tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN February 2, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
the chair: on the state of the union has had under consideration h.r. 3582 and pursuant to house resolution 534, i report the bill back to the house with an amendment adopted in the committee of the whole. 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 h.r. 3582 and reports the bill back to the house with an amendment adopted in the committee of the whole. under the rule the previous question is ordered. is a separate vote demanded on the amendment to the amendment reported by the committee of the whole? if not, the question is on adoption of the amendment in the nature of a substitute as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. the question is on engrossment and third reading of the bill.
those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ace have it. third reading. the clerk: a bill to amend the congressional budget act of 1974, to provide for a macroeconomic analysis of the impact of legislation. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from iowa seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i have a motion to recommit at the desk. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. is the gentleman from iowa opposed to the bill? >> i am opposed to the bill in its current form. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman qualifies. the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: mr. boswell of iowa moves to report the bill to the committee with the budget with instructions to report the same back to the house with the following amendment. after section 407-b of the congressional budget act of 1974, as added by section , insert the following new
subsection c and redesignate the preceding subconnections -- subsections accordingly. c, impacts on medicare beneficiaries, the social security and medicare trust funds, the director of the congressional budget office shall prepare for each major bill or resolution reported by any committee of the house of representatives or the senate except the committee on appropriations of such house as a supplement to estimates prepared under section 402 and impact analysis of the budgetary effects of such bill or resolution on medicare benefits, beneficiaries and social security and medicare trust funds for the 10-year fiscal year period beginning with the first fiscal year for which an estimate was prepared under section 402 and each of the next three 10 fiscal-year periods. the director shall commit to such committees the analysis together with the basis for the
analysis. as a supplement to the estimates prepared under section 402, all such information so submitted shall be included in the report accompanying such bill or resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from iowa is recognized for five minutes. mr. boswell: thank you, mr. speaker. let me be clear. the passage of this amendment will add protections for america's seniors to the bill. it will not, i repeat it will not prevent the passage of the underlying bill if it's adopted -- bill. if it's adopted the amendment will be incorporated into the bill and the bill will be immediately voted upon. my motion to recommit will protect medicare and social security beneficiaries and repair, yes, repair the trust between seniors in this body. the republican leadership has for more than a year promised that slash and burn legislation would revitalize this nation and
empower employers. well, we're still waiting on millionaire job creaters to show us the jobs. today we have seen nothing from the republican party that would encourage job growth, stabilize the american family or help seniors pay for their medicare. instead the policies we have seen attempt to take from hardworking americans the assistance they've been promised and that they have paid into their entire working careers throughout their life. last year we were promised legislation that would fuel job growth. we ended up with a budget that would pay for a tax break for the wealthy by dismantling medicare. instead of providing the benefits these workers had eashed, the republican budget teamed -- earned, the republican budget attempted to charge seniors higher premium costs for fewer benefits. seniors are let down with this plan and enough republican support to pass the chamber. like me, again, seniors will be
disheartened once more by the republican budget on the floor next month again attempts to end medicare. seniors have a right to know when their benefits are being cut or when their social security trust funds are being drained. they should not have to fear each day when this chamber's leadership -- what it's going to do to their benefits. american seniors have the right to know. that is why we are offering this amendment today. to ensure that all of us 450,000-plus seniors know when legislation could tamper with their hard-earned benefits. this amendment will side with our seniors while requiring an assessment of each bill to show how it will affect the programs our seniors rely on. voting for this amendment will prove to the american seniors that you are on their side and that you care about the programs that made this country great. the greatest success of medicare and social security is that in a time of need these programs brought americans over the age
of 60 out of poverty and ensured their access to care. these programs honor america's work ethic and the communities that we built together. this amendment would provide peace of mind by ensuring that any attempt to change social security, medicare and the medicare trust fund will be reported to congress and the public. should the bill harm the solvency of the trust fund, lessen the benefits owed to american workers or command seniors to pay more in premium costs, our seniors will know. americans are enrolled in social security and medicare, have paid into these programs throughout their entire careers, and they have helped to make this country what it is today. it is our responsibility, our responsibility to work together and preserve the structure of medicare. we must provide america's seniors with a viable safety net and insurance plan for their future. so i will fight to -- continue to fight for proposals that strengthen medicare and the
benefits that american retirees and work -- have worked for throughout their lives. i hope, again, i hope you will join me and i urge all of my colleagues to vote yes on this amendment. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin seek recognition? mr. ryan: mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to the motion. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. ryan: mr. speaker, the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the house will be in order. mr. ryan: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. ryan: i have good news. good news from my friend for -- for my friend from iowa. this isn't necessary. it's already done. c.b.o. -- the congressional budget office already prepares these macroanalysis any time we consider legislation affecting these programs. more to the point, mr. speaker,
if you want to get the kind of detailed analysis on how policy changes affect medicare and social security beneficiaries, that is done by the trustees, by the actuaries at c.m.s. and h.r.s. -- h.h.s. and at social security, at s.s.a. not by the c.b.o. but the other part of the good news is they do that as well. so what is good for us is that we do not need to pass this, it's unnecessary, it's already done, c.b.o. already produces this kind of analysis and their trustees at social security and medicare produce it at the same level that the gentleman from iowa is hoping for. i would be more than happy whenever legislation comes up to thus issues to provide that analysis and show it to my friend from iowa. with that, mr. speaker, -- there's no point in passing this. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. boswell: will my friend yield? the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the previous question is ordered. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the gentleman from iowa. mr. boswell: a recorded vote, please. the speaker pro tempore: a recorded vote is requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a 15-minute vote. pursuant to clause 9 of rule 20, the chair will reduce to five minutes the minimum time for any electronic vote on the question of passage. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the chair: those favoring a recorded vote will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, a vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 242, the nays are 179. the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. the house will be in order. for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin seek recognition? mr. ryan: mr. speaker, pursuant to louis resolution 534, i call up the bill h.r. 3578, the
baseline reform act of 2012, and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 259, h.r. 3578, a bill to amend the balanced budget and emergency deficit control act of 1985 to reform the budget baseline. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 534 , the amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of the rules committee print 112-9 dated january 25, 2012, is adopted and the bill as amended is considered read. after one hour of debate on the bill, as amended, it should be in order to consider further amendment printed in part a of house report 112-383. if offered by the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee, or her designee. this will be considered read and shall be separately debatable for 10 minutes equally divided and controlled by an opponent and proponent. the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. ryan, and the gentleman from maryland, mr. van hollen, each will control 30 minutes.
the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. ryan: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks on h.r. 3578. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. ryan: mr. speaker -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend. the gentleman may proceed. mr. ryan: mr. speaker, i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. ryan: mr. speaker, our first -- i first want to start off by thanking mr. woodall and mr. gohmert, two of the leaders on this policy. this is the second of 10 bills on fixing the broken budget process that we're bringing to the floor to try and bring accountability, transparency and responsibility to our federal budgeting process. what this bill does is it removes these pro-spending bias that currently exists in the baseline we use as a starting point in federal budgeting. the baseline we currently use assumes automatically -- automatic increases in spending
in the discretionary budget. so, for instance, instead of basing next year's discretionary budget on what we spent this year, we don't do it that way. the way it works is we automatically assume spending increases, we automatically assume that government agencies can't live with what they had last year, can't be more efficient, can't be more productive and we assume inflation in it already. we think for honesty, for transparency, if we spend x dollars this year, that is the base on which we ought to consider next year's budget. and for all those programs where inflationary updates are already legislated such as medicare, social security or the tax brackets to prevent inflation this doesn't affect those. those programs by law adjust for inflation and therefore so should their baselines. discretionary spending, something congress controls every single year, does not have that.
because congress legislates every year. so what we're simply saying is, let's err on the side of the taxpayer. let's not err on the side of assuming every government agency automatically needs a spending increase one year to the next. if we think they need more money, then we should measure it on an honest basis and then legislate more money for those agencies. and with that, mr. speaker, i will turn over the rest of my time to mr. woodall, the author of legislation, and reserve the balance. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from georgia claims the remaining time. the gentleman from wisconsin. the gentleman from georgia. mr. woodall: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the chairman for yielding to me and i'd like to reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. this is the second budget bill that we've had today. there's been a lot of talk about what we need to do to help move the economy forward, help put people back to work. let's be clear. as was acknowledged earlier,
these bills do none of that. this will not help create one job, this isn't going to help grow the economy. we've got a lot of work that we should be doing including taking up the president's jobs bill which has been sitting in the house since last september. the economy remains very fragile. those infrastructure investments in helping rebuild and repair our roads, our bridges, transitways, could be put to good use right now. with respect to this bill, the concern is that this creates actually a very misleading picture of what we can purchase in terms of goods and services with our dollars. and it gets more misleading over time. why do i say that? every american knows that when you're comparing the amount something costs between different periods of time, you got to take into account inflation. you know what? $10 back 40 years ago bought a lot more than $10 today.
and what this bill does is it tries to kind of wish away inflation and in that sense it creates, as i say, a misleading sense of what we can expect in terms of goods and services purchased for taxpayer dollars going forward. i think every taxpayer would say that if we didn't index their taxes for inflation that would be a tax increase. that's why we index taxes. if we decided to pass a law saying no more indexation of taxes, it would be a hidden tax increase. now here i want to give a very clear example. in fiscal year 2013 we're going to spend $61 billion to help support our veterans. to help support our veterans, provide for veterans health care and other services. this is part of the discretionary budget. we also provide help in the
mandatory budget. now, this bill would have you believe that 10 years from now that $61 billion is somehow going to provide you the same. a goods and services to take care of our veterans -- the same amount of goods and services to take care of our veterans. we know that's not true. we know that $61 billion 10 years from now is going to provide a lot less health care for the people who served this country. and so let's not play make believe and that's what this bill does. what the congressional budget office does right now is they make the assumptions that reasonable forecasters would make. as the author of the bill has said, there's no law right now that tells c.b.o. how to do it. we leave it to the independent nonpartisan body, the congressional budget office, to figure out what's the best way, what makes most sense from budgeting purposes? and they say, you know what? we should do what every american
does when they're comparing dollars spent in the past or in the future. we need to normalize that. we need to index that. to get a real sense of what taxpayer dollars will be able to purchase. otherwise it creates a misleading impression and so c.b.o., the independent group, said we need to take into account of inflation. what this bill does is says, as a matter of law, ignore that. as a matter of law, we're not going to wish away inflation, we're going to pass a law that says, for these purposes, don't take it into account. as i say, it will create a very misleading picture of what it will take to support investments like veterans health. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland reserves his time. the gentleman from georgia. the gentleman from georgia. mr. woodall: mr. speaker, at this time i'd like to yield five minutes to the gentleman from texas who has been battling in the trenches over this idea for a number of years and who i'm
just as pleased as can be that his idea has come to fruition today. the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for five minutes. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. speaker. and i understand the concerns of the friend across the aisle. and i'm telling you, this is a great day for congress, for america. going back to 1974, most liberal congress in america until the time when speaker pelosi took the gavel. 1974, rules for c.b.o. were put in place making it difficult to ever make actual tax cuts that help the economy grow as john f. kennedy made clear and showed it by his actions. but that was also a time when congress thought it would be a good idea to create automatic increases of every discretionary
department's budget in the federal government. automatic increases. i mean, there are times when increases would be appropriate. there are times when it would not be. but why should the government not have to deal with financial issues like any responsible american, like any responsible family? there will be times you should have to make cuts, there will be times when you should have to make increases. but what we saw through the 1990's, back during my days when i was judge i heard a guy named rush limbaugh bring up why, why do we have this automatic indrees? because then when conservatives -- increase? because then when conservatives try to slightly decrease the amount of increase, they're said to make draconian cuts. i made a mental note. when i got to congress in january of 2005 i couldn't believe to find out that we still had those automatic
increases every year. and then to be going through a troubled time like we are now when families across america are having to learn to do with less and make cuts across the board, congress was still dealing with decreasing the amount of increase. because we had these automatic increases. and we had a supercommittee that was formed last fall and try as they might they didn't even deal with the issue of the automatic increases. the committee's projections have had to be used because c.b.o., because of the same 1974 rules, ended up saying, well, gee, the formula could slightly change each year, so there's no way to know exactly what it would be over 10 years. well, one thing's pretty clear. it would have been enough to clear the $1.2 trillion threshold in cuts.
all it would have been doing was decreasing the amount of increase. this is a great day for america when congress, after all of these years, 37, 38 years now, congress is dealing with a financial issue that should have been dealt with long ago. and i brought this up back in 2005, 2006, when republicans were in the majority and i was told back then by the committee chairman of budget that, well, the law is we got to do the automatic increases so we're just going to do it. . it is really thrilling to me to have a chairman of the budget committee who saw this as a real problem. this should have been low-hanging fruit. this should have been an easy no-brainer. cut out the automatic increases. we have a chairman of the budget right now who saw it as a
problem. and it was an exciting to have a freshman come in and see it as a problem and collaborate, discuss the matter. really to get a bill like this through, you need to get it through committee, subcommittee, to get it to this point. i'm very grateful to chairman ryan. i'm very grateful to mr. woodal. amazing, freshman did an outstanding job and here we are to do what could be the most responsible financial thing this congress has done and the house has done in the whole last year. could be $1.4 trillion in cuts the next four years and all we're doing is stopping the automatic increase. there is a lot to be said for finally coming around to
responsibility. there's a lot to be said, if you need an increase, come justify it. don't get it automatically. and we now have responsible action being taken and i urge adoption. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: i think it's important to underscore the point and i think the author of the bill would agree that this legislation doesn't save the taxpayer one dime. that's not what what we are talking about. this bill, doesn't save one penny. every year with respect to the discretionary budget, we have appropriations committees in the house and senate who go through the budget and decide what is necessary to be budgeted for those agencies or those accounts every year. they can cut them, they can increase them based on the needs that are perceived by members of congress that are acting on
that. that's not the issue. we need to tighten our belts. in fact, back in august, we made some significant savings and we need to continue find significant savings. if we are going to be serious about reducing the deficit and the debt we have to do it in a bipartisan way, all of them have said we have to do a combination of cuts and have to deal with the revenue. we can no longer afford tax breaks for the folks at the very top, that we can't keep these tax loopholes open that proportionately benefit certain people over others. and tax breaks encourage the export of american jobs when we want to encourage export of american goods and services. so that's a very important debate we should have. but that's not what this does. this has to do with how we present the baseline as to what
can be purchased in terms of goods and services for certain dollars. and moving to this will create a misleading perception. let's say you took a certain amount of money to buy an aircraft carrier today and we wanted to know how much it was going to take to purchase an aircraft carrier five years from now. let's assume over the next five years we are in the midst of rising inflation. what this would do is create the idea that since the number was the same, you can buy the same number of aircraft carriers. you will get the quarter of an aircraft carrier and won't do any good. americans know when they're comparing dollars and the value of their dollars over time, you have to take into account inflation. and it happens every day in terms of financial transactions all over the country.
so again, this bill doesn't save a penny. this has to do with how you present the budget in terms of a picture for the american people to look at and whether it's realistic in comparing what you can buy for a dollar today versus what you can buy for a dollar five or 10 years from now and what we're saying is you should compare apples to apples so people know what the purchasing power is in terms of goods and services and we as a congress can decide whether we want to increase that amount or cut it. but this bill doesn't mandate any kind of cutting of that nature. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from maryland reserves his time. the gentleman from georgia. >> i yield to the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. cole. mr. cole: i rise to this
legislation. this legislation makes really significant reforms in the way the c.b.o. decides baseline calculations. the c.b.o. automatically budgets for inflation and discretionary spending. this process runs completely counter to what every american does. no family sits down and salmts they will automatically have an inflationary increase in their budget next year. no small business sits down and says my sales and revenue will automatically move up. as a matter of fact, using that approach is counterproductive because it actually discourages the search for savings and efficiencies. i am an appropriator and this is the road to deficit spending. getting rid of this will bring our fiscal house back in order. we should have gotten rid of this a long time ago. i'm proud that mr. woodall and
mr. ryan are pushing to do this. this will allow us to reduce the size of government, it will increase transparency and be able to put our house where we ought to put it. of course the legislation is one piece of a broader set of reforms. and we need to bring those up. this is the first step and right step and direction of getting our fiscal house in order. i commend my friend of bringing it to the floor. i look forward to its passage. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: i yield three minutes to the gentlelady from connecticut, also a member of the appropriations committee. ms. delauro. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for three minutes. ms. delauro: i rise in strong opposition to this legislation which would remove consideration of inflation from congressional
budget baseline. instead of beginning this year by putting forward legislation to create jobs, spur growth, address the economic challenges that we face, the majority is trying yet again to achieve their ideological goal. this time by playing an accounting trick on the american people. at its heart, this bill is a backdoor attempt to enact the radical cuts that the majority introduced last year and last august budget control act. by eliminating inflation from our official budget consideration, this bill represents a freeze on all discretionary programs that over time would become a devastating cut to critical programs. within 10 years, all decisionary programs would see their funding slashed by as much as 20%. among the priorities that would
be gutted are scientific and medical research, financial aid for college students, assistance to elementary and secondary education and investments in water and sewer systems, no discretionary program would be spared the ax, disaster assistance, food safety, medical care for veterans, meals on wheels, community health centers, support for law enforcement, nutrition programs, all of these across the board would be slashed by leaving inflation out of the budget equation. and millions of middle-class families would be harmed. why don't we bracket tax brackets. this makes no sense from an accounting standpoint. why don't we put our head in the sands this bill arizona. just pretend that inflation doesn't exist. isn't that foolish.
and we can pretend to be fulfilling our responsibilities to the american people. closing our eyes to inflation is not a solution. this is not a serious bill. it does nothing to cut the deficit. you want to try to cut the deficit, let's look at the tax cuts for the oil and gas industry. let's look at ending the subsidies to those multinational corporations that take their jobs overseas. you want to do something about the deficit, then let's cut the bush tax cuts for the richest 1% of the richest people in this nation. and like every other initiative from this majority, it does nothing to address the top priority of the american people. and that is jobs and growing the economy and investing in the economy to put us on a glide path to economic sustainability in the future. i urge my colleagues to oppose
it. and i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady has yielded back. the gentleman from jea. mr. woodall: this bill not only repeals the bush tax cuts and tax cuts and every special interest favor and every deduction and ex emshon and favor in the tax code and bring in more revenues for those revenues. and i would welcome the gentlelady's support. i would like to yield two minutes to one of the finest young leaders on the budget committee, mr. young. the chair: the gentleman from indiana is recognized for two minutes. mr. young: i rise in support the baseline support act and commend mr. woodall for leading in this effort. now this is straightforward legislation, it removes the
pro-spending bias and the baseline that we use as a starting point for our annual budgeting. the baseline should be a neutral starting point for considering fiscal policy and shouldn't present sume any spending by this body. we have already heard from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, numerous examples of programs they fear will be cut in the future as a result of this legislation. well, this legislation just says that without the sanction of congress, without a free and open debate about the merits of any given program, there will not be any automatic increases to that program. today, the baseline does assume that automatic increase for inflation. instead of looking at what each agency actually needs each year to fulfill its mission, we simply assume that that agency needs more money than it had the previous year. these assumptions add up. in fact, they add up to approximately $1.4 trillion in
outlays to last year's designationary baseline spending. this bill would change that. that bias would be changed by setting the bain at the previous year's spending level and not a cent more. it would put an end to the long-standing and confusing practicing of maintaining the same level of funding as last year as if somehow a spending cut. it is time to bring washington's definition of spending cut in line with america's definition of a spending cut, that is an actual cut in spending. this bill does that and i urge my colleagues to support it. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield three minutes to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. price. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized for three minutes. mr. price: once again, instead
of debating a bill that would create jobs and bring this economy back or a comprehensive effort to put our fiscal house in order, we are here on this floor tonight focusing on a so-called budget reform bill. this bill will do nothing to spur economic growth. it will do nothing to bring us closer to a balanced budget, although it could greatly confuse and complicate the budget process. we must be clear what this bill does, mr. chairman. the bill present tends that inflation doesn't occur. it's a pipe dream. by eliminating baseline calculations, it would make it far more difficult to estimate future budget needs. we need to know exactly what it would take to maintain the current level of effort, the current level of services in governmental programs. with that knowledge, we can make realistic decisions, knowing
what result that increases or decreases would produce. but this bill would deny us that knowledge. al too often, we would be making budget decisions in the dark without knowing their full implications. efforts like this should find bipartisan opposition. make no mistake, this bill or it could not only lead to the slow starvation of funds for democratic priorities like head start and clean energy research and w.i.c., but could starve programs, border patrol, veterans programs and f.b.i. at the very least, it would make budget decisions both increases and decreases less precise and less efficient. i'm voting no on this bill and urging my colleagues to do so. instead we need to get to work on the real budget.
to hammer out a comprehensive agreement, to bring this economy to full strength and get our fiscal house in order. i yield back the balance of my time. . mr. woodall: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to my good friend from texas, mr. culberson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. culberson: if you apply core principle to any problem, ne no matter how difficult, the knot will always untie itself. and it was true then, it's true today. if we would apply the core principles of the constitution to the problems we face as a government, the knot will untie itself and here, just applying commonsense principles to our fiscal problems, the knot will untie itself. this is a remarkably similar and remarkably effective reform. we will no longer assume inflation into the beginning of our spending bills on the appropriations committee. now, unfortunately, we only
control on the appropriations committee about 39 cents out of every $1 of spending the federal government does. but that 39% that we do control will no longer increase automatically year to year. these procedural institutional reforms that house conservatives are enacting into law will make a dramatic difference in changing the direction of our nation from insolvency and bankruptcy to getting back on the path to a balanced budget. and i am very proud to help my colleagues, our chairman, paul ryan, mr. woodall, mr. gohmert of texas, in enacting this fundamental commonsense reform to put america back on track to balanced budget and americans should take heart that constitutional conservatives in the house are doing the right thing for the right reasons, for the country. and redesigning the way we spend money in favor of taxpayers and not in favor of washington bureaucrats.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. speaker. again, just for people who are trying to get educated about the budget process, who may be watching, and among our colleagues, we put together a 10-year projection of the budget. in a lot of different categories. the appropriators on a year to year basis can decide how much or how little to give any program. and every member of this body gets a chance to vote up or down on that. so that's not what this is about. this is not about saving money. i hope we'll all save money and get the deficit down. this is about what information is presented in terms of getting an accurate picture of what the cost is of providing goods and services. so i'm going to give the same example very clearly again. veterans -- i will after i make
my point. very clear example. in fiscal year 2013 we're going to have $61 billion in the budget for discretionary spending for veterans. now, under the current procedure the congressional budget office tries to figure out 10 years from now, knowing what we do about inflation expectations and everybody calculates those into their financial decisions, what would it take to provide the same services for our veterans? now, what they're proposing is to put in $61 billion in year 10 . but that's misleading. because you're not going to be able to provide the services to our veterans at the same level for that amount. in fact, that will represent a 23% cut. so i would ask my colleagues, what 23% cut are you proposing to make in veterans programs as we go through this budget?
and why you want to build in what is misleading in the sense that it creates a false impression of what a dollar will purchase 10 years from now -- mr. woodall: will the gentleman yield? mr. van hollen: i'd be happy to yield. mr. woodall: thank you very much. i chair the veterans administration and i assure you, we all work arm in arm together. my friend, mr. bishop from georgia, we will make sure vet reasons are taken care of. we will still be able to, with this reform, but in the light of day, look at inflation, medical inflation, which is generally higher than regular inflation. mr. culberson: we will build that in. i promise you. but we will do it in open public hearings, it won't be built in automatically. that's all this does is remove the automatic increase and let's the people's elected representatives do it in the sight in of day in an open -- sunlight of day in an open hearing and i assure you, the veterans will be taken care of. mr. van hollen: thank you. taking back my time. you really made my point which is that if the purpose of a budget is to try and provide the
most realistic projection of what services would be provided in the future compared to today, you should take into account the costs of those increases. the gentleman's just said that of course we're going to build in inflation with respect to veterans programs. in fact, we're going to do better than that. i'm glad to hear that because we're going to take into account the fact that medical inflation runs higher than regular inflation. but the point is if you put different numbers in year 10 that don't take into account inflation, you're going to give people a very misleading sense of what can be purchased for their tax dollars in terms of goods and services. the same holds true with respect to d.o.d.. in other words, the defense department. why don't we want to present the american people with an accurate representation of what it will actually cost to maintain the current defense or current discretionary veterans programs?
that's the whole purpose of this. the appropriations committee can do what it wants with respect to decisions in increases in cuts and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from georgia. mr. woodall: mr. speaker, at this time, just for the sake of clarity for the american people, i'd like to yield two minutes again to the gentleman from texas, mr. culberson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for two minutes. mr. culberson: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to reassure the gentleman from maryland and as we all recall the military construction and v.a. appropriations bill passed the house almost unanimously because we all of us in this congress are arm in arm in support of our veterans and military to ensure they get the very best medical care possible. that we're providing every benefit that they have earned by their service to the nation and the only thing this bill will do is remove the automatic blind increase in the starting point for our spenting. and we in the -- spending. and we in the appropriations subcommittee will, in the full
sunlight of day, on c-span and public hearings, will go through and build in that increase that is actually occurred in medical inflation, in regular inflation, to ensure that we have compensated our veterans for that increase that has already occurred but we'll do it in a public hearing. we'll do it in the full light of day. we'll do is to the taxpayers can see what we're doing. the game is rigged today against american taxpayers. and house conservatives, constitutional conservatives are following core principles. we're honoring the constitution, we're looking for ways to restore the 10th amendment and individual liberty. shrinking the government. getting control back in the hands of individual americans and state and local governments. and when it comes to the budget, we're implementing commonsense reforms that every american understands. we don't get an automatic increase in pay if you're working for a company. you got to earn it every year. we as on the appropriations committee are going to go through and analyze every one of these accounts and make sure that we have built in, but in an
open, public forum, any increase as a result of the increase in medical inflation or baseline inflation. we will on the subcommittee i assure you, mr. van hollen, make sure that our veterans are fully compensated as all of us take great pride in their service and truly you see more unanimity on the veterans and military construction appropriations bill than almost any other bill we pass because we take such great pride in them. so i urge my colleagues to please remove that argument from your repertoire an let's focus on what's really going on here. the game is rigged today against taxpayers and house republicans are rigging the game today in favor of taxpayers in sunlight, in transparency and i assure you, we're going it make sure our receipt advance -- veterans are taken care of. mr. van hollen: will the gentleman yield? mr. culberson: i will. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. speaker. i hear what you're saying with veterans. absolutely true. on a bipartisan basis, we understand we're going to make sure we support the veterans.
and we're going to make sure that they get the cost of living increase and the reality is you mentioned the defense budget. that's 50% of the discretionary budget right there. are we going to make sure that we provide increases to make sure that we can maintain the same national defense? so here's the point. so, you're going to create a document for the american people that says, hey, we're going to be spending this much in year 10 for veterans when we know that that's not true. we know right now, in fact, you've just said on the floor of this house, that number's going to be a lot bigger. and my point is, we can make it bigger, we can make it smaller. this bill doesn't save a dime in terms of what decisions we make. but why would we want to present the american people with the misleading sense of what it's going to cost in real dollars and cents? i agree with the member. mr. culberson: will the gentleman yield? mr. van hollen: i'd be happy to yield for 30 seconds. mr. culberson: truly there's nothing misleading. we're doing it in -- this in the
light of day. we're through this reform going to have these hearings in public , in front of c-span and the world, and talk about what actually has been the level of inflation this year. what actually do we need to do to increase funding this year for the veterans, for medical inflation, for regular inflation? bill young, the chairman of the federal defense subcommittee and a great leader from florida who works with norm dicks, your leader on the appropriations committee, they're going to build in, they're going to analyze what inflation's been. the difference here truly, all we're doing is doing it in the light of day. we're removing the automatic increase. that's all. i want the pilot to put his hands on the steering wheel of the airplane -- mr. van hollen: we're doing everything in the light of day. the issue isn't whether it's done on a later day or not. it's what picture we're presenting the american people in terms of the budget numbers on what their tax dollars will be able to purchase in terms of goods and services. and in my view it's misleading
to say we're going to be spending the same nominal dollar amount for veterans 10 years from now in the budget when we know, according to your own testimony, that that's not going to be the case. that's why we try and put together a document that gives us the best representation of the information we have as to what it will cost. then we can make a decision to add or subtract. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. woodall: mr. speaker, at this time it pleases me to be able to yield two minutes to one of my freshman colleagues, the leader on the committee, the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. lankford. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma is recognize for two minutes. mr. lankford: thank you, mr. woodall, thank you, mr. speaker, on that. one of the things about being a freshman in this body is walking in and trying to learn the numbers game. on the budget committee there are a million different variations of the numbers. a million different options of the numbers and it's amazing to me in washington, d.c., when you try to say, what's the number,
you'll get five different numbers. so i think the best thing we can do is clarify the system. and say, give the numbers out there, we know what infleags' going to be, but give the numbers out there so the numbers are the numbers. and we can say to the american people, when we talk about controlling spending, this is what it is. we're not cutting off what was the automatic increase and trying to have two different sets of numbers and saying we really cut but we really increase. we're able to have a flatline number out there that everyone can see, that everyone can process through. so while we're fighting to be able to manage the budget and to be able to work through the realities that are out there of inflation, and i understand fully the principle of inflation and how that fits into your buying power. but while we're fighting through those realities, we're not fighting against ourselves. we understand that the number that's been presented to us is not including some arbitrary number that's been invented that congress did not come up with. but it's a number that we came up with as congress. and said, this is the projection and this is where we're headed. so the best thing that i think we can do is create a neutral budgeting process. and the way to do that is to
have this kind of simple reform and baseline. control the baseline spending by not having the automatic increases, have the baseline be the baseline, don't put something out in the future that was not passed by congress and assume congress is going to then follow the lead of c.b.o. but assume that congress is going to pass the budget and that next year we're going to look at exactly what that's going to be. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm very pleased to yield three minutes to my colleague from maryland, the distinguished democratic whip, mr. hoyer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland, the democratic whip, is recognized for three minutes. mr. hoyer: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank my friend, the ranking member of the budget committee, chris van hollen, from maryland, for yielding. i unfortunately have not been able to listen to all of the debate. but i've listened to enough of it. this week we're paying -- we're
playing let's pretend. we're playing the game of let's pretend that if we solve the process, we'll solve the problem. there was an excellent article that i think everybody ought to read. stan collingder who is a real expert on the budget process, and who has been involved in this budget process for a long, long period of time, quotes in an article that he wrote that i hope most of you read in "roll call". he quotes rudy pener. rudy pener was the director of c.b.o. not a partisan individual in my view. i've had the opportunity of dealing with for some period of time. his quote is, a process, no matter how well designed, cannot make difficult problems easy.
i think my friend paul ryan would agree with that. it's not the process that's the problem. the problem is we don't have the courage to make decisions which are clearly necessary for us to make. no amount of jiggering around the edges is going to change that. as all of you know, i'm a strong supporter of the bowles-simpson approach to bringing our country to a fiscally sustainable path. now, unlike many of you, i believe that revenues have to be part of that process. and cuts have to be part of that process. and restraints of entitlements have to be part of that process. i have been saying that for two and a half years now. it's somewhat controversial but i have three children, three grandchildren, two great grandchildren. if we don't do that, they're going to be hurting. but, frankly, we ought not pretend that the process is the
problem. the problem is the problem, as rudy pener said. the problem is the problem. an we ought to address it -- and we ought to address it. and we ought to have the courage to tell the american people that it's not a question of process, not a question that we don't have the right process in place in washington. the problem is, we don't have the votes in washington. this congress is dysfunctional. that doesn't mean we don't pass things, we do. but this week, frankly, what we're dealing with will not affect any of the significant problems that we have. whether it be jobs or fiscal responsibility. so i'm opposed to this bill, why? because i think it's a let's pretend. it's a let's pretend that if you have $100 to spend on
defense this year, that you can get that same defense for $100 next year. you can't. may i have an additional two minutes? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. hoyer: the american people understand that, family understands that. they know the electricity bill goes up and they can't get the same kind of heat this year or next year that they got last year. because they know their electric bill has gone up. and they need to know what that is. so what we said, the congress said, we're on a baseline budget. what does it cost to get that $100 of value next year? and so we get that. previous speaker, i heard speaking, i don't know who it was, i apologize for that. they said, we ought to have an honest budget. well, you can argue it's honest
both ways. either it's honest that that's what we spent last year, 100 bucks, or it's honest that in order to do last year -- next year what we did last year, you need $101.50. both of those are honest answers. nobody ought to think that that's a dishonest answer. the answer is, do you want to know what you spent last year? look at the budget. do you want to know what it would cost you to do the same thing? then you get the baseline system of either one is honest. it's just a judgment. but you're pretending you're saving money by having that kind of budget. baloney. baloney. the only way you're going to save money is to have the courage to vote to do so. my friend paul ryan is shaking his head. he and i have some significant disagreements but very great respect, i hope, for one another. i know i have great respect for him.
i think we are advantaged as a country having mr. ryan and mr. van hollen who are very bright, able, committed people dealing with this. the trick is coming to agreement. irrespective of process. it's substance that matters. and the american public will be afingted by the substance -- substantive judgments we make, not about whether we do it with a baseline budget or static budget or a die -- or dynamic scoring. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for an additional minute. mr. hoyer: i don't believe in dynamic scoring. i think it's a liberal, radical idea. why? because it pretends something you don't know. george bush said we had $5 ppt 6 trillion we could rely on, therefore have very deep tax cuts. department work out. -- didn't work out. i would much prefer to not use dynamic scoring and having more
money than i thought i was going to have that i could apply either to reconduction of the deficit or -- reduction of the deficit or some other project. rather than relying on dynamic scoring and saying, whoops, i have less money, i'm deeper in the hole. i'd rather be conservative and say, gee, i hope investing in infrastructure, cutting taxes, doing whatever you think is going -- to better education is going to get you better results. i hope it does get better results. that's the purpose of investing in it. if it does, you're benefit. if you didn't count on it, because you have more than you thought you would. that's the place to be. i urge my colleagues to reject this bill, to adopt reality, it cost us to do this yesterday and now it costs us to do it today. i think that's responsible, smart way to budget. i thank the jelled for -- gentleman for yielding this time, i yield back the balance
of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. woodall: it gives me pleasure to recognize the gentleman for five minutes. mr. ryan: i deeply respect the minority whip and i agree with a lot of what he just said. first of all, he's totally correct when he's saying there's no substitute for discipline, meaning congress has to make decisions and nothing can substitute for that. he's also half right when he says congress is dysfunctional. where he's half right is, it's the other body over on the other side of the rotunda, the senate. because last year in the majority they didn't pass -- >> i was just going to kid him he's just now trying to get to things we can all agree on.
mr. ryan: that's right. the year before, when they had a supermajority, no budget. to budget is to decide. to budget is to make a decision. they haven't budgeted for over 1,000 days. and the budget process we have here, which we've had in place since 1974, requires the house pass a budget by april 15, the senate passes the budget, they didn't do it for other 1,000 days. so when we look at the process, we see that it's not working the way it needs to. it's no substitute for personal discipline, for members making decisions, for compromising. but in this particular case, we think the process is part of the problem. we think the process needs to be improved to make it more likely that we make these decisions, that we get to exercising that discipline. on this particular bill, we are
assuming $1.4 trillion in automatic spending increases and discretionary spending over the next 10 years. we probably shouldn't to that. -- do that. because even though it happens, this is not a spending cut bill. this is a measurement bill. but the way we measure it leads to a bias in more spending. what i'm trying to say, mr. speaker, is, in 2009, in 2010, domestic discretionary spending, including the stimulus, increased by 8 %. so this category of government has grown very, very fast. and we're saying, let's stop automatic -- automatically assuming it needs to grow every year. let's put the taxpayer first and the government agencies second as far as who gets the money first. what i'm trying to say is, if we want to put a bias in favor of requiring agencies to do more with less, be more
productive, more efficient, then we should not assume they automatically get a spending increase every year. that's how businesses do it, that's how families do it. a lot of families don't get raises but their expenses go up. gas prices go up. insurance costs go up. grocery prices go up but they don't get a raise so they have to prioritize. we think goth should do the same. -- government should do the same. we shouldn't just assume they're going to get a raise. this is not going to fix our budget problem but we think this and the other bills we're bringing to the floor will improve the process to get us to what we need to do, which is come in here, agreeing, compromising, and then deciding, having decisions made which is budgeting so we can save this country from a debt crisis. mr. hoyer: will my friend yield? mr. ryan: sure. mr. hoyer: it's a shame we don't have a lot of time to discuss this because i think in many respects we do agree.
where we disagree, however, is a, when you say that that body is dysfunctional, the gentleman referred to that i kidded about it, both bodies are dysfunctional to the extent that we're not making determinations to spend just the money we have. we haven't done that for some period of time. mr. ryan: talking about deficit spending? mr. hoyer: yes. spending money we don't have. and from my perspective we did that when we cut taxes. we didn't pay for that. it wasn't like we had a real surplus, we had a projected surplus and we banked on that and as i said earlier, we lost on that proposition. i suggest that whether or not, as i said, you use what you think is the bias toward not spending as opposed to a bias for spending, as someone who served on the appropriations committee for 23 years, we all know that what will happen, the agency will come in and say
this is what we're doing for 100 bucks and this year, we need $101.50 if you want us to continue to do that. my point is the congress has the authority to say, no, we want you to do less. it's the congress' role to make priorities. and we will not, i suggest to the gentleman, it won't be easier for us to do it under either scenario because it's hard to do. but i agree with the gentleman, we ought to do it. i don't think this bill or any such bill -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. ryan: may i have another minute. mr. hoyer: i don't think this bill or any other bill will get us to that end if we do not have the courage, and your word, discipline torque effect that end. mr. ryan: reclaiming my time, i agree with that, the gentleman is right about that. this bill in and of itself won't fix the problem. what i will say is this bill helps remove what i think is a
bias in favor of not pressuring government if to be more efficient, more lean, because they'll think they'll automatically get a spending increase year after year after year. that's the point. there's no substitute for discipline. i completely concur with that. but this helps us get the system pointed in the right direction and that's why i encourage all members to support this and i think mr. woodall and mr. gohmert for their leaership in it. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. van hollen: are you prepared to close? can i inquire how much time remains? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland has four minutes. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. speaker. i think we've had a good debate and there have been a couple of things, one is that this bill in and of itself, i think everyone acknowledges, won't save the taxpayer one penny. it doesn't do that. in order to save the taxpayer
money and reduce the deficit, we have to make the tough decisions that mr. hoyer and mr. ryan mentioned. there are obviously disagreements as to how we go about doing that. we've talked about the importance of trying to make sure that as we go forward we have a budget that reflects the values and priorities of the american people and one where we're covering our costs and that means paying our bills. a lot of us believe that in order to do that, we've got to get rid of the tax break for the folks at the very top, we need to close a lot of special interest loopholes so that's an important debate. the question here is just, how we put together an accurate reflection of the -- for the american people about our best guess of what i think should be a budget that shows what their taxpayer dollars will purchase in terms of goods and services. it is a question of measurement. how do you measure what you're going to be able to buy for the
american people, buy for our veterans 10 years from now? and when you put $61 billion in the budget today, which is what we pay for veterans' health issues and other veterans' issues in the discretionary budget and as mr. hoyer says, let's pretend we'll put $61 billion in that -- for that 10 years from now, that's a cut when you take into account inflation and what we know about the increases. in fact, mr. culberson, the appropriations committee chairman on the floor said he's absolutely right, he said you can be sure the appropriators will build in inflation, we're going to make sure we take care of that, in fact, we're going to do a little more than that because medical inflation runs higher. if we're trying to give an accurate measure to the american people about what the budget is going to look like each 10 years, why would we put a number, the member of the
appropriations committee said is not going to be realistic and we know as we gather here is not realistic? is pause if we're going to be serious about budgeting, we need to have the best and most accurate sense of what taxpayer dollars are going to buy in terms of goods an services and what this does is, as mr. hoyer says, plays let's pretend. let's pretend that for the same nominal amount you're going to be able to get as much in terms of veterans' health care 10 years from now as you are today. the real question is to ask up front what veterans' services and benefits are we going to cut? the appropriations committee decides each year exactly how much to cut, how much to add. and that's why at end of the day this is always a question of the will of this body to make tough decisions. but let's make tough decisions off an accurate measure of what things will cost both now and in
the future and in order to do that we should maintain the existing practice which shows us exactly what that is and not create what i think will be a misleading sense that we can get more for our buck than we really can. and with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. woodall: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. i just want to again -- begin by thanking the folks that made it possible to bring this floor to the -- bill to the floor tonight. my staff. nick miers. this is a team effort. and it was led by the gentleman from texas, louie gohmert, who has been working on this issue for year after year after year. but he could not find a budget committee chairman that was willing to prioritize process and process matters.
i've learned in my one year here as a congressman, mr. speaker, that we spend a lot of time arguing about process and we can find that common ground on process, we could get onto the substance. this is one of those issues. i'd like to associate myself with the comments of the gentleman from maryland. he said, the question is how do we put together an accurate picture for the american people of the budget process? that is exactly the right question to ask. and when i ask that question to my constituents back home, they say, rob, cut out those phony numbers of automatic increases every year. we absolutely agree on the question, mr. speaker. it's how you answer the question that divides us. as the minority leader -- minority whip said earlier, this isn't a bill that deals with our priorities for spending. our appropriators are going to
do that. this isn't a bill that cuts one penny. thanks bill that changes the way we measure the pennies that get cut. and i will say to you, mr. speaker, i start getting nervous when i hear the washington political class talk about changing the way we measure. because i just assume they're going to come up with some new phony way to make it happen. but in this case what we're saying is, for far too long we have those conversations during town hall meetings where we spent $1 million last year, we'll spend d 1,100,000 next year and they call it a cut. they being the washington measurers. that's nonsense. nonsense. is there a cost of living issue? absolutely. do we have to spend more on health care next year than we do this year? absolutely. do we have an unlimited spic et of cash that we can turn on that meet those needs? the answer is no. the answer is no.
this isn't a little issue, mr. speaker. $1.4 trillion over the 10-year window is what this automatic phony budgetary gimmick increases the budget. we're cutting that out. we're cutting that out and we're saying, congress, if you care about veterans as our veterans committee chairman does, our appropriating chairman does, if you care about veterans, stand up and put your money where your mouth is and i guarantee you we're going to do it. if you care about seniors, stand up and put your money where your mouth is and guarantee you we're going to do it. but, mr. speaker, if we gave folks $500 last year to go out and buy their new iphone, that iphone has gone down. if we gave folks $100 at the beginning of the obama administration to buy gas, clearly that $100 is not enough to do it anymore because gas prices have doubled. we already have a phony budget mechanism to project and bias
toward increased spending. this bill that folks back home asked time and time again, why hadn't it happened before? i don't have the answer. but it's not about blaming folks in the past for not getting it done, mr. speaker. it's about coming together as we are tonight to get it done. this is a bill that has the support of the national taxpayers union, this is a bill that has the support of citizens against government waste, this is a bill that has the support of freedomworks and this is a bill that has the support of the american people. and i would urge my colleagues to vote in favor of it and let's move this bill onto the senate. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. all time for debate has expired. the chair understands that the gentlewoman from texas will not be offering her amendment. pursuant to the rule, the previous question is ordered on the bill as amended. pursuant to clause 1-c of rule 19, further consideration of h.r. 3578 is postponed. the chair lays br the -- before
the house an enrolled bill. the clerk: h.r. 588, an act to redesignate the knock speed national wildlife refuge as the sam d. hamilton noxubee national wildlife refuge. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute speeches. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from minnesota, mr. ellison, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. ellison: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, my name is keith ellison and i'm co-chair of the progressive caucus. and the progressive caucus, for people just tuning in, mr. speaker, is a group of members of congress who believe that america is a place where the idea of liberty and justice for all must prevail. it's got to be more than words we say in the pledge of allegiance. it's got to be something that we actually live. what that means is that liberty and justice for all, that means everyone, that means we don't exclude people based on their religion, we don't demonize them because of it, we embrace people anall their racial and ethnic diversity, we say that americans born in america and those who have come here are americans all
the same. we say whether you're straight or gay or whether you're male or female, we believe all america, one america, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. we believe in civil rights, we believe in human rights. we believe in the importance of economic opportunity being weded to social inclusion -- wedded to social inclusion. that means working people of every day, americans of all backgrounds, if you work every day and you work hard, you ought to be able to put food on the table for your family. you ought to be able to organize in a union on your job. you ought to be able to expect a good, decent retirement after a whole life's long work. you ought to be able to expect that you can affordably put your kids through school. you ought to be able to expect that we will have a strong social safety net if you happen to hit hard times. this is the progressive caucus. the caucus that believes that it's better to talk it out than
to shoot it out. diplomacy is better than war. we should try to work out our differences with other nations and saber raddling and -- saber-rattling and investing in war armaments and outside and above protecting the american people is a problem. we should be talking about things like environmental protections. we should be protecting our natural world. we should be addressing the dangers of climate change. and we should be affecting that change to make sure that america is greener and cleaner and more sustainable. that's the progressive caucus, mr. speaker. we're the ones who could be found standing up for the constitution, standing up for the idea of freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of the press. we will be found standing up foredy the that -- for the idea that government must have the proper authorization and justification to violate
people's right to be left alone. we also want to stand up and say that we believe that the progressive motion in america is what has made america this great nation. we recognize our wonderful nation, our great nation was -- had a dream and from the very beginning we had a dream. but we also had a reality. the dream was liberty and justice for all. land of the free. home of the brave. the dream was that all americans and all men will be created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. that was the dream. but the reality was, america held slaves. the reality was women couldn't vote. the reality was the original people were relegated to an inferior status. and so people who believed in that dream, people like martin luther king, people like harriet tubman, people like elizabeth cady stanton and people like
susan b. anthony, people like eugene dansen, people like walter luther and other great americans, they believed that that dream was worth fighting for and got out there, mr. speaker, and made the dream reality. we weren't trying to conserve the old, older and status quo. we were trying to progress toward a better america that really reflected that dream that i was just talking about. the dream was that all men are created equal. the reality was segregation. but americans who had a progressive vision said, we're not going to stay, we're not going to conserve segregation. we're not going to conserve robber barrens who controlled all the wealth in the 1890's, we're not going to conserve the abuse of our environment. rachel carson said, we're not going to conserve that. we're not conservetivities. we're trying to make america better. we believe in the greatness of this country and we are not going to stop until we get it.
so people like rachel carson said we're going to have a clean environment and she wrote about it and fought for it. if people like martin luther king fought for civil rights and others fought for the right to organize. and sometimes people who were in these moments gave their lives for changes that they stood for. and other times they were able to survive. but the fact is they were all united in one progressive vision of what america should be about, not trying to preserve racism, slavery, segregation, gender oppression. the progressive movement is what we stand for, not conservatism. that's not us. we're not them. and don't want to be confused with them. and so tonight we're here for a progressive message. and we're going to be talking about jobs and unemployment. but i did want to talk a zsh take a moment, mr. speaker, just to let everybody know who the progressive caucus was because we don't want anybody to think
that we're something else other than what we are, the people who embrace the american dream and believe that america is such a great country, we can overcome all the sins of the past and don't want to conserve any of them. and so, mr. speaker, we want to go into a few key points tonight. we won't be here the whole hour but we want to be strong while we are. and so today we bring the people, mr. speaker, the progressive message, to illustrate what's at stake in america today. what are the things that we're competing for, what are we contesting for. we come down, we watch the events on the house floor and all across america, but what is the fight all about? working families are getting crushed an the middle class is shrinking every day. the working people are fighting to keep quality of life.
an idea prevailed that any regulation is bad and what we say is that regulations, if they're protecting life, protecting the environment and helping the rules be fair and allowing americans to succeed and have an opportunity, they're not bad. but there are some people who never saw a regulation they liked. we believe that protecting safety and health is a good thing. we believe that getting rid of bad regulations and old regulations is fine but these people have a commitment to ending any regulation. we recognize that this is exactly what has ruined our environment, exactly what has caused global climate change and what caused the financial disaster. what's at stake in america? here in america, some folks believe that if the economy is going really, really well, what they need to do is have a tax cut for the wealthy. if the economy is doing really, really bad, well, what they need is a tax cut. if the economy is doing sort of
good and sort of bad, what we need is a tax cut. in other words, the guys on the other side of the aisle, they never -- they don't believe in texases -- taxes. we believe you shouldn't tax americans any more than is necessary but we believe that taxes are the dues that we pay to live in a civilized society. we believe that if our taxes go so that there can be head start for poor kids to be able to have a chance at life, that's all right. that we have to pay taxes for police officers and firefighters and people who work on our roads to make them safe and make sure bridges are safe to cross, we're all right with that. we're not these folks who believe, do you want to cut, slash, and burn and act like public workers, public employees are just, you know, not valuable. we recognize they are valuable. i'm talking about the people who work in parks and reck, the police, the -- and rec, the police, the firefighters and the people who make sure our water is clean and safe.
and who make sure our economic and financial system is safe. people who make sure that when some folks want to cut corners and want to make a quick buck they're not going to be allowed to do that. you need a cop on the beat a financial cop on the beat to make sure that good actors are rewarred and bad ones punished. people who say we don't want any regulation because it would hurt jobs, we don't agree with that. we blev that jobs are going to come when we have middle class people having enough money to spend and then the businesses of our country have enough customers so that they can then add new people. whereas our friends on the other side of the aisle believe that if you give rich people like mitt romney a lot of money, maybe, just maybe, they might, you know, it might trickle down to the rest of us. something light land on our head. something has landed on our head but it's not rain or a good job. it's hard times that -- times
economically. trickle down economics is a failed policy. it never worked. they always want to say look at reagan. reagan raised taxes plenty of times. they even misappropriate his legacy. but the fact is, the progressive caucus is here to talk about what's at stake in america today. now if you want to know what's really going on, you could look at this week. here we are in washington, supposed to be working hard on people's business. it's not like a lot of big things aren't going on. we got a payroll tax that's about to expire. did we take that up on the house floor today? no. do we make sure that americans don't enup with $11,000 extra to pay over the -- with $1,000 extra to pay over the course of the year. this summer, student loans are going to go up, are going to double if we don't extend the law to allow them to stay
lower. did we work on that? no. didn't touch that. here's what we did do. the republican majority didn't bring up a single bill to create jobs. none of that. they didn't bring up a single bill to help americans stay in their homes as we are in the midst of this foreclosure crisis which seems to never end. they didn't bring up any bills to make sure that our air was clean and our water was safe to drink, nor did they bring up bills to rebuild our country. instead, they were busy playing politics while people are hurting. yesterday, they brought up a bill to repeal an effort to help seniors get health care called the class act. the class act was a piece of the affordable care act. and some good faith people working on our government said, you know, there are things we need to fix with this bill before it works the way we wanted it to. anybody who has ever made anything knows that sometimes that happens.
sometimes you've got to mend the thing you're working on. if you ever cooked a meal, sometimes, you know, you've got to put a little more sugar or salt or sometimes you want to add a little more water. you know. but legislation is exactly the same way. you pass the law, you think it can do certain things but when you get into the actual operation of it, sometimes it doesn't work like you thought. with this long-term care bill, some good public servants said, there are some kings we've got to work out -- some kinks we've got to work out. instead, the republican majority tried to strip the whole thing away. seniors who need long-term care, the republican majority didn't say, you know, here's our fix. they said get rid of what was already done. we say build on what was done. they say strip it away. it's too bad that that's the position they took but that is what -- that is the position they took. let me tell you a few things about long-term care and why we need to strengthen long-term care, not strip away what has already been passed.
we have a long-term crisis in the united states that the republicans are not dealing with. do you know, 10 million americans, mr. speaker, need long-term care. over the next decade another five million americans will require this care bringing a total to about 15 million people, mr. speaker. the problem is only getting worse. we've got to do something about it. i wish my friends on the republican side would help us but even though they're in the majority, they're not. nearly 70% of all people will need some level of long-term care after turning 65 years old that means anybody lucky enough to get to 65, there is a -- there is approximately a seven in 10 chance you'll need long-term care assistance. the number of americans 62 years and older is 20% higher than 10 years ago. so america is aging. you know what? this is a good sign.
we want americans to be healthy, with want our seniors to be healthy, we want them to be strong. when they get into a health crisis, we want them to have the care they need. and mr. speaker, it's also important to point out here that about 62 million unpaid family care givers, about 62 million unpaid family care givers, that's adult children of seniors, about 62 million of these families provided care which, if you put a dollar figure on it would amount to about $450 billion. in 2009. more than the total spending on medicare that year. so families are stepping up but the families need help. i can tell you, mr. speaker, people come to my office every day, people my age, i'm 48. you know mitigating circumstance mom is getting oler, she needs help, she got sick, something is going on, we need a fix for long-term care.
so mr. speaker, with all these problems we're facing, with the 70 pk of people who need some level of long-term care by the time they turn 65, with 62 -- with the number of americans 62 years of age and oler is 20% higher than 10 years ago. with all these issues, mr. speaker, you would think that the republican majority would step up and do something about it. they're in the majority. but what has been their response? an attempt to score political points, not solutions. they haven't come with any solution, they haven't come with a proposal to fix long-term care. they just want to strip what president obama and the democratic majority did. i think that's too bad. now, today, now that was what we did yesterday. we missed around, they tried to embarrass the president, it didn't work because americans know that president obama cares. in fact, i think republicans know it, that's why they call it obama cares, he does care,
so they can say whatever they want. today they were back to their old tricks. today, we in congress voted on a budget gimmick bill, that's all you can call it a bill to make it easier for republicans to pass more tax giveaways to the top 1%. they call it the pro growth budgeting act and mr. speaker, if i had a dime for every deceptively named piece of legislation during this 112th congress, i think i'd be a wealthy man right now. this legislation would rig the rules, play games with the rules, funny accounting, mr. speaker, to make it easier for the g.o.p. budget priorities to pass. like the ryan budget. which included deficit busting tax cuts for the wealthy and cuts in job creating investment like education. estimated to cost about 1.7 million jobs by 2014. this bill requires, this bill,
this funny math bill, requires the congressional budget office to use what they call dynamic scoring, that's the word they like to use, as part of a macroeconomic impact analysis of tax provisions. that's a whole lot of, you know, long words, mr. speaker, which basically says they want to score it in a way that makes them look good. that's what they're trying to do. what they want to do is include calculating the effect on the economy like g.d.p., that's all the goods and services in a given year domestically, investments in employment, which pass -- which passed -- past office of budget analysts have said are really not going to be an accurate reflection of what's going on. when prepares supplemental cost estimates for major legislation. such an analysis is designed to hide the impact of tax cuts on the budget deficit. making tax cuts easier to enact
or extending by masking their true cost. this bill, this funny math bill injects supply side economics into the congressional budget office scoring. which has been discredited time and time again and has no place in the nonpartisan analysis provided to congress. you see, mr. speaker, the c.b.o. was set up so that neither the republicans or the democrats, the conservative or the progressives, none of us with our points of view, could get in and mess around with the way the congressional budget office scored a bill. what it means to score a bill, mr. speaker, is when the -- is to analyze the cost of the bill or analyze the financial impact of the bill. it might be, how much tax is this going to generate? the c.b.o. would give us an estimate or how much is this program going to cost? the c.b.o. tells us what are the budgetary implications of
what we're doing. historically, republicans and depps have just had to live with the c.b.o. score because it's a nonpartisan office. neither party controls it. but now with the republicans -- what the republicans want to do is come up with a dynamic scoring thing to make their estimates look better. this is wrong. they shouldn't do it. they shouldn't do it. the underlying assumption behind the bill is that tax cuts pay for themselves. this is obviously wrong. the reason we are in this monumental debt and deficit situation that republicans like to talk about, they're always going on about, we're leaving debt on our children and grandchildren they always say it like in a real dramatic way, mr. speaker. the reason we're in this mess is we got two unpaid-for wars under a republican administration and huge tax cuts under a republican administration.
they cut taxes in a war, when you're supposed to be raising taxes to pay for the war, they cut taxes during the war which exploded all this debt. that's the truth. if they come down here and tell you the truth, that's what they would say. two unpaid-for wars and the bush tax cuts is what exploded the debt. and the deficit. it's why we're in the situation that we're in. they always want to say, oh, well, obamacare that's not the cause of it. they want to say, oh, the stimulus, that's not the cause of it. because that was a -- an expenditure in a short period of time that didn't have long, long tails like these tax cuts do or these wars. that's what exploded the deficit. now, instead of owning it up and say, you know, we shouldn't have -- we need to tax america more fairly, not just take care of the rich people but take care of everybody and make sure the burden is shared and not just the rich get to escape with not doing anything or not
doing much, like some folks running for president are worth hundreds of millions of dollars and only pay 13.9% on it, whereas if you make, you know, $50,000 or $60,000, you'll pay 25%, 28%, 35%, depending on exactly how much you make. unfair. but what the republicans want to do is instead of just owning up and saying, yeah, we were fiscally irresponsible, they just want to have dynamic scoring so it doesn't look so obvious. now, i talked about what we did yesterday, which is try to do nothing about long-term care except embarrass the president, strip the class act out, today we played games with the budget again, with budget counting measures, trying to interfere with how the nonpartisan congressional budget office does it scoring. certainly tomorrow must be better than the last few days particularly given the fact that
we got the payroll tax deduction running out and other important things going on. are we going take up the payroll tax deduction issue tomorrow? no. tomorrow we're going to do something else. another budgeting gimmick bill. this time called the baseline reform act. another one to try to hide the reality. it requires the congressional budget office, and, mr. speaker, you'll recall i explain the congressional budget office is sometimes what we refer to as c.b.o. it requires the c.b.o. to unrealistically assume in its baseline that spending in the future will stay the same and not grow to keep pace with inflation. thereby facilitating cuts in real terms in job-creating investment. this bill ignores the impact of inflation on discretionary budget which gives an unrealistic picture of what it will take to maintain basic services.
so, understand it this way, mr. speaker. if inflation is making everything cost more but you try to hold the line, then the cost of things will not be accurately reflected, if you don't account for inflation. but this is exactly what they don't want to do. republicans want to starve these programs and they could lead to long backlogs for services and other types of problems such as the major issues at the walter reid hospital during the last decade -- walter re, d hospital during the last decade -- reed hospital during the last decade. so there you have it, mr. speaker. three days of not dealing with what we need to deal with, three days of playing games, three days of not dealing with the people's business. three days of not focusing on what america needs us to focus on. so, mr. speaker, the american
people, let's talk about the american people. they have rejected the republican budget scheme that ends medicare guarantee to pay for tax breaks for big oil, millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas. because for the last year if you're not a c.e.o. or a wealthy special interest, the republican party of the 1% says you're on your own. i often wonder what they meant when they said the ownership society, what they really mean is the you're on your own society. they mean, hey, we got to cut cities and towns and we got to cut states and we can't be there for you anymore, you are on your own. we're going to lay off teachers, we're going to not give the cities enough to make sure there's enough police, water, fire, all that stuff. you're on your own. but m.i.t. m.i.t.'s not on his own -- mitt romney's not on his own. if you need a bailout you're not on your own.
but if your house is underwater, don't look to the majority for help. if your father, who lost his job through no fault of your own, a mother struggling to make ends meet or a family kicked out of your home, the majority of the 1% says you're on your own. turning their backs on ordinary americans may pad the profits of corporate donors and hedge funds of millionaires bank rolling their campaigns but it won't grow the middle class. it used to be that hard -- that working hard and playing by the rules meant you got a fair shot. it used to mean that working hard and playing by the rules meant you got a fair shot. we've got to restore that dream. we're not talking about an american fantasy where everybody's, you know, you see it on tv sometimes, mr. speaker, where, you know, you're going to be living in some lavish place and fancy this and fancy that and lifestyles of the rich and famous and all this kind of stuff.
we're not talking about an american fantasy. we're talking about an american dream. which is realistic. because it's not too much to ask that if you're willing to work hard in this country, that this country should work for you. but the people, many americans out there are under a low -- a lot of stress and it's because from a policy standpoint their elected leadership is catering to the people who have the most. under the philosophy, mr. speaker, that if you give it all to the rich, they will invest in plants and equipment and then it will tricken down to everybody else. that philosophy has failed and it's time for them to admit it. we need those to understand that when we all do better, we all do better. americans have got to have a better shake and we in the progressive caucus are standing up for hardworking taxpayers of the great american middle class and working class. and poor. we in the progressive caucus aren't -- we're not ashamed to
stand up for the poor, mr. speaker. we believe that poor people, low number penal -- income people, what you call poor people, are poor if they're too old to work or too sick to work or too young to work, anyone else might be poor by circumstance but they would love to join that great american middle class if they could just get a chance. and that means an education, that means job training and that means an economy where we're literally trying to do something to protect the american worker from offshoring by investing in our infrastructure, putting people back to work and by doing things to make this economy strong. the best way to get our economy going is to put america back to work. there's a lot of work to be done. the best way to cut spending is to cut spending on tax handouts to millionaires and billionaires and corporate special interests. while we give $4 billion to the
oil industry, while they're making most money that they ever made and they still down here and scream, oh, don't take away our subsidies. the american people know that the best way to cut spending is to cut spending on big special interests like wall street and big oil. but instead republicans would rather make the rest of us pay for tax giveaways for millionaires and republican corporate donors like big oil and pharmaceutical companies. so we want an america where the burdens are shared and where the benefits are also shared. we want an america where there's true economic opportunity and inclusion. we want an america where it doesn't matter whether if you're born here or you came here, it doesn't matter what color you are, it doesn't matter what religion you are, it doesn't matter whether you're male or female or who you want to be married to. all of us can have a good prosperous life based on an economy that works for everybody. and so i just want to say, mr.
speaker, as i begin to wind up my remarks, that this progressive caucus is going to be here standing up for the american people. we will be there for the 99%. we will work to get money out of politics as we're pushing constitutional amendments to do so. we will stand up to citizens united, we believe the corporations are not people, money is not speech. and in america democracy is not for sale. we believe unemployment insurance should be there for people who have fallen on hard times and we believe that the social safety net is something that's important so that when people can get back on their feet. i want to point out with nearly 14 million unemployed today, that they deserve an opportunity in an america that really works for them. they deserve leaders who care about their plight -- polite. they -- plight.
they need leaders who care about their plight and are willing to stand up and push policies that will make the american dream attainable for anybody who wants to work for it. and so i just want to say, as i close out, america is a wonderful idea and the american dream should be in the grasp of every american. and great americans have overcome some of the bad things in the past as they reached out to build the american dream for all. and when i say liberty and justice for all, mr. speaker, i mean it and i just don't mean social equality, i mean economic opportunity, too. and it's going to have to start with asking everybody to pay their fair share, recognizing that trickledown never works and never will and that we got to invest in america, educate america and protect america so we can get this economy working again and so with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman yields back the balance of his time. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from michigan, mr. benishek, is recognized as the designee of the majority leader for 60 minutes. the gentleman is recognized. mr. benishek: thank you, mr. speaker. tonight my colleagues and i, myself, have come to the floor both as members of congress and physicians to discuss the urgent need to repeal and replace the patient protection and affordable care act. many of my fellow members here this evening, like many of my fellow members, i've spent the last decades of my life as a physician. a surgeon. unlike our president, i was on the front lines of medicine. i went to medical school in detroit, michigan. i did a family practice
internship at flint and i returned to detroit to do a surgical residency and then moved to the upper peninsula of michigan for the last 28 years until i took this job, i was taking care of patients in a rural general surgical practice and i know what it's like to be in a small town where people depend on their local hospital, their local physician. and it's two hours in an ambulance to get to the next nearest hospital. and the patient protection -- affordable health act, is affecting rural hospitals to such a degree that many of these hospitals are going to close. and i just want to bring to your attention, mr. speaker, the seriousness of this problem. it's been a pleasure being a
surgeon. it's been a pleasure being here in congress. as a matter of fact, sometimes patients of mine still call the congressional office inquiring about scheduling a case. one of the very reasons i ran for congress was because i felt those with real health care experience needed to contribute to the national discussion on health care reform. tonight, along with other members of the doctors caucus, i'd like to dispel some of the myths associated with the president's health care bill. it's time to set the record straight. it isn't enough to just say this bill must be repealed. we must tell you why it has to be repealed. explain to you the really bad aspects of this bill. i'm proud to say that one of my first votes as a member of congress was to repeal it. tonight we're going to go through some of the provisions of the bill which make it so
onerous. i disagree with the president's health care bill for a number of reasons. i'm particularly appalled at the recent regulation issued by the united states department of health and human services as a result of the bill. requiring all employers, even if they have a religious or moral objection to offer health insurance, that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraception. i offer for the record an excerpt from a letter from bishop sample of the catholic diocese of marquette. one of my constituents. here's a quote from bishop sample's letter. i quote, in so ruling, the obama administration has cast aside the first amendment to the constitution of the united states, denying to catholics our nation's first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. and as a result unless the rule
is overturned we catholics will be compelled to either violate our conscience or drop health care coverage for our employees and suffer the penalties for doing so. the obama administration's sole concession was to give our constitutions one year to comply. we cannot, we will not comply with this unjust law. people of faith contribute be made second class citizens. end quote. mr. speaker, as a fellow catholic and a physician, i agree with bishop sample. it's my belief that the government has no right to mandate that employers purchase health insurance for their employees in the first place. but this law is made even worse by demanding those who support life, regardless of the particular religion, provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs. mr. speaker, federal conscience laws have existed since 1973 and
have protected many health care providers from discrimination due to religious and moral values. unfortunately president obama's health care bill contains no language protecting the conscience of health care providers. i recently co-sponsored h.r. 1179, the respect for rights of conscious act which was introduced by my colleague, mr. fortenberry of nebraska. if signed into law this bill would amend the affordable care act to prevent a health plan to decline coverage of specific items and services that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the sponsor of the plan without suffering consequences. i and other members of congress continue our efforts to repeal the president's health care plan in its spirity, bills such as h.r. 1179 are necessary while the affordable care act is still law to ensure that the
federal government does not mandate any american citizen to defy their own religious principles. i certainly have many other issues with the president's health care bill but i'd like to give some time to my other colleagues here tonight a chance to speak as well. >> will the gentleman yield for a question? the gentleman has been talking about the president's health care bill, i assume you don't mean president reagan's health care bill, you don't mean president bush's health care bill, you're talking about, because a lot of people at home might be confused, you're talking about obamacare, i take it. mr. benishek: right. >> when you talk about the conscience protection infringed in the last week, is it correct that that is directly a result of the obamacare legislation? mr. benishek: that's correct. mr. harris: and in fact, this is, as you well know, you're a surgeon, i'm an anesthesiologist, as fi
decisions -- physicians, when we were trained, the whole idea behind that part of the law would treat pregnancy as a disease. because my understanding is, that part -- part of the law dealt with preventing disease and in some strange way, shape, or form, what a -- what a lot of americans think about as a thing of wonder, preg mancy, the ability to bring a new -- pregnancy, the ability to bring a new life into the world, for the first time is treated as a disease to be prevented using taxpayer dollars to the point where, and correct me if i'm wrong, what the secretary of health, because that's her title, secretary of health and human services, is treating pregnancy as a disease and not only saying that, but that it's so important to prevent this disease that the american --
that every american employer should be forced to pay every penny of the prevention. that's how i understand the secretary's decision. mr. benishek: that's correct. mr. harris: as the doctor has said,s that very strange path to go down from a bill that was brought to the american public as a bill that will help the uninsured get insurance, has now gone to the point of not dealing with whether someone has insurance but rather -- but whether every employee should pay what we call first dollar coverage, that is no co-pay, no deductible, free treatment to treat what the secretary of health now, i guess, considers a disease. pregnancy. now if that's true, you know, i've got five children, i guess my wife was struck with that
disease five times. but i will tell you, as a physician who has treated patients as -- mr. speaker, as the other gentleman from michigan has, with diseases, to put pregnancy in the same category as breast cancer, as colon cancer, as prostate cancer, as leukemia, as other diseases that have screenings that can be done, where, yes, maybe to prevent those life threatening diseases, doctor, if you can correct me, i don't think it says that this is only for life-threatening pregnancies. i think this dictate from the secretary of health of the united states is to prevent and treat in whatever fashion
someone decides to treat this disease, doesn't have to be life threatening, it's not a cancer, it's a pregnancy. to place that in the same category and use our precious health care resources to treat disease in a pregnancy is a very different objective than to pass a bill to provide basic, important health insurance, and i think the gentleman, as i say, you're being very generous an perhaps confusing to the american public because i think they've come to understand this bill as obamacare. i'll tell you what's interesting, most of the times when someone here has a piece of legislation, signature legislation that passes, they're thrilled if the legislation is referred to by their name. and there are plenty of examples. but interestingly enough, as the doctor may know, when we
wrote a letter to our constituents and referred to the affordable care act, we've been told we can't use the name that all americans know this bill by. they call it obamacare. for some reason, someone is sensitive. i guess the president is too sensitive. why wouldn't he want if he is so proud of this bill, why, every time we refer to it by the name all america knows it by, and i might add, dislikes it by, as obamacare, we know what the public polling says. a majority of americans know it was a mistake. interestingly enough, a third of americans don't realize it's still the law of the land but they did get a rude awakening last week when, if you happened to be a member of a religion that doesn't believe that pregnancy ought to be treated as a disease, that doesn't believe that you ought to be
forced to fund sterilizations with no co-pay or deductible as part of your insurance policy you provide to your employees, that that comes under the obamacare legislation that is still in effect. mr. speaker, you know that if you travel through your district and you talk to small business men and women in your district you know how afraid they are of this bill being fully i.ed -- implemented. they understand that it will break the bank in lair business, it'll bank the bank -- break the bank in their state and break the bank here in washington. we have a $15 trillion debt and everyone knows, when you add 14 million new people to a government entitlement, as this bill did, all that you're going to do is make that situation worse. our small business men and women realize this. they know that cost is going to
be borne to them. we know what the unemployment rate is. it's not under 8% like the president promised when that stimulus bill was passed in this very chamber two years ago. i will say when the other side was in charge. the unemployment rate is over 8%. the congressional budget office just this week projected it will be 9% by the end of the year. times are tough. gasoline is $3.60 a gallon. and what's -- what is the president's administration doing? going full steam ahead on implementing a bill, because macare, that americans don't want and can't afford. so i'm going to thank the gentleman from michigan for yielding the time to me and thank the gentleman for bringing this up to the american people once again to remind them, obamacare is with us. it may not be after the next
election. we don't know. but we know that america agrees. this was a bad idea at a bad time and due to what happened last week with the conscience protection that's always been present in federal law being abridged by our secretary of health. thank you very much for yielding the time. mr. benishek: thank you, dr. harris, for being here tonight. we appreciate your comments. let me add, at a town hall in new hampshire in august of 2009, president obama stated if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. the president made this statement several times as he attempted to gain support for his health care overhaul. after the last congress passed the affordable care act, the obama administration began its job-killing regulatory spree. instead of allowing americans to keep their health care plans
if they're happy, this new law could cause as many as 87 million americans, nearly a third of the population torque lose their coverage. as a physician, i understand the importance of consumer choice when it comes to health care. i don't think government should be in the business of mandating the purchase of health care insurance at all. why in the world would you pass a bill that mandays the purchase of health care insurance and then potentially kicks 28% of the population off their plans? i can tell you from experience this has nothing to do with affordable care. this is just another reason to replace president obama's affordable care act with real health care reform. i look forward to replacing this plan with a bill that expands health care choice like h.r. 3000, a measure introduced by my colleague dr. price, that i co-spon -- co-sponsored. this bill expands health care access and availability making provisions for selling insurance across state lines and addressing medical
liability reform. this is a real step forward in health care reform, unlike the previous congress' attempt. with that, i would like to introduce dr. gingrey of georgia for his comments. mr. gingrey: mr. speaker, i thank the gentleman from michigan's first congressional district for yielding the time. i thank him for putting together this special order hour. indeed, i thank our leadership for making this the designated leadership hour for the republican conference this evening and all our colleagues who are participating. the gentleman spoke about some of the things in the obamacare as the gentleman from the eastern shore said, the name of the bill, the patients know it for or dislike it for, i think,
is the way he put it, and certainly 60% or more still, two years after its passage, i guess when ms. pelosi, former speaker pelosi said, they'll have to fine out what's in it and i think they'll like it. they found out what's in it and they don't like it. one thing that was in it, still in it, unfortunately, that nobody really likes, yet our democratic colleagues fought tooth an nail yesterday on the house floor to keep the class act in this obamacare affordable care act, we call it the unaffordable care act and the class act was a provision that was inserted, mr. speaker, on the senate side in the latter stages, just before, in fact, they voted on the senate side to approve the bill. in the class act -- the class
act is so-called long-term care provision that former senator, god rest his soul, senator kennedy had worked on for years. this was something that his staff wanted to have in the bill as a legacy to his memory. i understand that. but not only was it half-baked, i think it was about quarter baked an it was a bill, a section of the bill, 2,700 pages, just one section, but one of the most egregious provisions in regard to what it's going to cost our poor, burdened american taxpayer, this class act, in regard to long-term care provision. and thank goodness for our former senator, judd gregg, who was chairman of the budget committee on the senate side, is now retired, but he was on
the health committee in the sthath and proffered an amendment that said, you couldn't go forward, the secretary would not be allowed to go forward with this class act provision -- provision on long-term care unless she could certify that it was fiscally solvent. in the out years. and another member, the current, in fact, the current budget committee chair on the senate side, democrat kent conrad, said in 2009 that it was a ponzi scheme of the highest orer. in fact, he -- order. he said it would have made bernie madoff proud. i couldn't have said it better than that. what it called for, or what it calls for is something that absolutely is a ponzi scheme. it requires people that sign up for this class act, long-term care insurance, who pay
premiums for six years before they would be eligible to have a benefit. if they were disabled and they needed care with daily living activities in their home. so it looked like that this part of the bill was going to generate $80 billion in cost savings. an boy, did they ever proffer that point of -- that point. again, we found out now, 18 months later, the secretary of health an human services finally said, you know, we can't make this work. we have looked, turned it upside down, inside out, backwards, eight ways to sunday, in fact, they have a flow chart that had an algorithm of how they could possibly make this program work. it included things like saying that people with pre-existing conditions had to wait 15 years before they were eligible for a benefit before pre-existing
conditions would go away. they said, no, maybe we ought to eliminate anybody, and our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, yesterday, said, well, you mean you're going to deny coverage to people with alzheimer's and with metastatic cancer and with type two diabetes and renal failure and all this stuff? these are the things that the secretary wanted to say, well, we're going to have to not allow them to participate with these pre-existing conditions, not us, not our side of the aisle, in fact, mr. speaker, let me make this point before i yield back to dr. benishek, so he can yield to other members here on the floor, the only thing that they could come up with, secretary sebelius, that would make this program work was the ninth thing, and that is to make it mandatory. say everybody just has to sign up for long-term care insurance whether they want to or not.
i think they know they have a little bit of a problem in regard to mandating health care in regard to the case that's before the supreme court now and will -- we'll have 5 1/2 hours of testimony in march and a decision probably in june. i don't think they wanted to go down that road again. so she just basically threw up her hands and said, we're not going forward with it. but we voted on the house floor yesterday to strike that bill from the law. remove it from the books. because if we don't here is the problem with the class act. still being kind of inactive, sitting there in the statute ute, in law, even though -- statute, in law, even though the democrats say, you don't need to remove it because the secretary says she's not going to go forward. the law says very specifically that she will have a program for people to participate in by october 1, 2012. that's less than nine months from now. if my mact is correct.
-- if my math is correct. and someone could simply say, well, you didn't provide this and the law requires it, therefore i'm going to bring suit against the federal government and this could go on and on and on and then people that are trying to delve -- develop a long-term care insurance policy so that folks could afford it and it would work, they're not going to work on that until they know that the federal government is not continuing to mess with the system an cause more and more delay. so, i wanted to mention that. i thought it was very important that both yesterday to repeal, had 26 members of our democratic colleagues on the other side of the aisle, so that's pretty darn good in this body in regard to bipartisanship and we hope and pray that as this bill, mr. speaker, goes over to the other body and gets to the desk of the majority leader, senator reid, that it won't just stack up like
one more piece of cord wood as the 30 bills that we passed in the first session of the 112th congress. hope springs eternal and i think we did a good piece of work yesterday. proud to be here with my colleagues. i yield back to the gentleman from michigan. mr. benishek: thank you very much. i really appreciate my colleague from georgia's comments, dr. gingrey. excellent. minority leader, then speaker, nancy pelosi once promised that the president's affordable care act would create as many as four million jobs. despite these promises, over 13 million americans have been unemployed for the last 31 months. instead of creating jobs, the president's health care plan is working against america's economic heartbeat, small business. according to a study by the national federation of independent business, new taxes created by the employer of mandate provision in president obama's health care bill may
eliminate as many as 1.6 million additional jobs by 2014. during his state of the union address last week, president obama stated, companies that choose to stay in america get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. it makes no sense. and everybody knows it. so let's change it. i couldn't agree more with the president on that statement. one easy place to start with would be the passage of h.r. 1370, a measure introduced by my colleague, dr. boustany, this measure repeals the annual fee, meaning a tax, that the president's health care plan places on health care insurance providers. instead of raising taxes by $500 billion on american taxpayers to pay for the aided forble care act, president obama -- affordable care act, president obama should follow his own advice and encourage the senate to repeal his health care plan. with that i'd like to introduce my colleague from louisiana, the
former louisiana doctor of the year, dr. fleming. mr. fleming: well, i thank the gentleman, dr. benishek, and that was an unexpected recognition there. i thank you, sir, for that. mr. speaker, i'm just going to get -- to give a brief top-level overview of where we started with health care in this nation and why we're here today. and i have to take you back to post-world war ii where we began to have the indication of a crisis protection form of insurance. that is, insurance is there just to keep the family from going bankrupt over medical bills and that seemed to be well received. but over time it became obvious that there were other people, people who were poor, people who were elderly, who could not get coverage in the normal marketplace of insurance and so as a result congress in the mid 1960's created medicaid, health care coverage for the poor, and
medicare, health care coverage for those who are 65 and over. that was all well and good. however, this was the first way of the government managing health care. that is, the financing of health care. and the promises were great to the doctors to get them to go along with it. promises great to the patients. and really it's rocked along for a while pretty good. people who receive medicare benefits enjoy them. and the problem is that we know in government that the cost has risen and risen and risen and now what we have is a situation where americans on medicare enjoy very good health care benefits but the explosion in costs and the pressure it's putting on the rest of the health care system is becoming unsustainable. in fact, if left alone, medicare will totally displace all discretionary spending in the government today and therefore something has to be done about it.
now, we got about half-way through government-run health care and our friends on the other side of the aisle had this vision for many years of having government totally control health care, for everyone. and they attempted to do that with the passage of obamacare which took us, i would say, about 95% to complete government control of health care. and what was the promise? the promise was that your insurance rates would go down, your coverage would go up, that your choices would go up, things would be fine and dandy. what have we found thus far and it hasn't even been nearly fully implemented? that is the cost of insurance premiums have gone up, we now have a board called ipab, 15 bureaucrats who will be appointed by the president, not necessarily health care workers, and everything that may affect you in your life with regard to health care may well rest in the hands of this 15.
even usurping congress itself when it comes to decisions such as what doctors you can see, what it will cost you and certainly what the health care system itself will be paid. what i would submit to you tonight is that any time government runs a system of economy and certainly it's done this in education and we see the failures in secondary and primary education there, and now in health care, that costs skyrocket, they become very inefficient and they become unsustainable. and remember that when it come it's to -- comes to medicare, that for every $3 that a recipient puts into the system in the way of premiums, i'm sorry, for every $1 they put into the system in the way of premiums, they get $3 in benefits. so that means that even the very wealthy, even the warren buffetts the world actually get subsidized health care. we just simply can't afford it. we love it for our recipients, our voters to get this, but we
can't afford it. so now what we have, we have obamacare which is a fixed top of medicare and medicaid and we have nearly a 100% government-run system and you just heard my colleague from georgia talk about the fact that one of the ways to fund it is this class act which is long-term health care, unsustainable, it will collapse, actuaries tell us it's not going to work. so we're in the process of repealing it. we know that there's an amazing number of taxes that go with this. tax on the home as an investment and many other pieces. another big piece to fund it is taking out a half a trillion dollars for medicare which only makes medicare go out of business even faster, which now we're looking at about 10 years for that to happen. our friends on the other side of the aisle, democrats, have no solution for that whatsoever. so i would say, mr. speaker, that we have gone from de-the
frying pan and into the -- gone from the frying pan and into the fire. there are those who say, well, what is your solution? mr. speaker, our solution is very simple. our solution is, let's reinvoke the marketplace, the forces of market that is economic freedom and patient choices, back into the system and let's get government out. government has a role. government's role is to protect its citizens and to ensure there's an even playing field. but we know that no way will cost goes down in any open economy, in free economy, unless there is robust competition and we do not have that today. not among insurance companies, not among large vertically integrated governmental systems. it's not there and never will be and we'll continue to have waste and no matter what any politician says that he's going to do to get rid of fraud, waste and abuse in the system, he is incapable of doing that. only a free market can do that.
i will refer you back to paul ryan's budget which actually gives medicare recipients a free market choice. the same kind of choice that we in congress have today. that is question go to a website, we can go to a book, and we can choose from one of hundreds of excellent health care systems out there that we can be covered. why can't medicare recipients, why can't medicaid recipients have exactly the same thing? why can't we tear down the state walls that exist that make in most cases one insurance company totally control the market in the entire state? why can't we do this? and the answer is, this body right here is not -- has not allowed that to happen. so, mr. speaker, that is what i submit to you this evening. that should we repeal obamacare, and i'm convinced now that we will, that perhaps that will be h.r. 1 in 2013, the full repeal of obamacare, that we quickly replace it with piece meal
pieces of legislation that -- piecemeal pieces of legislation that do many things including reforming liability insurance, reinvokes the free marketplace, patient choice, and we get on with making this a much more efficient system, much more user-friendly and one that we can all be proud of. i thank the gentleman and i thank my fellow physicians, g.o.p. doctors caucus, it's always an honor to serve with ladies and gentlemen, not only physicians, but nurses and other types of health care workers. there are truly great things that are happening in this body and with that i yield back to the gentleman. mr. benishek: i appreciate that, dr. fleming, and thank you for your comments. i just thought i'd make a few comments of my own about your discussion of the ipab board and i want to make sure that the american people know what this is. independent payment advisory board, a board of bureaucrats
appointed by the president without appeal that will determine whether or not procedures that they will overprice will be available to the american people. you know, i've talked to patients in many difficult situations where i have a very sick patient, myself taking care of the patient, and the patient's family. where difficult decisions are being made, you know, affecting the life or death of the patient. and these decisions are not easy to do. you know, you have to discuss the alternatives with the patient, with the patient's family. and usually through a coordination of what the patient wants, what the physician recommends and the discussion with the family, we come to a decision. and the independent payment advisory board may decide completely different from what we decide. certainly some patients, you
know, deserve different types of care. comfort care measures versus complete major surgery. and these are decision that have to be made personally on an individual basis. based on sound medicine, what the family needs, what the patient wants, and not with an unappealble bureaucracy decision made in washington -- bureaucratic decision made by people in washington, someone who may not be educated in medicine or compassion. and it's a really scary thought for the american people, from my eyes. and i just want to put my perspective on your comments there. and now i have my colleague from new york, the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. berkle, here with us this evening as a member of the doctors caucus, although mrs. berkle is actually a nurse.
we have health professionals from a lot of different varieties here tonight and i welcome dish yield to ms. buerkle. ms. buerkle: i thank my colleague and friend from michigan. thank you for yielding to me and thank you so much for having this evening's special order regarding health care. i think it's so important that the american people hear from health care professionals. there's a distrust of politicians in washington so for americans to have an opportunity to hear from people who have invested their lives in health care, who have spent their lives in health care, i think it's so important we have this hour and this time together. mr. speaker, i ran for congress because i was so concerned with regards to the health care law. i thought it was substantively flawed, i thought it was procedurally flaud, it was passed at all hours of the night in secrecy and i thought that constitutionally it was flawed. that our government doesn't
have the right to mandate us to buy anything, let alone health care. so i ran on that, and now as time has unfolded and we've been here a year now, what's come to light is how very flawed this health care law is. i speak to so many parts of it that are flawed but i want to focus on a couple of specific areas. i'm the daughter of a 90-year-old woman. my mother is alive and well and lives in a small town in auburn. i know how much she cares about her medicare coverage. i know how important that is to her and for her. so when -- last april, when the republicans put out a budget proposal, mr. speaker, we were demagogued. we were demagogued that we wanted to cut medicare for seniors. i am here tonight to reassure the american people, particularly our seniors, that this group, an all our members of our caucus and our conference, understand and appreciate how important medicare is to our seniors.
we understand that. this budget proposal that was proposed last april and passed in the house is merely a proposal a suggestion as to how we're going to save medicare for those who are 54 years and younger. so i want to assure seniors that any changes we talk about with medicare has to do not only with those who are 54 and younger. very important to emphasize. but what i do want to talk about briefly is that this health care law, which is law, which is the law of the land, which will go into effect in 2014, that law does cut medicare. and every senior in this country, an i've heard from many of them and i've heard from the hospitals in my district and i've heard from the physicians in my district, this health care law cuts medicare by $500 billion. every senior is going to feel the impact of this health care law. so i want to be here tonight with my colleagues, members of the health care profession, to assure our seniors that we are
here to protect you. we want to keep medicare intact. we want to alert you that the law that was passed is flawed on so many levels. we voted to repeal it. but it's flawed, and primarily one of the biggest reasons is it will impact the seniors an the care they receive. you heard about the class act, but this cut to seniors is something every senior should be concerned about and be clamoring about because it will affect their care and coverage. i have a list here, i have five hospitals in my district and all the members have hospitals in their district, the cuts to our hospitals because of this mclaw. hospitals receive what's called a disproportionate share for services they give to folks who don't have insurance. there's uninsured, or they may be -- may get medicare,
medicaid. hospitals get what's called a disproportionate share. the health care law eliminates the disproportionate share. it's a problem for hospitals. i've heard from my hospitals and i had the privilege of representing my hospital for 13 years as a lawyer, i don't say that as much as i say i'm a nurse, the cuts to medicare, to our hospitals, will really force them into a very bad situation. i want to talk just briefly and then i want to yield to my colleagues how important our hospitals are to our district. in my district alone, it employs 18,000 people system of when we enacted a law, this health care law in this country, it's going to impact our hospitals and how viable they are. you can see the payroll and purchases from the hospitals, just in my district, mr. speaker, over $237b95 billion. state and local tax and revenues, $105 million. so this health care law, and my hospitals have said to me, it's going to hurt us. one said it will put us in
bankruptcy because we can't afford to do business because of the health care law. a bill that was -- a law that was supposed to increase access, decrease the cost of health care, as this bill and this law unfolds, we're seeing more and more that it's bad. it's bad for seniors, it's bad for hospitals, it's bad for our physicians. it's bad aws bauds it's the government telling the american people what they have to do. so i'm proud to stand here with my colleagues who voted to repeal the health care law and we wanned to make sure the american people understand we do realize we need health care reform. but it needs to be market-base -- based, as my colleague mentioned, and it needs to be care that doesn't hurt our seniors, doesn't hurt our hospitals, doesn't hurt our physicians and does increase access to health care. i thank you very much to my colleague in michigan and i yield back. mr. benishek: thank you very much of i appreciate the gentlewoman's remarks and thank you for taking the time to come
up this evening. we're nearing the enof our hour here and i'd like to give the other members that are here an opportunity to speak. i'd like to yield to my friend from arizona, dr. gosar, who is a member of the dental profession. i look forward to your comments. mr. gosar: thank you, dr. benishek. thank you for giving us the opportunity for this special order. i've got a unique look at health care, looking through the dentist's eyes, something that has stayed market based an inflationary neutral. but before that, i want to touch on my colleague, ms. buerkle, in regards to hospitals. i come from rural arizona and more important aspects of hospital care is our rural hospitals and the solvency we're seeing with them. they've been taking an undue burden because we destroyed the patient-doctor relationship, the integral aspects of all the
doctors with specialties and with the hospitals. so we're going to find many of the hospitals that i've been working with are finding they're going to be insolvent very, very quickly. therefore our safety net is going to be gone. we need to look no further to see government-run health care, particularly the longest standing health care, and that's native american health care. we see how detrimental it actually is. we've seen a group of people that are so despondent about the way government is taking care of their health care that they've invoked a clause called the self-determination act in which they are taking back their health care needs within their communities. patient-based, community-based, preventive based. these are some of the things we as health care professionals really support and really try to build upon. we can look no further than our native american friends to see how we can start that capacity of rebuilding. sec of all, we talked about it briefly, that is the modality
of increased competition. this is a place that the government can actually, the federal government can help us an intercede. we all as professionals can work in unison, price fixing but insurance companies do that. this is where we can level the playing field by our federalist papers to allow open competition an vertical composition against each other across state lines. this gives us the opportunity to have much more opportunities for the marketplace. that gives us the opportunity to consumer based, so that my needs may be different. for example, i'm allergic to wheat. i need to take care of myself. i need to be able to have an opportunity, if i want wellness checks, if i want to see, i have different riders for lymphomas, all those things i need to have the opportunity for. that gives me the playing field in which i can play with. particularly when there's more options out there. competing against each other,
my good friend talked about state laws that give a monopoly to certain insurers within a state. s the opportunity to open those doors and start to bypass the erisa laws, opening up the competition model so we all have an opportunity. there was a conversation that was taking place but we've lost it. instead of a single payer, how about a single pool? here's our opportunity for opportunity to make sure we have got competition in the mark place. dentists know because we compete that way. once upon a time, insurance wanned to take over dentistry. there's an insurer called delta dental. it was dentistry building insurers for the payers. that's how we became the marketplace opportunity. this gave us the opportunity that everybody got to choose an pick and those are the things we have to look at. last but not least, all ports of this -- all parts of the government-run health care, we need to point at a vibrant economy.
no closer do we have to look at this discussion than the withholing tax. part of -- part of the money goes into the social security fund but also into medicare. when we don't have a vibrant economy, we don't have the money going into our health care. this is why it's all integrated. this isn't one separate entity, it's integrated into a nation with a vibrant economy. that's where we have to poignantly look, establish a new playing field, open up the rule, even get tort reform. we can learn from our states. this is one where one size doesn't fit all but we can work with a value. what happens in texas, what happens in california how much about mediation? medical malpractice cases have to go to mediation before they go to court? that's what happens in oregon. these are opportunities to take the brightest pieces across this country and put them together an work it on the basis for patient preference, allowing them to pick. there's nothing more dear to somebody than their health care. i'd like to thank my good
friend, dr. benishek, for putting this together an continuing the dialogue with the american people. thank you. mr. benishek: thank you. would the gentleman from -- >> would the gentleman from michigan yield for a couple of minutes? mr. benishek: absolutely. >> i appreciate the passionate discussion you had about the way physicians interact with patients and patients kind of expect that their care is going to be a personal decision. mr. harris: between their health care provider and themselves an their family. my understanding, and the gentleman from louisiana mentioned this, that independent payment advisory board, 15 bureaucrats appointed by the president, do either of the gentlemen, correct me if i'm wrong, they are by law cannot be a practicing physician. you might want to check one of those 2,700 pages.
i believe that the act by law says they cannot be a practicing physician. now, the gentleman in michigan pointed out something that every senior in america ought to really care about. those who take care of seniors, whose parents or grandparents are seniors. when your loved one is ill, do you really want the decision about whether they can receive care being made in an office in washington by somebody whose got to find a way to pay for that obamacare bill? because mr. speaker, that's the whole purpose of that independent payment advisory board. they've got to find $500 billion to take out of that medicare program. and who among us doesn't believe that when that bureaucrat sits down, they're
not going to be thinking about what's best for your loved one? they're not going to be thinking about what that physician or that health care provider's decision is about what the best care is. they're going to be thinking how they're going to make that budget work. to the gentleman from michigan, i will tell you, i think that's the way america thinks that decision is going to be made. they're going to believe that when government runs health care, it's going to be run just like government runs a whole lot of other things it runs. ask a senior district, i was a from -- ask the doctor from louisiana, doctor from michigan, doctor from georgia, ask the next medicare patient you take care of how long they have to wait on the phone when they call medicare. to the gentlelady from new york, my mother is 88, god