Floor Statements

September 14, 2011
I rise, Mr. Speaker, to urge my colleagues to vote down this resolution of disapproval, which is transparently political and which will do nothing to secure our nation's fiscal future. In fact, this resolution is premised on the assumption that the American people are ignorant – I don't believe it – ignorant about America’s fiscal challenges. As often as some in this House attempt to falsely persuade the American people that raising the debt ceiling means taking on more debt, we are here to repeat the truth: this is about paying the bills we have already incurred. The American people understand that fact, as evidenced by their disgust with the partisan brinksmanship that almost brought America to the brink of default.
September 14, 2011
This week, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction began work on a roadmap to bring down our nation’s deficit and restore our fiscal health. They heard from Doug Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, who reiterated once again what we already know: our nation’s current fiscal position is not sustainable. We also know that the problem we’re facing stems in part from buying things without paying for them, including two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy, and a prescription drug program.  
September 12, 2011
 The Congressional Black Caucus did two things. It said, we hear and we say ‘ouch.’ We understand the pain you're experiencing. We feel your pain. But if all we do is empathize and feel pain, that's not enough. Our President addressed us this last week. He said we can shrug our shoulders and say, there's 14 months until the next election but the people in pain can't wait 14 months. That's what the Congressional Black Caucus did. Tens of thousands of people showed up throughout this nation because somebody offered hope and not just hope but real deliverables. Jobs were gotten. Interviews were set up. Training sessions for how you apply, how you dress, how you talk to prospective employers - those kinds of seminars were given. A difference was made by the Congressional Black Caucus traveling throughout this country.
September 8, 2011
While I would prefer for us to be addressing a reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, today’s legislation reflects bipartisan support for innovation in public schools and improving educational opportunities for students who still lack access to a high-quality education.
August 1, 2011
We have missed, in my opinion, a wonderful opportunity. An opportunity to make a ‘grand bargain,’ as the Speaker wanted to do, as Leader Pelosi wanted to do, as Leader Reid wanted to do, as the president wanted to do, and as the vice president wanted to do.
July 30, 2011
Our neighbors, our friends sent us here to be responsible and to come to the aid of our country at a time of crisis. Our country is at such a time now. Our people confront uncertainty and fear and they're looking to us for the courage to compromise and act to prevent default and gridlock and irresponsibility.
July 28, 2011
We find ourselves at an unprecedented place today. America stands on the brink of default. It stands there, my friends, because the leadership of this House has failed to act in a timely and responsible way. This is an unprecedented status for America, an intolerable place. And Americans are understandably outraged at the politically-caused impasse that confronts us, the consequences of which have been correctly characterized as catastrophic.  
July 21, 2011
This legislation puts the special interests ahead of the public interest by weakening the entity that shields responsible consumers from financial abuses. Last year, Congress passed an important Wall Street reform bill in order to prevent a job-destroying financial crisis from happening again. And one of the most crucial parts of that bill was the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog that would look out for the interests of ordinary Americans who want to sign mortgages, apply for student loans, and start businesses on honest and fair terms. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is empowered to ensure that lenders provide clear, plain-language explanations of loan terms—and to stop the kind of abusive and deceptive loan practices that helped drive our economy off a cliff. If such protections had been in place in the last decade, the odds of a crisis would have been significantly less.
July 21, 2011
In this very important debate, do we need to bring down spending? We do; but one of the interesting facets of every report that's been issued in a bipartisan way—the so-called Gang of Six, the Simpson-Bowles Commission, the Domenici-Rivlin Commission—is the premise that we must not take action that undermines the most vulnerable among us. I know my friends on the Republican side of the aisle, who pride themselves on being the party of Lincoln, understand Lincoln's message of healing, of bringing us together, of making sure that we lifted up our fellow citizens and cared for the sick and for the homeless, for the young, and yes, for the old. So I thank Chairwoman Lee, such an extraordinarily courageous and powerful voice on behalf of those who sometimes have no voice. I am pleased to join my voice to hers and hopefully to all 435 of us who have been given the privilege of serving in this body—to raise our voices on this day on behalf of a nation that has been perceived around the world as being a nation of hope, of opportunity, of heart, and of soul. Let us reflect that in whatever way we go forward in ensuring the fiscal health of our nation, the health of our people—physically, mentally, financially—is equally important.
July 19, 2011
 The American public is rightfully very distressed with the Congress of the United States. They’re distressed that a time of great challenge and great risk, we fiddle while the debt threatens to burn us, to place our country in the position of being judged un-creditworthy. That is not worthy of this Congress, or any one of us who serves in this Congress. We have 14 days, according to the Secretary of the Treasury, until such time as America will be unable to pay its obligations. That is not a situation that will be looked at positively by the financial sector, or by any one of our constituents whose ability to save, to have a 401-k that is stable, to purchase an automobile or a refrigerator, or to send their kid to college will be put at risk because of increased interest rates. Not one of us will be held harmless if this Congress fails to do its duty.
July 8, 2011
Now the gentleman makes the point that spending is out of control. The fact is, as the gentleman clearly knows, that when you were in charge of the House and the Presidency and the Senate you increased spending by more than was increased during the Clinton administration by a percentage on an annual basis. So that I’m glad to hear that your side now, without fail, talks about spending being out of control. As a matter of fact, I have a feeling if your side was spending five cents that would you think that we would need to cut an additional five cents in revenues so that we could not pay the bills. That's why we ran up $6 trillion in deficits. You did not pay for what you bought. I’m with those who strongly believe we ought to pay for what we buy, but I also believe that we ought not to put this country on the brink of financial chaos and bring us down in the eyes of the world because we don't extend our debt.
July 7, 2011
Last month, the House voted against defunding the American military mission in Libya. That was the right decision, and it still is: along with our NATO allies, we intervened in Libya in response to Moammar Gadhafi’s violent repression of his own people, and the explicit promise of worse to come. It's also important to remember that Gadhafi has more American blood on his hands than anyone other than Osama bin Laden. And we must remember that we intervened in response to calls from the Arab League, the United Nations, the European Union, and a unanimous NATO.
July 6, 2011
I believe that there is only one lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a future of two states for two peoples, living in security and peace with one another. Such a solution is in the best interests of regional peace, and in the best interests of both parties to the conflict. That is why I strongly believe that ensuring the long term viability of the Jewish, democratic state of Israel also requires supporting a homeland for the Palestinian people.
June 24, 2011
In recent months, people across the Middle East have bravely stood to demand that their governments respect their fundamental rights. The Libyan people, who have been subject to the dictatorship of Moammar Gadhafi for more than four decades, were among those who insisted that enough was enough. Gadhafi responded by unleashing widespread violence and threatening countless lives—publicly promising to go ‘door to door’ to kill those who stood against him.
June 23, 2011
I rise in support of this legislation. I am a strong supporter, as many of you know, of what we call it our Make It In America agenda. Make It In America simply means we are going to provide jobs, we are going to provide opportunities, and we are going to build the manufacturing sector of our economy. In order to do that we also need to enhance the inventive, innovative, and development phases of our economy. This bill, I think, will facilitate this.  
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.