me tissue mr. thornberry: i yield an additional 30 seconds. lieutenant he said, hunter, good to see you. he said, did you kill him?
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i said, who? he said the guys who ambushed. i said no, we followed procedure and drove out of the ambush area. he said, next time, son, you need to kill them. every man and woman in the armed service's hearts willing filled with pride when he is worn in. mr. smith: i yield myself such time as i may consume. what the gentleman said in the first part of his remarks is the trump administration is going to ignore us and we need to get used to it. that's not my interpretation of our jobs. i think we were elected as well. particularly on the armed services committee. and in our leches we got more votes than our opponents, that's how we were able to get here. so i don't think we should simply roll over for the tump administration because that's the way he is likely to behave. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from colorado, mr. coffman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. coffman: i rise in strong support of s. 84. general james mattis if we look back at the origin of this 1947 law and the aftermath of world war 2, it was really written to require, i think at that time, 10 years separation between anybody who served in the military and then serving as secretary of defense. i think one of the core reasons for that is the fact that, would there in fact be a bias between that military officer and their branch of service. i think with general mattis, when we look at this waiver, that's not the case. he was the combatant commander for joint forces command when it was standing. and the purpose of joint forces command was to integrate our military together in terms of
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jointness. it was very -- he was very successful at that. that bias is not going to be there. in the state of colorado , he came out about a year ago to speak before the university of colorado-denver to our veterans association. and i'll never forget those young marines and soldiers who had served under him in combat, those junior enlisted, how they looked up to him in a way i've never seen junior enlisted look up in my time in the army and marine corps, never look up to a flag officer in the same way. so i think he's going to be such an extraordinary asset to the national security of this country. i'm proud to rise in support of senate bill 84. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield one minute to the gentleman from california a new member of the armed services committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, i want to say what an honor it is to be on this
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committee with chairman thornberry and ranking member smith. when i joined i was told this is one of the only bipartisan committees in the house and while we had a disagreement and i associate myself with ranking member smith's remarks, i will say to me the debate seems civil, seemed genuine on philosophical and constitutional principles an i'm hopeful that after this debate we will be able to work in a bipartisan way. i know general mattis was out in silicon valley, he has tremendous respect in the valley for dealing with issues of cybersecurity and the future of the military. i think some of those ideas can help our troops and i look forward to working on the committee to working on those initiatives. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from missouri, mrs. hartzler. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. hartzler: i rise as an
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advocate for the united states mill air and -- military and the selfless men and women who fill its ranks. while i appreciate the comments my colleagues are making, this is an extraordinary time as we consider this legislation and an extraordinary man about whom we are talking. in just one week, we'll have a new president and that tells us we should have the president's secretary of defense to step in and assume control of the department of defense that day as well. our soldier, sailor, airmen and marines mouf their organization's leader in position. that clear and steady leadership is crucial when lives are on the line. to save our military's readiness under our -- the state of our military's readiness under our current administration is worth mentioning too. many of our aircraft are old, never before has there been such extraordinary challenges to the training and equiping of our
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forces. we ask our troops to stand ready to and fight against an emergent china, unavailable north crew yeah and widespread violent terrorism. never before has there been an extraordinary demand as this time on our men and women in uniform. these are extraordinary times with extraordinary circumstances. general mattis is the extraordinary man who will lead the department of defense in the direction it so desperately needs. for this reason, i urge my colleagues to vote yes on this measure. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from ohio, mr. wenstrup. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. wenstrup: i rise in strong support of providing a waiver permitting the confirmation of general james mattis to the office of secretary of defense.
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he is an extraordinary leader. at a time when the united states faces threats around the globe, his unique skill set and experience render him worthy of this exceptional legislation. this is one of general mattis' nomination strengths, not weaknesses. just as everyone is a civilian before they join the military, they return to civilian life when they leave it. since becoming a civilian 3 1/2 years ago, general mattis' has thoughtfully analyzed the civilian-military relationship cork editing an analysis of the state of military-civilian relations today. this includes recommendations to ensure our military are braided tightly to our broader society in a manner that will keep alive our ex-trerment in democracy. he's demonstrated a mastery of all aspects of american leadership on a global stage. he has a keen grasp of the value
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of diplomacy and has been a strong supporter of the state department in its valuable mission. through his decades of service he's accumulated a deep understanding of the importance of deterrence and how a well guarded peace can prevent conflict before it begins. as a seasoned strategic thinker, he's been an insis i critic of current and serious long-term planning for mesh national security that hasn't really existed. general mattis knows firsthand the reality of combat and the stakes involved in any decision to use military force. the united states needs a secretary of defense i quipped to use every tool necessary to defend our nation and edebt -- and defeat our adversaries. because of his unique capabilities to address the multitude of threats our country faces today, i urge all my colleagues to support this legislation and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the from washington.shington.
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mr. smith: i would point out that because of the way this law is written, general mattis will not be going back to civilian life after he leaves, he's still subject to ucmj and therefore in some ways is still a military office while he be, quote, the civilian head of the defense department. with that, i yield three minutes to the gentlelady -- to the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for three minutes. ms. jackson lee: i thank the gentleman, i thank him specifically for the clarity on the status of general mattis as the legislation is written. i think it is important, mr. speaker, that all of us who stand make sure the american people know of our greatest respect and honor for general mattis. his history of service to this nation, his tactical expertise, and his ability to acknowledge the constitutional underpinnings of which this nation is based is without question.
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but we have, as my colleagues have said on the other side of the aisle, a very serious moment in history. in the public domain, it is a conspicuous intrusion of russia in the election of 2016. but there's also knowledge of other areas of which they have used the cybersystem for cyberwarfare. the talent of military persons is welcomed. but that is the strength of this nation. and we don't yield wednesday this little book called the constitution which has, as i indicated, its essence that our nation is governed by the civilian population under principles of democracy and equality, the recognition of the three branches of government, and the separation of military
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and civilian. this waiver is extraordinary. this waiver, i believe, undermines the very sense of the freedom of our military. ability to counsel as a separate entity. and it undermines again the idea that in 1947, our congress decided to acknowledge an only way to general dnd and only waived to general marshall because of the potential concern and catastrophe of the korean conflict, now korean war. it has not been done since. so i'd ask my colleagues whether or not we're going to bend, not bend the arc toward justice and recognition of the constitution, but bend at any moment of
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convenience. i do not believe this is a time in history to bend for convenience. . i believe general mattis would agree with his very fine record, that civilian control of the government should be superior, and raise the question himself, if asked, whether or not this waiver is for this time and for now and whether or not we are in such a moment of history that that waiver needs to be granted. my view is that it does not. my view is that we should in essence adhere to the regularness of constitutional premise and also to recognize the well established separation of civilian and military. at this time i want to thank general mattis for his service and i would argue that this resolution should receive a no vote from our colleagues in the united states house of representatives. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from alabama, mr. byrne.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from alabama is recognized for two minutes. mr. bryne: thank you for yielding, mr. chairman. i support this legislation, in order to ensure general james mattis can become the next united states secretary of defense. it is critically important to our military men and women, as well as to the safety and security of the american people, that the trump administration has a capable, competent secretary of defense in place on january 20. our soldiers, sailors and airmen need to know who their leader is. and we should do everything we can to minimize any gap in leadership. general mattis is uniquely qualified for this vital role and his nomination has earned praise from both democrats and republicans, as shown by the vote yesterday in the united states senate. during his over 40 years of service to our country, he has consistently shown both a great appreciation for the true toils of conflict and the clear ability to defeat an enemy. that is an important balance for anyone leading our military. i know some of my colleagues on the other side have concerns about the process. let's not get caught up in a
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process fight when it comes to the safety and security of the american people. the fundamental question should be, do you or do you not support general mattis serving as our secretary of defense? when i found out general mattis would not be appearing before our committee, of course i was disappointed. but i pulled out my copy of the meditations of the roman emperer, which is his favorite book. carries it with him everywhere. if you read those meditations, you know where they were written. they were written on the northern frontier of the roman empire, where he spent several years to be with his legion airs as they fought against the men i -- the enemy across the line. in those meditations, he talks about the importance of humility. any general who reads the meditations consistently, so that he can remember that his duty is to his soldiers and to a humility before the power that he has, is someone who should be
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leading the department of defense of the united states. i have great confidence that he knows that the strength of our military lies in the men and women that fight for us. so i urge my colleagues to support this important legislation, to help pave the way for general mattis to lead our military, and protect the safety and security of the american people. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: we reserve. the speaker pro tempore: continues to reserve his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. russell. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized for two minutes. mr. russell: thank you, mr. speaker. and mr. chairman. what is it that objecters are truly afraid of? we hear the word civilian control of the military, as if somehow those american citizens that have borne the brunt of service or battle are somehow no longer entitled to their citizenship. forever imprinted with some mark of cane. what are opponents trying to say? is it that we are afraid of the warrior class? we are afraid that they might
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cause war? american battle-hardened warriors understand the need to prevent human suffering. the chaos of destroyed communities, the loss of order, the lack of public services. and carnage caused by weapons, disease or hopelessness. my own observation is that the greatest saber-rattling often seems to occur from politicians that have never borne the sword. what are opponents trying to say? is it, we are afraid they might take over the government? if there was ever an opportunity for that concern, it was in the 1790's. president george washington, a general, was revered. he had appointed to his cabinet five generals. and a couple of colonels. if there was ever a time for a military takeover of the united states, it was then. instead, george washington reling wished the most important -- relinquished the most important powerful position in the land. he, like all warriors, understood what it meant to serve their country. if you look at our own secretaries of state historically, nearly 1/3 had
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military service with 10 obtaining senior rank. the parade of notable senior warriors serving a secretary -- as secretary of state remind us that military leaders have often made the best foreign policy for our country. i know such concerns about military takeover there. on observation it appears as if america has a phobia of civilian control of diplomacy. general mattis is a warrior. who will put the national security and peace of the united states above all other concerns. he will do it with humility and continued selfless service. he needs to be wavered and confirmed immediately for the good of our country. thank you, mr. speaker, and mr. chairman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington continues to reserve. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from mississippi, mr. kelly. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi is recognized for two minutes. jerry kelly mr. speaker, i rise -- mr. kelly: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of the legislation that would allow general james mattis to be allowed to serve as secretary of
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defense. as a member of congress, we're sworn to uphold the constitution and defend our country against its enemies. in order to secure our national security, we must have a seamless transition from one administration to another when it comes to military leadership. i somehow wonder which other cabinet appointees has the house questioned. and the answer is, none. although this requires a waiver, there's a senate confirmation process that determines whether or not general james mattis is the right person. so they are not -- i wish he would have testified in our committee, there's no requirement that he testify in front of our committee. that is why we have the senate. it is their duty to vet the candidates for these positions. it is their duty to confirm the candidates for each of the cabinet positions, and no other member who is trying to be on the cabinet has to come before the house and testify. i do wish general mattis is,
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because he would have excelled rbling like he's done in every other -- excelled, like he's done in every other thing he's done in his life. i have concerned -- concerns about the legislation undermining civilian control also, but i also, like colonel russell, think that there may not necessarily be the need for that. but even if there is, there is civilian control of the military. the president is commander in chief. the secretary of defense answers to the commander in chief who is a civilian. some people say inner service rivalry may be the reason they want him to stay out for seven years. i can assure that you 30 years from today, general mattis will be as much a marine as he is today and seven years or four years or 10 years or 30 years will not prevent him from being a marine every day for rest of his life, as it was the days preceding it. passing this legislation ensures
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that our military will have a leader on the day the president is sworn in. like my member before me -- mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield an additional 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi is recognized for an additional 30 seconds. mr. kelly: general grant served as commanledser in chief of the union armies and later of all the armies of the u.s. and then was president within four years of having that title. general eisenhower served as supreme commander and then served as president of the united states. the ultimate civilian authority. and general washington was also our first president. i ask that we pass this legislation and that we say yes to general mattis. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington. with 26 minutes remaining. mr. smith: thank you. i yield myself 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: not to be a stickler for detail, but we're actually not giving a waiver here. we're changing the law. that is what makes this appointment different. when you confirm someone to the
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cabinet, the gentleman's absolutely right. the senate, that's their authority, it's in the constitution, we don't get involved in that. but when you're changing a law, the house has a say in that. it's the senate and the house. this debate actually makes me even more strongly opposed to this bill, as i continue to hear about how, we just don't matter, the senate's got it, trump's got it. what do we need to do? we have a responsibility as the house, and when you're changing a law, it has to go through the senate and the house. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman reserve his time? the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentleman from texas, with 26 minutes remaining. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield to the gentleman from wisconsin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized for two minutes. mr. gallagher: mr. speaker, like every marine of my generation, during my time in the corps, i gained a profound respect for general jim mattis is simply the finest warrior we've produced. much has been made in the last
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few weeks about his war fighting prowess. what commands my respect, why i -- why i rise today, and what i believe binds jim so closely to the hearts of everyone who has ever worn the uniform, is his humility. general mattis understands not only how to wield military power, desifle -- decisively, but also its limit. general mattis also realizes that the true source of our military strength doesn't come from the e-ring of the pentagon, but rather from the fighting spirit of the brave soldiers, sailors i.r.s., airmen and marines that -- sailors, airmen and marines that are deployed right now, doing a very dangerous job. as the chairman mentioned, they deserve a secretary of defense on day one, and with jim mattis as that secretary, they will have a leader that always puts their welfare first and their mission first. i respect the concerns of my colleagues about the long standing principle of civilian control of the military. but i know jim mattis personally and i know how seriously he holds this principle as well.
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when i deployed to iraq in 2007, and again in 2008, it was the words of general mattis that reminded us that if we ever somehow showed contempt for civilian -- showed contempt for civilians, we would give the enemy a victory. so i say for the mission's sake, for our country's sake, and the sake of men and women who have carried our colors in past battles, let's come together today in support of jim mattis and thereby send a signal to the world that there's once again no better friend, no worse enemy, than the united states of america. thank you, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from nebraska, mr. bacon. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from nebraska is recognized for two minutes. baker-hamilton baker-hamilton i rise in support of -- mr. bacon: i rise in support of this, so we can have general mattis as our next secretary of defense. today our nation's confronted with a complex array of transregional threats. we exist in one of the most dynamic and dangerous periods in our history, and these list of
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threats grow more vast. more dangerous. and in the meantime, our ness, are at dangerous lows and our modernization falls behind. amidst these dangers, we're fortunate to be presented with a historic opportunity. select and elevate one of the most distinguished military leaders in our nation's history to the position of secretary of defense. general mattis is many things, he's an infantry marine, a decorated warrior, an experienced combat leader, and respected commander who has fought our nation's wars, knows firsthand the human costs of war and the consequences of operating unguided by strategy. james mattis is also a strategic think who are understands true strength and security results from coordinated application of all elements of national power. our diplomatic influence, our economic wealth, our values, and only when absolutely necessary, our military force. mr. speaker, not since george marshall have we had a nominee whose distinguished military service record and mast riff
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operational art is matched by his intellectual prowess and grasp of strategy. one thing else is clear. not since general george marshall have we needed this type of leader as our secretary of defense. we need a secretary of defense mattis on day one of the trump administration. a vote no means we won't have him on day one. it could be day three or day 30. our men and women in uniform deserve general mattis as their secretary of defense on day one. these are extraordinary times an general mattis is an extraordinary leader. we need him on day one. i urge support for the one-time exception and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from indiana, mr. banks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from indiana is recognized for two minutes. mr. banks: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise today to express my strong support for granting a waiver for james mattis' -- continuing his distinguished service to our nation as our next secretary of defense.
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we live in deeply troubling times, as america's standing in the world and our military readiness have both deteriorated significantly over the past eight years. whether it is only 1/3 of active armies brigade combat teams being ready for combat, or marines being forced to pull spare parts from museum aircraft to repair their fa-18 superhornet fighter jets, these are not the marks of a ready force. . this moment requires trusted leadership and someone with a genuine understanding of what is required of our brave men and women to stand ready when our nation calls. there is no one better equipped to understand the dangers we face, how to repair our world image, and set us on a path to rebuilding our military than president-elect trump's nominee for secretary of defense, general james mattis. general mattis embodies all the traits we should look for when looking for a secretary of
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defense. as a member of the armed services committee, i look forward to working with him to put our military back on sure footing and advance our nation toward peace and stability. i encourage my colleagues to vote yes on the measure and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. rothfus. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. rothfus: i rise today in support of this legislation. civilian control of the military is a very important principle that has served our country well. current law provides that there should be a seven-year gap between military service an serving as defense department secretary. this is a yen rule but we know there are always exceptions to the rule. that is what this legislation makes today, clearing the path for a retired yen who has been back in the civilian world for more than 3 1/2 years. i support this exception because we live in exceptional times. over the past 15 years we have seen millions of american
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service members deployed overseas. thousands are still deployed. they have served well and served with courage. many of them and their families have paid a particularly heavy price. more than 6,000 did not come home. tens of thousands sustained life-changing injuries. thousands have injuries we cannot see. and many families broke under the pressure of repeated deployment. retired general james mattis, now a civilian, has been there. he's been with these soldiers, he's been with these families. i appreciate the perspective general mattis will bring to the defense department and president-elect's national security team he understands. more than most. in a very personal way. the gravity of putting our service members in harm's way. he understands the moral obligation we have to ensure that those who are sent into harm's way are properly equipped. as important , he will be able to convey to his national security counterparts the impact decisions made in washington
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have on the war fighter. general mattis is the right person at the right time. i encourage my colleagues to support this waiver and vote for this legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington's time is reserved. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from florida, mr. desantis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. desantis: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of this measure. i think it's important when you talk about civilian control, jim mattis is a civilian. heist not in command of any marine divisions right now and i don't think prior military service should be held against him when he has the ability to offer service to the country. i hear he's retired general, he subject to the ucmj. that's not an argument that has much merit. if that were the case you couldn't have military -- retired military officers serve in the congress. if they were still considered military officers it would violate the incompatibility
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clause of the constitution this seven-year statutory restriction is understandable but i don't think it's act rosanth. if you back to the founding of our country a seven-year restriction would have prevented george washington from being the first civilian command for the chief because he had resigned his commission in 1784, he took the oath of office as our first president 1789. no nobody -- nobody was under any illusionings -- illusions he was a civilian. it's true the founders feared the civil being subordinate to the military. but that's because they thought the republic could be overrun by a military hundred ta. but we don't have that danger here -- junta. but we don't have that danger here. we have a civilian president, we have rules prescribing regulationers in armed forces and we will have jim mattis a civilian, as secretary of defense this man, jim mattis,
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has been a faithful servant to our country and he's a strategic thinker who i think can do a great job rebuilding our military and getting our national security policy on a firmer, stronger foundation. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman sfr washington continues to reserve. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from virginia, mr. taylor. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is rick nooze -- recognized for two minutes. mr. taylor: thank you, mr. speaker, mr. chairman. i rise to speak in support of yen mattis. i rise to speak to my colleagues, both republican and democrat. i rise to appeal to the unity of our chamber, unity of our voice to the world. unity for our men and women who voluntarily fight on our behalf. less than 1% of this nation has gone forth for the past 15 years over and over. sacrificing their youth, time with their loved ones, and sometimes their lifes. -- lives. imagine, you're standing there
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next to your spouse, best friend, a flag-dripped coffin passes you by, carried by an honor guard, uncontrollable tears flow around the room as the ceremonial flag is tightly folded presented the stoic gold star family. amazing grace on the bagpipes is the most beautiful and most dreadful ever heard you yearn to hear it again and never want to hear it again. men and women like general mattis who have been here understand the true cost of war. men and women like general mattis will think deliberately and carefully about putting the military into harm's way. they'll fight very hard to put the tools and leadership in the hands of the military members so they may win. military members, perhaps more than our civilian counterparts, understand civilian control of he armed forces.
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in every headquarters building general mattis or anyone else has served in, there's a prominentties display of pictures of civilian leadership above military commanders. i'm not naive to the politics, i too believe he should have been here yesterday. but those opposed have made their point. we were divided yesterday, we can unify today. i ask that you rise above politics. i ask you to support general mattis, not just with your words but with your vote. i ask that you show the same unity military members show each other every single day. let's give them a leader on day one. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington continues to reserve. the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i inform the chair i have no additional requests for time and reserve the balance of my time in order to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves his time. the gentleman from washington with 25 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. smith: thank you, mr. chairman. i will not take the full 25 1/2.
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so you can relax. i do yield myself the balance of the time. i thank the folks for the debate. i think it's been very good, as it was in committee. but it is disturbing to hear this described as, you know, politics or we feel slighted and we should rise above that. this isn't what this is about. it is about us exercising our constitutional authority as members of the house and our constitutional authority as members of the armed services committee. it's about us being relevant in the process and doing our jobs. as i said in the opening, and again there is every opportunity to confirm and then also pass this change in the law that's necessary to make general mattis the next secretary of defense. we can simply insist that the transition team that he appear before our committee. as i have pointed out if we'd done that in the first place, we could have met the january 20 deadline and even now we could still do it by january 23 or 24. and i don't think a few days
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would make that big a difference compared to the institution of the house actually mattering. now i will say that as i listen to the debate today, i become even a little bit more disturbed as we've heard some of the reasoning behind supporting this change in the law to allow general ma tuss -- mattis to become secretary of defense. as i said, basically the trump administration is going to do this thing frequently as one member of the opposite party said. so we should just get used to it. i really do think that makes it all the more important that at this point, a this moment that we assert our authority. and again, we can do that. and have a bipartisan vote. and approve general mattis. we just have to insist upon it instead of rolling over and accepting what the transus team has said. that's my original argument, i will not belabor or restate it, i think it is compelling. i think we should stand up for our rights here in the house and
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on the armed services committee. the final thing i will say is while i have an enormous amount of respect for general mattis and like many who have spoken, i have not served in the armed services, i didn't work with him there but i have worked with him on the committee, i will point out that general mattis is not god. as we listen to people talk about how we absolutely have to have somebody from the warrior class lead us, we have to have him in there in order to protect us from this dangerous world, that sort of language kind of makes me a little nervous. that's the point of civilian control of the military. we do not want to be run by the warrior class alone. now absolutely, we have many members on both sides of the aisle who have served in the military and that's terrific. that perspective is enormously important. it is not the only perspective that's important to running a representative democracy. we've heard comparisons to the roman empire, again, another analogy that is somewhat
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troubling. that's not what we want. but more than anything, what we don't want is we don't want a president who thinks that he can roll over the house armed services committee and the entire house any time he feels like, frankly as in this case, for no reason. general mattis, as everyone admitted, was perfectly prepared to testify, perfectly prepared to come forth and they simply decided not to send him. i don't think it was mere pettiness or anything like that. you the, i have watched the way president-elect trump conducts himself and he is, shall we say, aggressive. and i think they wanted to make it clear they're going to be running things and we better get the heck out of the way. that's not what i was elected -- elected to do as a member of the house armed services committee or a member of the house. we are not here simply to get out of the way of president obama or president-elect trump. we are here to stand up for the people who elected us, for the country, and to do our jobs. in this case, for no good reason, we were denied the ability to do that.
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so again, i will urge members to vote down this bill today is that we can assert our authority hear from general mattis, get him approved, go forward, and do it in a way that shows that the house of representatives and the house armed services committee actually matter. we cannot set the precedent that the president of the united states can simply ignore us on a whim. so i would urge us to vote no on this matter. i yield back. i again want to thank the chairman for his leadership on this, we've worked closely on this issue amongst many others an echo the comment of the feshman colleague from california, thises a bipartisan committee. it will continue to be. we've done a bill for 55 straight years. i'm hoping to make it 56 this year. i look forward to working with chairman thornberry and all the members of the committee and all the members of the house to achieve that goal. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas with 8 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. thornberry: i yield myself
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the balance of my time. i completely agree this is a bipartisan committee. we have a large amount of agreement but we have a difference of judgment on what is best for the country. i would say to all members we are about to do our job, that is vote up or down on legislation that would allow general mattis to serve. now, we're not irrelevant because if we don't vote for this legislation, he does not serb. so that's what members are elected to do, to vote. we're about to vote, and we have essentially two choices. the comment, mr. speaker, as i made clear, i share many of the concerns about the process, about some of the decisions that the transition people made. there has been a lot of discussion about this setting a poor precedent. but actually, there's only one precedent before us, that was 1950 with general marshall, and general marshall himself did not
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testify in front of the house or the senate. on the waiver legislation. it was only after the waiver legislation was signed into law that general marshall came to testify in front of the senate for his confirmation hearing. but there is nothing that is different from what we're doing today from the only pless dent that exists. so the notion that we are suddenly irrelevant, that we are harming the house, etc., i believe is mistaken. i hope that we do not have a national security crisis on january 21 or 22, but the fact is, unless we pass this bill today, we are not able to have a secretary of defense on january 20. and i think given the state of the world, given a number of other factors, it is important that we do so. two other brief points, mr. speaker. the press is reporting that the
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white house has indicated that president obama will sign this legislation. i hope he does. that would ensure that yen mattis, if confirmed by the senate on january 20, will go ahead and be sworn in and take office at that point. there are, as i said, many concerns about how this was handled, the wording, etc. but the bottom line as some of my colleagues mentioned is that there are men and women who volunteered to serve our nation even at the risk of their own lives. there are americans throughout the country that depend on those men and women to keep them safe and secure. they deserve, all of them deserve, to have a secretary of defense who is fully functional on tai one of the administration. the only way that happens is to vote yes. i urge my colleagues to do so. and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: all time for debate has expired.

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