Floor Statements

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.
January 12, 2011
This week, we pause the work of this House to mourn the lost lives of six of our fellow citizens—one born on that day of tragedy and carnage when thousands were slain in an equally indiscriminate, heinous act of hate—citizens shot dead on Saturday in Tucson, Arizona in pursuit of their 'right to peaceably assemble.' We come, as well, to honor those who risked their lives to save others; to pray for the lives of the wounded; and to pray for our colleague and friend, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
January 5, 2011
I rise in opposition to this rules package, not for small reasons, but because it authorizes trillions of dollars of new debt, without paying for it. There are two ways to create debt: you can buy things and not pay for it, or you can simply cut revenues and make yourself unable to pay for things. If you don’t cut spending or maintain revenues consistent with your spending, then you will inevitably create new debt.
December 21, 2010
The America COMPETES Act expands support for research and development, helping the United States to remain the world’s innovation leader. It creates jobs for the short-term and lays a foundation for long-term prosperity. And it is an important part of the 'Make It In America' agenda—a series of important bills designed to help America regain its manufacturing strength.
December 17, 2010
This Defense Authorization bill is about securing our nation in stronger and smarter ways. It builds on our strong Democratic record of putting new and better weapons into the battlefield; increasing support for human intelligence collection, cybersecurity, and security for our skies, our ports, and our borders; and looking out for our troops, our veterans, and their families.
December 15, 2010
This May, the House approved the repeal of our Armed Forces’ policy of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,' by a vote of 234-194, during consideration of the Defense Authorization bill. We voted to end an outdated policy that damages our national security—pending a comprehensive Defense Department report that would review the issues associated with implementing repeal and study our troops’ attitudes toward open service for gays and lesbians.
December 8, 2010
I understand that immigration is an issue that divides many of us in this House; it’s an issue that arouses more passion than most others. But the test of governing responsibly is whether, even in the face of those divisions, we can come together to make progress on the basis of principles that ought to be universal.
December 1, 2010
The Centers for Disease Control tell us that, over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled. Nearly one out of every five American children between the ages of six and 19 is obese. That doesn’t just mean a lifetime of health problems for those children—it means a public health crisis that we all pay for. We pay for it in billions of dollars in health care costs each year. And we even pay for it in military readiness, with at least 9 million young adults too overweight to serve in our armed forces, according to a coalition of retired senior military leaders.  
November 30, 2010
Today, the House has an opportunity to bring an end to two historic injustices. We can do so by approving the settlements in the Pigford and Cobell class-action lawsuits, helping to make amends to African American farmers and more than 300,000 Native Americans.
September 23, 2010
In our work to recover from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, small businesses play a very important role. They are our economy's job-creating engine: over the past year, 64% of new jobs came from small businesses. Keeping small businesses growing and creating jobs is essential to our recovery. And supporting small businesses is an essential part of rebuilding American industry—which is why this important small business lending bill is part of Democrats' Make It In America agenda, a plan to strengthen American manufacturing and its ability to create well-paying, middle-class jobs.
September 22, 2010
In fewer than four months, Southern Sudan will hold a referendum on independence, which was guaranteed by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The C.P.A. ended Africa's bloodiest civil war, a war which took almost 2 million lives and displaced 4 million—yet the risk of descending into war again seems all too real.