tv [untitled] CSPAN June 16, 2009 3:30pm-4:00pm EDT
thank my friend, the gentleman from new york, mr. arcuri, for yielding me time. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. diaz-balart: i rise in opposition of this unorthodox rule brought forth by the majority. it continues the precedent the majority set last year when they decided to no longer allow the house have open rules and instead use a restrictive rule that allows members to preprint any proposed amendments in the congressional record. so this is a restrictive rule even though the majority calls it an open rule with a preprinting requirement. . it was no long ago that the majority felt differently. at the end of 2004, the distinguished chairwoman of the rules committee, then ranking member of the rules committee, released a report called broken promises, the death of deliberative democracy. on page 26 of the report, the chairwoman said that she
considers rules with preprinting requirements, like today's rule, restrictive, not open. why exactly is this a restrictive rule? let me again quote the chairwoman's 2004 report. a preprinting requirement blocks any amendment proposal that might emerge during the course of debate. for example, mr. speaker, members will be blocked from offering germane changes to their own amendments if an issue surfaces during debate or if there is a minor drafting error. that is why yesterday during the hearing, i made a modification that allows members to make germane modifications to such amendments. my commonsense amendment was defeated by a straight party
line vote. i'll provide you of why i believe my amendment was important. during last year's consideration of the military construction and veterans' affairs appropriations bill, representative buyer submitted an amendment for consideration. however, the amendment had a drafting error and did not comply with one of the rules of the house. once congressman buyer realized the problem, we asked unanimous consent to change his amendment to achieve its original purpose and also to comply with the rules of the house. however, the majority blocked his unanimous consent request. if the bill had been considered under an open rule, representative buyer could simply have introduced a new amendment. but just like the bilk brought to the floor today, that bill was not considered under an open rule and members were blocked making germane changes to their amendments unless they received unanimous consent agreement.
yesterday, on the hearing on the supplemental appropriations bill, the rules committee ranking member, mr. dreier, attempted to ask the chairman -- chairwoman -- the chairman of the appropriations committee, the appropriations committee, mr. obey, how the majority would handle another occurance that occurred last year. but when mr. dreier began asking his question, the rules committee chairwoman did not allow mr. dreier from going forward with the question. the rules committee chairwoman explained the ruling by saying, the hearing on the underlying legislation was complete and the committee was now considering the supplemental funding bill. a bill that is an appropriations bill, just like the underlying legislation. and yet, the chairwoman found that asking the appropriations chairman about the upcoming
appropriations process during a hearing on an appropriations bill was inappropriate. i think that was unfortunate. please let me quote chairwoman slaughter's report from 2004. restrictive rules block dual-elected members of congress the opportunity to shape legislation in a manner that they believe is in the best interests of their constituents and the nation as a whole. they also blocked and i continue quoting, the full and fair airing of conflicting opinions. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to insert the relevant parts of the chairwoman's report into the record the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. diaz-balart: if the rule was restrictive under the majority's definition in 2004, why is it not the same today? i would make this restrictive rule more unfortunate is that the house has a long tradition of allowing open rules on
appropriations bills in order to's lou each member to offer germane amendments without having to preprint their amendments or receive approval from the rules committee. other than the recent use by the majority to restrict debate on appropriations bills, we have to look back nearly 15 years to the last time a restrictive rule was used. this is not a one time plan but the way the majority plans to consider all of the appropriations bills this year. so i believe that the majority is really not only subverting the rights of every member and also bipartisan and open debate on appropriations bills, but i think they are setting a dangerous precedent that is unfortunate. this is unnecessary and unfortunate. and i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york. mr. arcuri: i yield five minutes to the the gentleman from wisconsin, the distinguished chairman of the appropriations committee, mr. obey. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized for five minutes. mr. obey: i thank the gentleman for the time. mr. speaker, i want to rise to express my concern about the ability of this house to get its crucial work done under the circumstances in which we're operating. as i think every member of the house understands, president obama inherited an economic crisis and a foreign policy mess. and so the congress first had to turn our attention to dealing with that economic crisis. and we finally got that out of the way in the form of the
recovery act. we then had to finish all of last year's domestic appropriation bills, which took a considerable amount of time. and then we had to turn to the supplemental appropriation bill, which we will be debating later today to finish funding the middle eastern war efforts for the remainder of the fiscal year, because the previous administration had a practice of only asking for funding for that endeavor six months at a time. and now we are trying to bring up the first of 12 appropriation bills and in order to stay on schedule so we can do the people's business by the end of the fiscal year, we need to deal with all 12 of those bills in the next six weeks. i think that means that we have a problem.
in fiscal 2003, there were no amendments offered to this bill. in fiscal 2004, there were 10 amendments offered by republicans and six by democrats. in 2005, there were 19 offered by republicans and 11 by democrats. in 2006, it increased to 19 and 27. and in 2007, we had 38 amendments offered by republicans and 37 offered by democrats. today, we have had filed on this bill 127 amendments. now in the schedule that i announced last week for appropriation bills, we announced a schedule that would allow us to finish all of these appropriation bills by the august recess provided that we were able to stick to that
schedule. that schedule allocates about seven to eight hours of debate on all amendments on average for each bill. the problem that i see here with this amendment -- or with this bill, rather, is that we already have amendments filed that will take at least 23 hours and even if amendments are considered out of order, it still takes 10 minutes or so to dispose of each of those amendments. so last week, the majority leader and i met with my friend, the ranking member of the committee and the minority leader, asking whether or not it would be possible to reach agreement on time and on the number of amendments offered so that we could finish this bill along the schedule that we had outlined.
and at that time, the prospect did not seem too promising if i can be polite about it. and i would like to ask my friend from california at this point before we get into this bill, whether in light of the time squeeze that we have, whether the gentleman would be in a position to agree to a proposition that would, in fact, limit the number and time of amendments to that amount of -- or to that number and that amount of time that would enable us to cut that 23 hours down to about seven or eight hours. and i would be happy to yield to the gentleman. mr. lewis: i was interested in your commentary regarding the number of amendments in the past on this bill and other bills like it.
i, too, am very concerned about the time difficulty we are having. i would prefer to have it get back to regular order where we have open rules on these bills. at this point in time, because of the requirements of the majority, the preprinting requirements, there are a lot of members who are frustrated by this bill and they would like to make some serious changes but find themselves in a position that they can't provide amendments. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. arcuri: i yield an additional two minutes. mr. lewis: we can continue in this exchange. as a result of the change in the rules and the way we can provide amendments, there had been as many as 127 amendments preprint odd this bill. 104 of them by the minority who feel they have been cut out of the process. because of that and because of the importance of the issues in
this bill, i can't agree to a time limitation. the time you were discussing was like eight hours. my conference might have a new revolution on its hands and might have a new ranking member. mr. obey: i thank the gentleman for his frankness. and i regret the content of his response, but i do appreciate the fact that he is forthright and honest in laying out what the prospects would be. and mr. speaker, i think that presents a dilemma to the house, because we want to finish our business. and i would point out that the schedule that we have set out can be adhered to only if we can work out reasonable time limits with each of these bills. and i would point out that what we are trying to do with that schedule is allow ample time for discussion on these appropriation bills and also leave time on the calendar to
deal with the crucial issues of health care, climate change and the military authorization bill, among others. so i think at this point, the house has a problem. and i hope that we will face up to it forthrightly because we have an obligation to get the people's business done on time. and i thank the gentleman for his time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. diaz-balart: i yield five minutes to the distinguished gentleman from florida. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. posey: i rise to express my serious concerns about the bill before us today and about the lack of sufficient sufficient funding. the bill before us has $6.7 billion increase in spending over last year. that is a 12% over last year's spending. and while the overall nasa
budget gets a slight increase, the funding for the next space flight vehicle is cut by $166 million. while lawmakers can talk about supporting space exploration, the bottom line is that the united states will yield its preeminent space to russia after the last flight scheduled for 2010. this legislation does nothing to avert the gap. those who follow our nation's space budget realize what's at risk. soaring rhetoric and good intentions of playing financial catchup can surrender to other competing initiatives. delays in studies are the road to the grave yard for many legislative proposals. the bill's $566 million cut for our human space flight vehicle sends the wrong message to the
hard working men and women who are developing constellation now and sends the wrong message to college students seeking science and math degrees and tells them that human space flight is not a priority in this country. this message will not go unnoticed in moscow. this passed the committee, including $4 million for the constellation program. yet today, the bill before us takes all that funding back and then some. poof, like a shell game. if the inadequate funding level for nasa that is contained in this bill is allowed to stand as it is, then our nation's human space flight program will be dealt a serious blow. let's look at several of the spending items in the bill. the bill increases funds for the cops program by $252 million over 2009 and this on top of $1
billion in the stimulus bill. the bill sends 7.4 billion on the census, an increase over last year. the bill increases funding for national science foundation by $446 million over 2009 to promote scientific research by students, yet, it cuts funding for human space flight. a if the head of patents and scientific discovery. . i appreciate the work that you do and the challenges before you. with that the united states cannot maintain our leadership in space if we don't have it. it is for this reason we must work to restore funding that was cut from this program. i look forward to working with you and my colleagues over the next several months to restore the funding so we can get our nation's human space flight vehicle back on track. the cut of this magnitude at this critical stage cannot,
absolutely must not be allowed to stand. i thank you, mr. speaker. i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york. mr. arcuri: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield four minutes to the distinguished gentlewoman from ohio, former colleague from the rules committee, ms. sutton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from ohio is recognized for four minutes. ms. sutton: thank you, mr. speaker much and i thank the gentleman, my good friend from new york, for the time and for his leadership. i also want to thank chairman obey for all of the hard work he has put into developing this bill that will fund some of our nation's most critical needs, including funding for prisons and law enforcement initiatives related to the southwest border, along with promoting important scientific research and development. this bill provides $30.6 billion for investments in science, technology and innovation, including $6.9 billion for the national science foundation. whose grants in the past have allowed researchers in our
colleges and universities to discover fundamental particles of matter to develop carbon 14 dating of ancient of artifacts and to decode genetics of virus, to name just a few. it provides $1 billion to the science, technology education and math for our students -- from graduate students all the way down to kindergarten. so we are going to educate our students for the future to continue to be leaders in innovation in this global world. it also invests $781 million in the national institute of standards and technology, which is very important for the area that i represent. it provides for scientific and technical research services. along with $125 billion million for the manufacturing extension partnerships, we will be investing $125 million to help small and mid-sized
manufacturers compete globally by providing them with technical advice and access to technology as well as leveraging private funds to save and create jobs. and this program has been vital to the 13th district of ohio resulting in jobs that can be directly linked to it. we're also investing $70 million to fund high-risk, high-reward research into areas of critical national need done by colleges and universities and labs. that is through the technology innovation program. this bill in addition provides much-needed funding for the bureau of prisons to protect american citizens. according to the bureau of justice statistics, in a 15-state study over 2/3 of the released prisoners were rearrested within three years. with this in mind the bureau of prisons is provided with $6.2 billion in correction staffing,
education and drug treatment as well as an investment for second-chance act offender re-entry programs. the bill also provides much-needed $298 million for the cops hiring program that when combined with the $1 billion provided for in the program in the recovery act will put 7,000 new police officers on the streets of american communities, improving the safety for our constituents. and the ongoing drug violence on our southwest border is also addressed in this bill by providing funds for the d.e.a. to combat the flow of illegal drugs across the border for the a.t.f. to reduce violent crimes and enforce firearms and explosive laws and for the department-wide southwest border initiative to secure our border against violence and drug trafficking. with all of that in mind, i rise in support of the rule and the underlying bill, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentlewoman from ohio yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from florida. mr. diaz-balart: mr. speaker, i yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished gentleman from california, mr. dreier. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. dreier: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, like all of my colleagues, i know i speak for all of my colleagues when i say that i revere this institution. 220 years ago this summer james madison, following the urging of his constituents came back to the house of representatives, doing something that he actually opposed when he penned the u.s. constitution, that being the implementation of the very important bill of rights. something that we as americans spent a lot of time thinking about and something that the rest of the world looks to. there are people in iran today who are looking at our bill of rights as they think about the
need to pursue democracy and choose their leaders in their country. and people all over the world continue to look to our bill of rights. and it was 220 years ago this summer that james madison moved the bill of rights through this institution, and i'm going to next month spend some time talking about that historic summer 220 years ago. and i say that simply to underscore the fact that i have such great regard for the precedence and for the rules of the house of representatives. and i considered it to be a great privilege to serve with mr. diaz-balart and mr. arcuri and the other members who serve on the house rules committee. and i take the work there very, very seriously. and i believe that we're at a
troubling moment when it comes to the deliberative nature of this institution. we had the exchange that took place between the chairman of the committee on appropriations and the ranking member of the committee on appropriations on this process of filing amendments. we had a rigorous debate that took place in the rules committee yesterday about the fact that appropriations bills are considered as privileged. as you know, mr. speaker, what that means is that there's no need for a special rule for consideration of appropriations bills. it is constitutionally a very important part of the process. article 1, section 9 of the constitution makes it very clear that spending doesn't imnate from the white house. -- emanate from the white house. it emanates from the congress. it begins here in the house of representatives.
and as i stand here i think of conversations i had with one of the greatest members to ever serve here, the gentleman from kentucky, mr. matcher, who was chairman of the appropriations committee, long-time committee of the health subcommittee, and i remember his saying to me that he believed appropriations bills should come to the floor without being considered with a special rule because they are considered as privileged. but the tradition over the past several decades has been that the need for a special rule would allow for protection of the bill, meaning that points of order cannot be raised against the work product of the appropriations committee and that we would then allow for an open amendment process. meaning that any member could stand up here in the house and offer a germane amendment to the appropriations bill. and it's true that the
appropriations process can be prolonged and it has been in the past. but having when we were in the majority presided regularly over the treasury postal appropriations bill, i remember witnessing the chairman, the ranking member of the full committee or the subcommittee come together and have an agreement that amendments would be addressed and they would put an outside time limit for consideration of those amendments. over my nearly three decades here, mr. speaker, i've seen that happen on a regular basis. and guess what, it's worked out pretty dog gone well. now, -- doggone well. now, 127 amendments were filed yesterday at the rules committee to the commerce, justice, state appropriations bill. that was not necessary. that was not necessary and it
would not have happened had we had the standard open amendment process for consideration of measures. yes, there are a number of very important issues that i and my colleagues believe should be addressed in this appropriations bill. but i will say that it could be done under an open amendment process. but unfortunately the majority has decided to not only have a preprinting requirement but to set an arbitrary deadline so that if an appropriations bill may be considered more than a day or so later one could not file additional amendments for consideration of the measure. and in our attempt to get a commitment that we would simply be able to allow members to make germane modifications, modifications to their
amendments we have been denied that. in fact we had a vote in the rules committee last night, and i know, mr. speaker, i apologize, this is very inside baseball. i know i may not be quite on message, but i think the message is a very clear one. it's fairness in dealing with the challenges that the american people are facing. so we on a party line vote, mr. speaker, had this vote and we were denied the opportunity to allow members to even make germane modifications to amendments that had been submitted to the rules committee. now, mr. diaz-balart is going to make an attempt to defeat the previous question and this vote on the previous question is one that will simply say that we as an institution want the american people through their elected representatives to have the chance, the chance to think about, deliberate and
vote on the measures included in this appropriations bill and we hope in the other, i guess it's 11 now, appropriations bills in addition to the one that we're considering here today. it's a troubling pattern which undermines deliberate are a tif democracy. now, it's not -- deliberative democracy. now it's not unusual but it's very troubling. i don't know how many amendments would have been offered if we had an open amendment process. but guess what, i don't believe, mr. speaker, for a second that 127 amendments would be offered. i think it would be many, many fewer than that. but when the members of this house, democrats and republicans alike are told that they can't even make germane modifications to their amendments that there was little choice other than to have members file many, many,
many different amendments so we will at least be able to allow this process to proceed. chairman obey referred to the fact that the issue of global climate change, the issue of health care, all issues that the democratic majority wants to bring to the forefront in the next couple of months. we understand elections have consequences, and those are issues that they clearly have a right to bring up. we want to address those issues in a slightly different way, but we don't believe that we should be addressing those issues at the expense of the very important process enshrined in article 1, section 9 of the u.s. constitution, and that is the power of the purse, the appropriations process. so, mr. speaker, i am going to urge my colleagues to join mr. diaz-balart, the gentleman from miami, in attempting to defeat the previous question in the name of deliberative democracy so that we a