Floor Statements

May 10, 2012
First of all, federal employees have contributed $75 billion over the last two years towards helping us reduce the deficit – $75 billion. No other working American has been asked to do that. You treat federal employees in this House as second-class working people. That's wrong. This is a 5% tax increase on federal employees. Nobody else. Nobody else do we ask. The richest people in America, we don't ask them to help solve this deficit problem. But federal employees, yes, a $75 billion contribution, and you don't blink an eye because it's easy – because we demagogue about government and, by association, we demagogue about ‘bureaucrats’ used as an epithet.
May 9, 2012
Mr. Speaker, today we are ending the uncertainty for American manufacturers waiting for Congress to act by coming together to re-authorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank. I want to thank the Republican leader, Mr. Cantor, and his staff – I mentioned Neil Bradley before – for working with Democrats to find common ground and reach an agreement that is supported by both business and labor, Democrats and Republicans. I also want to commend Ranking Member Barney Frank of the Financial Services Committee and Carolyn McCarthy who's done such an extraordinary effort on this effort as well. She’s the Ranking Member – Mr. Miller chairs it – of the International Monetary Policy Subcommittee.  Their hard work has been important to make sure this agreement will help American businesses save and create jobs.
April 27, 2012
I served on the Labor and Health Committee for 23 years. Bill Natcher from Kentucky used to say this: if you take care of the health of your people and invest in the education of your young people, you'll continue to be the strongest and best nation on the face of the Earth.
April 26, 2012
Sixty four years ago, the State of Israel was born out from the hope of the generations and on the heels of history’s darkest human tragedy.  Notwithstanding the many grave challenges it has faced since that day and still in our time, Israel has achieved a thriving economy, a strong national defense, and an important role as a member of the family of nations.  Israel’s existence itself is a powerful symbol of the Jewish people’s resolve never again to permit its sons and daughters to face the threat of persecution or genocide.
April 19, 2012
It is hard to call us to responsibility, but that's what our public wants. Our public wants it on the right, they want it on the left, and they want it on the middle. This is a totally fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation, and you know it. And I know you know it. And America ought to know you know it.
March 29, 2012
But there is no balance in this proposal. Seniors, middle class, vulnerable, working Americans are asked to pay the price of this agreement. And, indeed, not only are they asked to pay the price, but the best-off among us is asked to do the least. That's not the America of which we are all proud that has worked together, sacrificed together at times, to come together to make a joint contribution to the welfare of this country.
March 28, 2012
The Chairman of the Budget Committee has spoken of a choice between two futures.  He is correct in framing it this way.  The budget he proposes would end the Medicare guarantee, cut taxes for the wealthiest, and place our economic recovery at risk. 
March 8, 2012
Our budgets reflect our values and the direction we want for this country in the year ahead – and for several years beyond.  With our economic recovery gathering momentum, we ought to ensure that our budget for Fiscal Year 2013 strengthens that recovery and helps American businesses create jobs that grow our middle class.
March 7, 2012
I rise in strong support of these six pieces of legislation, which have been put together and called a jobs bill. I think they will have a positive effect on economic growth in our country. I think they are good bills.  I particularly support the Himes bill, currently called the Quayle bill, but I’m pleased to support it, by whoever's name it might have on it. Four out of the six components of this legislation have already been previously considered and passed overwhelmingly, so this is a recycle – but doing a good thing twice is not bad, so I’m going to vote for it and I’m going to be enthusiastic about voting for it. As a matter of fact, I suggested a number of these ideas on our side of the aisle.  
March 7, 2012
On this day in 1965, 600 men and women marched from the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama, on their way to the state capitol in Montgomery.  They marched for freedom and the right to vote that had been denied them.  As they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their way out of town, they were met with the violence borne from bigotry and forced to turn back.  My friend and esteemed colleague, John Lewis, who led the march along with Hosea Williams, was beaten nearly to death.  However, their determination to be heard and to participate in our democracy could never be turned back.  The sad events of that day, which became known as ‘Bloody Sunday,’  were broadcast across America, opening the eyes of millions to the injustices of Jim Crow.  Later that month, thousands gathered in solidarity and with faith in the promise of America, setting out from that same place and together they walked across that bridge, to the state capitol in Montgomery, and into the pages of history. 
March 6, 2012
Donald Payne was an extraordinarily conscientious member of this body. But more than that, he was a man who cared about his fellow men and fellow women. Donald Payne was a serious member of this body. That does not mean he was always serious. He had a sense of humor. He was a wonderful, engaging person. But he was serious about what he did, and it reflected how deeply he cared about those whom he served and about his country.
February 17, 2012
I know that everybody on my side would have supported the agreement that Mr. Van Hollen and I put forward. That agreement would, as the current agreement would say, that the only individuals paying for this bill out of 315 million Americans are the two million civilian workers who work for us, who work for all of us, who day after day, week after week, month after month make sure we give the services to the people of the United States, protect the United states, ensure that our food is safe, ensure that we have FBI agents on the job, make sure at the Defense Intelligence Agency we know what other people are doing, these are all civilian employees. Highly skilled, highly trained, highly educated and, yes, highly motivated. And every day they give outstanding service to the people of the United States. We talk here and we pass laws here but none of that talk and none of those laws make a difference unless somebody implements what we say and the policies that we set. This Congress is on the path to be the most anti-federal worker Congress that I have served in.
January 18, 2012
According to a new poll by The Washington Post and ABC News, 84% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job. I don't know that the other 16% are paying attention, because we're not doing our job well. And this certainly is not doing our job well. The reason it's not doing our job well is because it is a pretense. A sham. This legislation is to pay bills that we've already incurred. Whether it was incurred with your votes or our votes, we have incurred those expenses.
December 13, 2011
We must not leave this city and our responsibilities without extending unemployment insurance. We must not leave Washington, DC, for this holiday season to deliver a block of coal in the stockings of our constituents by failing to continue the tax cut from their payroll taxes. And we must not leave Washington, DC, without affecting a continuation of the proper reimbursement of doctors to ensure that Medicare patients will be able to get their doctors' services. So we have three items to focus on to get done and nine appropriation bills.
December 7, 2011
The Republican Leader and I may debate vigorously on many issues, but one area where we strongly agree is on making Congress more transparent and accessible. Recently, Congress took steps to open up the Capitol building, this Visitor’s Center, so citizens can meet with their Representatives and see the home of their legislature. In the same way, Congress is now taking steps to update how it connects with the American people online.
November 16, 2011
Last year, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, said that – and I quote: 'Our national debt is our biggest national security threat.' We must do something to start paying down the debt, and that something is in the hands of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
November 14, 2011
"With a crucial election less than one year away, I am very pleased Rep. Conyers held this forum today to examine the impact of new state measures that put the voting rights of millions of Americans at risk," said Whip Hoyer. "The right to vote is fundamental to our entire system of government and we must do everything in our power to ensure that every eligible American has the right to participate in our democracy and make their voices heard.”  
November 2, 2011
Community banks, Mr. Speaker, are the lifeblood of our local economies. They are locally owned and operated. They know their local businesses and residents intimately and lend to them not just because it's a sound business decision, but also because it benefits the community. With the credit and lending crisis we have experienced over the past couple of years, the small banks that operate in our local communities face numerous challenges just to stay afloat.
October 14, 2011
On Tuesday, the Senate sent us a bill that would help American workers and businesses who are facing unfair competition as a result of other countries manipulating their currencies. It passed with strong bipartisan support, but the House Republican leadership has refused to bring it up for a vote – even though it passed the House last year by a wide bipartisan margin.
September 23, 2011
Today, Leader Reid offered unanimous consent, which essentially adopted the agreement we made in very tough negotiations over the debt limit and an agreement that emergencies like natural disasters needed additional headroom. There was an agreement that we would have additional spending if we were faced with a disaster. In the House debate, clearly everyone understood that we were faced with the disasters.
September 23, 2011
This is a legislative arena, not a coliseum to attack one another. It is a legislative arena to try to come together and do what the American public expect us to do.
September 21, 2011
I rise in opposition to this bill. Now, all of us are for a Continuing Resolution which keeps the government in business. In the past on both sides of the aisle we have talked about clean CR’s. Clean CRs in the short-term, this going until November 18, to keep government running. I was hopeful we would have such a CR this time. So that we would not continue to give to the American public the feeling that we can't come to agreement.
September 15, 2011
My friend has been recently quoted; I’m sure, accurately, perhaps, correct me if I’m wrong, in saying that during the first eight months we focused on ‘cut’ of [Republicans’] ‘cut and grow’ [plan], and now we need to focus on ‘grow.’ I would tell my friend, assuming that quote is accurate, that in fact here we are again focused on ‘cut,’ not on ‘grow.’
September 15, 2011
First of all, the issue here has been raised by a case that is not yet concluded. Let me state that again. The issue raised in this legislation is referenced to a case that is not yet concluded. And seeks to either pose our judgment for the finder of fact and law's judgment. Normally we believe that's a bad practice, in a nation of laws not of men.