Floor Statements

June 21, 2011
The right to vote is at the foundation of our democracy—and so it is extremely disappointing that this bill would undermine our nation’s ability to protect that right.
June 14, 2011
 We will not balance the budget on the backs of children. We will not balance this budget on the backs of women who need nutrition and health care. That's not how we're going to balance the budget, and the gentleman from Maryland made that point, I think, very effectively. If we cut out all defense and discretionary spending, we wouldn't balance our budget. That's the magnitude of the problem that faces us. But a great country, America, should not ask our children who need nutritional programs, who need health programs, to pay the price of our irresponsibility, because we have failed to pay for what we buy.
May 31, 2011
This is a serious issue. Our country is in crisis from a fiscal standpoint. But this vote is not the 'adult moment' of which Speaker Boehner spoke. This is not an honest debate; this is not an honest proposal.
May 26, 2011
I support this amendment. In 2001, in response to the attacks of 9/11, the United States began a war in Afghanistan that targeted Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, which provided bin Laden with sanctuary and aid. I supported this effort at the time. We have been pursuing this conflict for nearly a decade. The death of Osama bin Laden was a landmark moment in our ongoing struggle to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat the terrorist networks that intend to do Americans harm, and that struggle has not ended with bin Laden’s death.
May 5, 2011
This May, as we celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, we have the opportunity to reflect on the long, rich history of Jewish Americans. Since 1654, when they first arrived to this nation in search of a place to practice their religion freely, the Jewish community has enriched our culture, bolstered our economy and contributed to all aspects of our society.
May 4, 2011
Through the centuries, Americans and people around the world have seen America as the land of opportunity—a place where they and their families could “make it.” Today, Democrats are presenting an agenda that focuses on that dream and seeks to make it real for all Americans, an agenda for the 112th Congress—a job-creating agenda, which we’ve worked hard to develop.
April 13, 2011
Today, President Obama is speaking on a plan to confront our nation’s unsustainable deficits. I believe it will stand in stark contrast to the Republican budget: a budget of disastrous priorities that concentrates its pain on middle- and working-class Americans, while creating yet another windfall for the wealthy—at a time when income inequality is at a height we haven’t seen since the 1920s.
April 8, 2011
Isn't it a shame, I tell my friend who just spoke, that his colleagues objected to unanimous consent request yesterday which would have taken care of the problem he raises today? There's not a person on this Floor that doesn't want to make sure that our men and women in harm's way and in uniform ready to be put in harm's way are paid on time. But we're playing a political game here—a game of got you, a game of my way or the highway—not a game of coming together from all over the country and trying to make laws for our country that require compromise.
April 7, 2011
I want to say to the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, how often he and I have said, you know, when we have these impasses, we need a clean CR. This CR is unclean. This CR will not get us to where you say you want to get, Mr. Chairman, and that's not shutting down the government. Because you know and I know the President will not sign this bill. Why? Because you put in poison pills that you know are unacceptable to him. Why? So you can get the votes on your side of the aisle to vote for your bill to keep the government open. Why is that difficult? Because so many of your folks, unless they get 100%, are prepared to shut down the government.
April 7, 2011
I thank the Majority Leader for yielding. I share his view we ought to keep the government running, not only the sake of our economy but for the sake of all those that rely on the federal government. My friend has made the observation in the past that shutting down the government, and I believe the Speaker made the same observation, was not a national policy for us to pursue. I ask the gentleman because I believe that the resolution that we will be considering will not either pass the Senate nor be signed by the President. In light of that, and in light of the fact that the Majority Leader of the Senate and the Speaker have both indicated that negotiations are ongoing, would the gentleman agree to a unanimous consent that we, as we have done so often in the past, when the majority Democrats were in control of the House and the Senate, disagreed with President Bush, that we would have a “hold in place” unanimous consent Continuing Resolution, not changing the status on either side of the negotiations, for seven days, which would give the parties the opportunity to come to an agreement? My understanding from the Leader of the Senate is that we have agreed to some $70 billion in cuts, which is a substantial way toward what you wanted and a show that we share the view that we need to have fiscal restraint. So I ask my friend if I made a unanimous consent request that we continue the government authority to stay running until next Friday without changing the status quo so that neither party would be disadvantaged and that our government would in fact, as the gentleman observes is his objective, be able to stay in service to the American people.
April 6, 2011
Rather than invest in new energy technology, address carbon pollution, and create clean energy jobs—a priority of the Democrats’ Make It In America agenda—Republicans are choosing instead to deny the problem and take away America’s tools for responding to it.
April 6, 2011
Budgets are not simply about dollars and cents: they are about values and priorities. And the debate over spending has revealed Republican priorities in the worst possible light.
April 1, 2011
April fool's, America. This is a joke, America. This is not real, America. As a matter of fact, Mr. Woodall of Georgia says it's not real; it's not going to pass the Senate. He made that very clear. The Majority Leader just said if the Senate won't take what we give them we're going to shut down the government. That's what he just said. And that's what I believe to be the case.
March 31, 2011
In 1998, as a Republican Congress was struggling to compromise with a Democratic president on a budget bill, a Member of the House rose to speak to what he called ‘the Perfectionist Caucus’—those Members who stood against compromise under any circumstances. Here’s what he said: ‘Now, my fine friends who are perfectionists, each in their own world, where they are petty dictators, could write a perfect bill….It would be about 2,200 of their particular projects and their particular interests and their particular goodies taking care of their particular states. But that is not the way life works in a free society….In a free society, where we are sharing power between the legislative and executive branch, [compromise] is precisely the outcome we should expect to get.
March 16, 2011
Closing those loopholes can also reduce the deficit. In the spending bill on the floor this week, total discretionary spending for Fiscal Year 2011 adds up to $1.1 trillion. How much do our tax expenditures cost for the same fiscal year? Coincidentally—$1.1 trillion. Closing tax loopholes isn’t the only answer to our budget challenges—but it must be part of the answer. Because if we attempt to solve our debt without addressing defense, entitlements, and revenue, we’re fighting with one hand and four fingers tied behind our back.
March 15, 2011
We can compete with anybody in the world, frankly, given the proper environment. And I’ve talked to numerous members of the corporate community. I've talked to labor. I've talked to the National Association of Manufacturers. And we are going to pursue this Make It In America agenda because Americans know that we need to be focused on jobs, on expanding opportunity and providing for good wages and good benefits for working American families so they can provide a good life for themselves and their families. And as a consequence of doing so we'll create communities and states and a nation which will be and continue to be the envy of the world.
March 15, 2011
Now, the fact of the matter is this is a lousy way to run a railroad. We are trying to run the largest enterprise in the world in two-week segments. It is costly to the private sector. It is extraordinarily inefficient for the public sector, and it is demoralizing for the private sector who deals with the government and for the public employees we have asked to perform the service that is we have set forth as policy. And so I say at this juncture, this ought to be the last of this type. We need to reach agreement.
March 11, 2011
Now, we're looking for a counteroffer because we don't agree with some of H.R. 1, as you well know. As a matter of fact, every conservative Democrat, every liberal Democrat and everybody in between voted no on H.R. 1, as did three of your Republicans over there and Susan Collins, who voted for it, said she didn't like the elements in it. So what I am saying to my friend, very sincerely, is he can preach all he wants that we need to cut spending. We agree with that. And the issue is where do you cut it from? What impact does it have? Does it sustain the economy or does it deflate the economy? Does it create jobs or does it lose jobs? Does it help people who need help or does it abandon people who need help? That's the issue.
March 10, 2011
In recent weeks, I’ve come to the floor to argue that the Republican spending plan does two extremely harmful things: it weakens our economy and fails to seriously reduce our debt. Democrats agree that cutting spending is part of the solution to our deficit problem—but we also believe that cuts should be smart and targeted, not reckless.
March 1, 2011
Our deep debt is a serious danger to our economic future and our children’s opportunities. The American people want us to bring the debt down, and I doubt that there’s a Member here who disagrees.
February 16, 2011
If our country continues on a course of fiscal irresponsibility, and continues to pile debt on our children, we will all feel the consequences, no matter our party. It is vital that our two parties work together to put our fiscal house in order. So when I tell the House how disappointed I am in Republicans’ spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year, I’m coming from a perspective of real worry about our debt—a defining challenge that must be met seriously and thoughtfully. Sadly, that’s not the seriousness we see in Republicans’ spending bill for the rest of this fiscal year.
February 15, 2011
In 1993, we looked the fiscal situation of our country in the eye. We had sustained $1.4 trillion of deficit spending under President Reagan and $1.1 trillion of deficit spending under President Bush. We put legislation on the floor and said that we need to meet our fiscal responsibilities. Not a single Republican voted for that legislation. But over the next eight years, we had a net surplus in this country—the only time in the lifetime of anyone in this body that it’s happened. Unfortunately, the last administration ran up $3.8 trillion in deficits. And we inherited an economy that was in substantial freefall. We adopted legislation that tried to stabilize the economy, and the good news is that the economy has stabilized. But we still haven’t gotten to where we want to be—far too many Americans remain out of work.
February 11, 2011
This resolution directs House committees to review federal regulations for their effect on our economy. I agree with it—in fact, that’s oversight that committees should already be doing. Democrats believe that it’s important to vigorously review regulations to make sure they’re keeping pace with a changing economy—and that’s why President Obama has already issued an executive order that calls for such a review.
January 25, 2011
After borrowing trillions of dollars to finance tax cuts, a new entitlement, and two wars, Republicans tell us that they are now taking the deficit seriously. And if they meant it; if they were interested in the deficit as anything other than a political cudgel; if they actually used their House majority to back up their words with action—then no one would be happier than the Democratic Party. Our deficit is too big for partisan politics: it cripples our children’s opportunities; it makes it harder for them to pay for a college education, buy a home, start a business, or plan a future.
January 19, 2011
Last year, Democrats acted to reform health care in America: to make it easier for small businesses to cover their employees; to take important steps to bring down costs; and to stop insurance company abuses that bankrupt sick Americans or deny them coverage.