|00:00:00||OF FACING A FINANCIAL CRISIS, THE LIKES OF WHICH NO MATTER OF THIS HOUSE HAS SEEN.|
|00:00:08||PROBABLY EVEN OUR OLDEST MEMBERS HAVE NOT WITNESSED IT.|
|00:00:11||MAYBE WE HAVE A COUPLE OF PEOPLE.|
|00:00:14||MAYBE RALPH HALL LIVED DURING THE DEPRESSION.|
|00:00:17||IT'S SOMETHING THAT MOST OF US HAVE CLEARLY NOT WITNESSED BEFORE.|
|00:00:21||PEOPLE ARE LIKENING THIS TO THE ECONOMIC CHALLENGES THAT WE FACED FOLLOWING THE SECOND WORLD WAR.|
|00:00:29||AND WE ARE ATTEMPTING AS WE ALL KNOW IN A BIPARTISAN WAY TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE.|
|00:00:34||OUR DISTINGUISHED REPUBLICAN WHIP, MR.|
|00:00:37||BLUNT, IS INVOLVED IN THESE BIPARTISAN NEGOTIATIONS SO THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO HAVE A PACKAGE EMERGED FROM THIS INSTITUTION IN A BIPARTISAN WAY THAT WILL BE ABLE TO STABILIZE THE MARKETS, RESPECT THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER AND ENSURE THE KIND OF STABILITY WHEN PEOPLE ARE SEEKING TO KEEP THEIR HOMES AND RUN THEIR SMALL BUSINESSES AND ENGAGE IN THE NORMAL ACTIVITIES THAT ARE HERE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.|
|00:01:11||AND IT'S WITH THAT AS A BACKDROP, MR.|
|00:01:15||SPEAKER, THAT I HAVE TO PARAPHRASE THE STATEMENT OF THE FORMER RUNNINGMATE OF ROSS PEROT, THE LATE ADMIRAL JAMES STOCKDALE, WHO IN THE FAMOUS OFFQUOTED VICE-PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN 1992 SAID, WHO AM I AND WHY AM I HERE?|
|00:01:36||AND I WOULD ASK THAT SOMEWHAT RHETORICALLY, MR.|
|00:01:41||SPEAKER, BECAUSE WE ARE HERE DEALING WITH VERY IMPORTANT ISSUES, OF COURSE.|
|00:01:47||JOB CREATION IS PRIORITY NUMBER ONE.|
|00:01:49||MAKING SURE THAT WE CAN STIMULATE OUR ECONOMY IS A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE.|
|00:01:53||BUT THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT.|
|00:01:55||AND AN HOUR AGO, THE UNITED STATES SENATE MADE THAT DECISION BY DEFEATING THE MOTION TO PROCEED IN THE SENATE.|
|00:02:03||SO THIS IS DEAD.|
|00:02:05||THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES PUT OUT A STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY IN WHICH HE SAID THAT THIS MEASURE WOULD BE VETOED IF IT WERE TO GET TO THE PRESIDENT.|
|00:02:17||AND IT'S NOT GOING TO, AND SO THAT'S WHY I ASK, WHO ARE WE AND WHY ARE WE HERE, BECAUSE THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT POLITICAL POSTURING TAKING PLACE.|
|00:02:28||AND, MR. SPEAKER, IT IS BEING DONE IN THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS OF WAYS IN THAT WE REGULARLY SHOW HERE SOMETHING THAT WAS TOUTED TWO YEARS AGO BUT WE NEVER HEAR THE MAJORITY MEMBERS TALK ABOUT ANY LONGER.|
|00:02:42||AND THAT IS A DOCUMENT CALLED "A NEW DIRECTION FOR AMERICA.|
|00:02:48||" AND THIS DEVELOPMENT -- AND THIS DOCUMENT WAS DESIGNED TO TALK ABOUT THE VERY OPENNESS, TRANSPARENCY THAT WOULD EXIST IF IN FACT THE DEMOCRATS WERE TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS.|
|00:03:03||AND UNFORTUNATELY WITH WHERE WE ARE WE HAVE COMPLETELY EVISCERATED THAT ENTIRE CONCEPT OF A NEW DIRECTION FOR AMERICA.|
|00:03:14||SPEAKER, WE ARE ALL ACCUSTOMED TO HECTIC, GET-OUT-OF-TOWN WEEKS.|
|00:03:22||THE HEAVYIEST WEEKENDS IS TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO DISTRICT WORK WEEKS WHEN WE'RE ALL ANXIOUS TO RETURN HOMES TO OUR CONSTITUENTS.|
|00:03:31||BUT EVEN UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THIS WEEK'S PROCEEDINGS ARE ABSOLUTELY UNPRECEDENTED.|
|00:03:36||THE EMERGENCY NEGOTIATIONS, AS I MENTIONED, ON THE RESCUE PACKAGE, ARE VERY DIFFICULT AND THEY'RE VERY CHALLENGING.|
|00:03:42||AND WE WANT TO SEE IT DONE IN AN APPROPRIATE WAY.|
|00:03:46||BUT THEY'VE BEEN MADE ALL THE MORE FRANTIC BECAUSE THEY ARE SET AGAINST A BACKDROP OF A YEAR'S WORTH OF UNFINISHED BUSINESS RIGHT HERE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.|
|00:03:58||THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY HAS UNFORTUNATELY SHIRKED VIRTUALLY EVERY ONE OF ITS CORE DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS AS LEGISLATORS.|
|00:04:06||OUR MOST BASIC AND FUNDAMENTAL JOB IS THE RESPONSIBLE AND EFFICIENT SPENDING OF THE TAXPAYERS' DOLLARS.|
|00:04:14||THAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE DO HERE IS RESPONSIBLY WITH THE POWER OF THE PURSE SPENDING THESE DOLLARS.|
|00:04:22||THIS IS DONE THROUGH THE PASSAGE OF 12 APPROPRIATIONS BILLS, AS WE ALL KNOW.|
|00:04:28||SPEAKER, HOW MANY OF THESE 12 BILLS HAVE THE HOUSE PASSED AS WE BEGAN THIS VERY DIFFICULT WEEK?|
|00:04:35||ONE, ONLY ONE OF THE 12 APPROPRIATIONS BILLS HAS PASSED.|
|00:04:40||AND HOW MANY HAVE BECOME LAW?|
|00:04:43||NOT A ONE.|
|00:04:45||SO WE ARRIVED AT THIS LAST WEEK OF SESSION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR WITHOUT ENACTING A SINGLE APPROPRIATIONS BILL.|
|00:04:53||DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP HAD LONG SINCE ABANDONED ANY PLAN FOR ATTEMPTING TO MAKE PROGRESS ON OUR CONSTITUTIONAL POWER OF THE PURSE.|
|00:05:02||THEIR SOLUTION, WRITE A BILL TO PUT OFF THEIR DUTIES FOR ANOTHER SIX MONTHS.|
|00:05:07||THEY CAN'T BE BOTHERED TO DO THEIR JOBS NOW OR AFTER THE ELECTION.|
|00:05:11||THEY WANT TO WAIT UNTIL THE FISCAL YEAR IS HALF OVER BEFORE FINALLY GETTING TO WORK.|
|00:05:18||SO WE STARTED THIS WEEK AFTER WHAT AMOUNTS TO A NINE-MONTH VACATION FROM RESPONSIBLE LEGISLATING.|
|00:05:26||THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY DECIDED TO TAKE THREE OF THE 12 APPROPRIATIONS BILLS, ONE OF WHICH NEVER EVEN WENT THROUGH COMMITTEE AND SLAPPED THEM TOGETHER.|
|00:05:35||THEY TACKED ON $55 BILLION IN EXTRA FUNDING FOR VARIOUS CAUSES, EXTENDING THEIR FISCAL DEADLINE FOR SIX MONTHS AND SENT IT UP TO THE RULES COMMITTEE BARELY BEFORE AN HOUR WE REPORTED IT OUT.|
|00:05:49||THE ENTIRE BODY OF THEIR APPROPRIATIONS WORK FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR WAS PUT TOGETHER IN ONE BILL.|
|00:05:57||THE BULK OF WHICH WAS DELAYED BY HALF A YEAR.|
|00:06:00||THEY WERE KIND ENOUGH TO GIVE US AN HOUR BEFORE MEETING ON THE RULE AT NEARLY 11:00 AT NIGHT.|
|00:06:06||IT WAS ON THE FLOOR THE NEXT MORNING AND VOILA, THEY PUT THE ENTIRE FEDERAL BUDGET TO BED AS FAR AS THEY WERE CONCERNED, BUT THAT WAS TUESDAY.|
|00:06:15||WHAT DID WE DO YESTERDAY?|
|00:06:16||THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY'S FLAWED TAX EXTENDERS BILL AND A $100 MILLION MISTAKE.|
|00:06:25||IN THEIR RUSH TO PUMP OUT BAD PLEGS, THE RULES COMMITTEE ENDED UP PASSING OUT A BILL AND BRINGING IT TO THE FLOOR FOR A BILL THAT NO LONGER EXISTED.|
|00:06:36||DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS WERE ACTUALLY DEBATING ON TWO DIFFERENT BILLS.|
|00:06:40||THE DISCREPANCY, AS I SAID, WAS OVER $100 MILLION IN TAX INCREASES.|
|00:06:47||NOW, TO MANY IN THIS INSTITUTION ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO HAVE THIS SORT OF TAX AND SPEND MENTALITY, $100 MILLION IN TAXES MAY SEEM TO BE VERY INSIGNIFICANT.|
|00:06:57||BUT NOT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, NOT TO THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER, MR.|
|00:07:03||AND CERTAINLY NOT AT TIMES LIKE THESE.|
|00:07:05||FORTUNATELY, THIS MISTAKE WAS CAUGHT AND WE RETURNED TO THE RULES COMMITTEE TO FIX IT.|
|00:07:12||WHAT OTHER MISTAKES HAVE GONE UNNOTICED?|
|00:07:15||WE MAY NEVER KNOW UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE.|
|00:07:16||BUT THIS IS THE VERY REAL RISK WHEN YOU JAM THROUGH A FLAWED AGENDA IN A FRANTIC AND HAPHAZARD WAY.|
|00:07:25||AND THIS BILL IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THAT.|
|00:07:28||HAVING PUNTED ON APPROPRIATIONS AND JAMMING THROUGH THE TAX EXTENDERS BILL AFTER TWO TRIES, NOW THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY IS TURNED TO EVERYTHING ELSE THEY WERE MEANT TO DO THIS YEAR.|
|00:07:41||HOW DO YOU DO A YEAR'S WORTH OF WORK IN ONE WEEK?|
|00:07:44||FOR STARTERS, MR.|
|00:07:47||SPEAKER, YOU DON'T.|
|00:07:48||YOU JUST DON'T. THERE ARE A HOST OF VERY CRITICAL ISSUES THAT SIMPLY WON'T BE ADDRESSED THIS WEEK.|
|00:07:52||LIKE OUR NATION'S ENERGY CRISIS.|
|00:07:54||BUT YOU CAN CERTAINLY MOVE THINGS ALONG BY SHUTTING DOWN DUE PROCESS ENTIRELY.|
|00:08:00||WE DID THEIR HODGEPODGE APPROPRIATIONS BILL WITHOUT A SINGLE AMENDMENT OR EVEN A MOTION TO RECOMMIT.|
|00:08:07||WE DID THEIR TAX EXTENDERS BILL WITHOUT A SINGLE AMENDMENT EITHER.|
|00:08:12||NOW WE'RE CONSIDERING A RULE TO WAIVE THE RULES TO ALLOW THE UNDERLYING BILL TO BE EXPEDITED.|
|00:08:17||THEN WE WILL CONSIDER A RULE TO BRING UP THE UNDERLYING BILL -- AGAIN, THIS IS A BILL THAT THE PRESIDENT SAID HE WOULD VETO IT AND A BILL WON'T EVEN GET THROUGH THE UNITED STATES SENATE.|
|00:08:29||SO ONCE AGAIN, UNDER A COMPLETELY CLOSED PROCESS, THERE IS A -- NO OPPORTUNITY WHATSOEVER FOR MEMBERS TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY KIND OF REAL DEBATE.|
|00:08:39||WHAT IS THE RESULT OF THIS HAPHAZARD WAY OF LEGISLATING?|
|00:08:42||FIRST AND FOREMOST, THERE IS CLEARLY NO DELIBERATION.|
|00:08:47||NOW, SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT THIS PLACE, BUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO SEND US HERE TO THINK ABOUT, TO DISCUSS, TO PONDER, AND TO TRY AND WORK OUT A COMPROMISE IN A BIPARTISAN WAY AS WE PROCEED WITH WHAT IT IS THAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO.|
|00:09:09||SO NO DELIBERATION AT ALL.|
|00:09:11||I MEAN, THERE IS NO MEANS FOR AMENDMENT, NO MEANS FOR OPEN DEBATE.|
|00:09:17||SECOND, AS WE HAVE SEEN, AS WE'VE JUST SEEN FROM THAT TAX EXTENDERS BILL, MISTAKES ARE INEVITABLE.|
|00:09:26||THIS CLEARLY GOES BEYOND POOR POLICY AND SHIRKING OUR DUTIES FOR ANOTHER SIX MONTHS.|
|00:09:31||IT IS CLEARLY VERY, VERY POOR POLICY.|
|00:09:34||AS YESTERDAY'S PROCEEDINGS DEMONSTRATE, MR.|
|00:09:37||SPEAKER, WE'RE ALSO TALKING ABOUT THE SLOPPY MISTAKES THAT ARE -- AND AN INEVITABLE RESULT OF SHOTTY WORK.|
|00:09:44||DEMOCRATS ROUNDLY CRITICIZED US FOR MOVING OUR AGENDA TOO QUICKLY IN THE PAST FEW CONGRESSES.|
|00:09:50||THEY WERE PARTICULARLY CRITICAL OF NOT GIVING MEMBERS OR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ENOUGH TIME TO REVIEW LEGISLATION SO THIS DELIBERATIVE PROCESS COULD PROCEED.|
|00:10:02||NOW, THIS DOCUMENT WHICH I POINTED TO WHEN I FIRST STOOD UP HERE ENTITLED "A NEW DIRECTION FOR AMERICA," THIS DOCUMENT, BY THE WAY, I WOULD SAY TO OUR COLLEAGUES, IS STILL AVAILABLE ON THE SPEAKER'S WEBSITE.|
|00:10:14||SO ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO READ A COPY OF "A NEW DIRECTION FOR AMERICA," I COMMEND IT TO THEM.|
|00:10:19||IN THIS DOCUMENT THEY PROMISED THIS NEW DIRECTION, AS I SAID, AND IT READS AS FOLLOWS -- MEMBERS SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST 24 HOURS TO EXAMINE BILL AND CONFERENCE REPORT TEXT PRIOR TO FLOOR CONSIDERATION.|
|00:10:38||RULES GOVERNING FLOOR DEBATE, IT READS, MUST BE REPORTED BEFORE 10:00 P.|
|00:10:45||M. FOR A BILL TO BE CONSIDERED THE FOLLOWING DAY.|
|00:10:51||SPEAKER, I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TWO HOURS EQUALS AT LEAST 24 HOURS WHICH WAS WHAT WAS PROMISED IN THIS NEW DIRECTION FOR AMERICA BY SPOKER PELOSI.|
|00:10:59||IT'S THAT KIND OF MATH LONG ON PROMISES, SHORT ON RESULTS THAT GOT US INTO OUR CURRENT FINANCIAL CRISIS.|
|00:11:07||SPEAKER, AS WE CONSIDER TODAY'S UNDERLYING BILL AMUSINGLY CALLED, A STIMULUS BILL, BY THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT IT WAS WRITTEN THROUGH THE NIGHT AND SENT TO US AT 9:43 THIS MORNING.|
|00:11:22||NOT EVEN REPUBLICAN APPROPRIATORS HAD SEEN IT.|
|00:11:24||NOT EVEN MEMBERS OF THE APPROPRIATIONS HAVE SEEN IT.|
|00:11:29||I JUST HAD A CHANCE TO LOOK THROUGH IT AND WE HAVE SOME UNBELIEVABLE THINGS THAT WE HAVE FOUND IN THIS.|
|00:11:36||MEMBERS SHOULD KNOW THAT THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY IS RUSHING TO COVER UP NINE MONTHS OF NOTHING WITH A FLURRY OF ACTIVITY IN THESE WANING HOURS OF THE 110TH CONGRESS.|
|00:11:50||THEY ARE RESORTING TO DRACONIAN MEASURES AND SHUTTING OUT ALL MEANINGFUL DEBATE IN THIS CHARADE.|
|00:11:55||THEY ARE PUSHING OFF THE REAL WORK FOR ANOTHER SIX MONTHS, AND THEY ARE PRODUCING SUCH SHODDY WORK THAT $100 MILLION TAX INCREASE IS A MISTAKE AND THAT KIND OF THING IS APPEARING HERE.|
|00:12:08||MR. SPEAKER, THIS IS ONE SORRY WEEK FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.|
|00:12:11||I DON'T BELIEVE THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL BE FOOLED.|
|00:12:14||NOW, OF COURSE, AS MY COLLEAGUE TALKED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF INFRASTRUCTURE CONSTRUCTION, BUILDING SCHOOLS, MAKING SURE THAT WE PROVIDE RELIEF TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY IN NEED AND HAVE SUFFERED FROM THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN THAT WE ALL KNOW IS THERE, TO DO IT IN THE WAY THAT IT IS BEING DONE IS I THINK A VERY, VERY SAD COMMENTARY ON THIS GREAT DELIBERATIVE INSTITUTION.|
|00:12:41||SO I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO OPPOSE THIS RULE.|
|00:12:45||IT'S A MARTIAL LAW RULE WHICH IS VERY, VERY UNFAIR, AND WE DO NEED TO AT THE VERY LEAST GIVE OUR MEMBERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A CHANCE TO READ THIS BILL.|
|00:12:58||SO WITH THAT I RESERVE THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.|
|00:13:00||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN FROM CALIFORNIA RESERVES THE BALANCE OF HIS TIME.|
|00:13:04||THE GENTLEWOMAN FROM FLORIDA.|
|00:13:05||MS. CASTOR: THANK YOU, MR.|
|00:13:08||SPEAKER, I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT AT THIS CRITICAL TIME IN OUR NATION'S ECONOMIC HISTORY, IN THE HISTORY -- IN WHAT'S GOING ON IN PEOPLE'S LIVES TODAY THAT WE REALLY TRY TO RISE ABOVE|
Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I thank my distinguished Rules Committee colleague, my friend from Tampa, for yielding me the customary 30 minutes, even though we went through that little bump with my colleague from Pasco temporarily handling it. And I have to say that this is obviously a very solemn, serious and difficult time for our Nation as we are in the midst of facing a financial crisis the likes of which no Member of this House has seen, probably even our oldest Members have not witnessed. Maybe we have a couple of people. Maybe Ralph Hall lived during the Depression. But it is something that most of us clearly have never witnessed before.
People are likening this to the economic challenges that we faced following the Second World War. And we are attempting, as we all know, in a bipartisan way to deal with this issue. Our distinguished Republican whip, Mr. Blunt, is involved in these bipartisan negotiations so that we will be able to have a package emerge from this institution in a bipartisan way that will be able to stabilize the markets, respect the American taxpayer and ensure the kind of stability when people are seeking to keep their homes, run their small businesses and engage in the normal activities that exist in the United States of America.
And it's with that as a backdrop, Mr. Speaker, that I have to paraphrase the statement of the former running mate of Ross Perot, the late Admiral James Stockdale, who, in the famous oft-quoted Vice Presidential debate in 1992, said: ``Who am I and why am I here?'' I would ask that somewhat rhetorically, Mr. Speaker, because we are here dealing with a very important issue. Of course job creation is priority number one. Making sure that we can stimulate our economy is a very, very important issue.
But this is not the way to do it. And 1 hour ago, the United States Senate made that decision by defeating the motion to proceed in the Senate. So this is dead.
The President of the United States put out a statement of administration policy in which he said that this measure would be vetoed if it were to get to the President. And it's not going to. And so that is why I ask, Who are we and why are we here? Because there is absolutely nothing but political posturing taking place.
Mr. Speaker, it is being done in the most outrageous of ways in that we regularly show here something that was touted 2 years ago, but we never hear the majority Members talk about any longer, and that is a document called ``A New Direction for America.'' This document was designed to talk about the very important degree of openness and transparency that would exist if in fact the Democrats were to take control of the United States Congress. And unfortunately with where we are, we have completely eviscerated that entire concept of ``A New Direction for America.'' Now, Mr. Speaker, we are all accustomed to hectic, get-out-of-town weeks. The heaviest lifting typically falls to weeks prior to district work periods, when we're all anxious to return home to hear from our constituents. But even under the circumstances, this week's proceedings are absolutely unprecedented. The emergency negotiations, as I mentioned, on a financial rescue package are very difficult. And they are very challenging. And we want to see it done in an appropriate way. But they have been made all the [Page: H10052] more frantic because they're set against a backdrop of a year's worth of unfinished business right here in the House of Representatives.
The Democratic majority has unfortunately shirked virtually every one of its core duties and obligations as legislators. Our most basic and fundamental job is the responsible and efficient spending of the taxpayers' dollars. That is the single most important thing that we do here, is responsibly, with the power of the purse, spending these dollars. This is done through the passage of 12 appropriations bills as we all know.
Now, Mr. Speaker, how many of these 12 bills has the House passed as we began this very difficult week? One. Only one of the 12 appropriations bills was passed. And how many have become law? Zero. Not a one. So we arrived at this last week of session for the fiscal year without enacting a single appropriations bill.
The Democratic leadership had long since abandoned any plan for attempting to make progress on our constitutional power of the purse. Their solution? Write a bill to put off their duties for another 6 months. They can't be bothered to do their jobs now or after the election. They want to wait until the fiscal year is half over before finally getting to work.
So we started this week after what amounts to a 9-month vacation from responsible legislating. The Democratic majority decided to take three of the 12 appropriations bills, one of which never even went through committee, and slap them together. They tacked on $55 billion in extra funding for various causes, extended their fiscal deadline for 6 months and sent it up to the Rules Committee barely an hour before we reported it out.
The entire body of their appropriations work for the entire year was put together in one bill, the bulk of which was delayed by half a year. They were kind enough to give us an hour before meeting on the rule at nearly 11 o'clock at night. It was on the floor the next morning. And voila. They put the entire Federal budget to bed as far as they were concerned.
But that was Tuesday. What did we do yesterday? The Democratic majority's flawed tax extenders bill, and a $100 million mistake. In their rush to pump out bad legislation, the Rules Committee ended up passing out a rule and bringing it to the floor for a bill that no longer existed. Democrats and Republicans were actually voting on two different bills. The discrepancy, as I said, was over $100 million in tax increases.
Now to many in this institution on the other side of the aisle who have this sort of tax-and-spend mentality, $100 million in taxes may seem to be very insignificant. But not to the American people. Not to the American taxpayer, Mr. Speaker, and certainly not at times like these. Fortunately this mistake was caught, and we returned to the Rules Committee to fix it. What other mistakes have gone unnoticed? We may never know until it's too late. But this is the very real risk when you jam through a flawed agenda in a frantic and haphazard way.
And this bill is a perfect example of that.
Having punted on appropriations and jamming through the tax extenders bill after two tries, now the Democratic majority is free to turn to everything else they meant to do this year. How do you do a year's worth of work in 1 week? For starters, you don't, Mr. Speaker. You just don't.
There are a host of very critical issues that simply won't be addressed this week, such as our Nation's energy crisis. But you can certainly move things along by shutting down due process entirely. We did their hodgepodge appropriations bill without a single amendment or even a motion to recommit. We did their tax extenders bill without a single amendment either.
Now we are considering a rule to waive the rules to allow the underlying bill to be expedited. Then we will consider a rule to bring up the underlying bill. Again, this is a bill that the President has said he would veto and a bill that is similar to it is not even going to get through the United States Senate. So once again, under a completely closed process, there is no opportunity whatsoever for Members to participate in any kind of real debate.
What is the result of this haphazard way of legislating? First and foremost, there is clearly no deliberation. Now say what you want about this place, but the American people do send us here to think about, to discuss, to ponder and to try and work out a compromise in a bipartisan way as we proceed with what it is that we are trying to do. So no deliberation at all. I mean, there is no means for amendment. There is no means for open debate. Second, as we have just seen again from that tax extenders bill, mistakes are inevitable.
This clearly goes beyond poor policy. And shirking our duties for another 6 months is clearly very, very poor policy. As yesterday's proceedings demonstrate, Mr. Speaker, we are also talking about the sloppy mistakes that are an inevitable result of shoddy work.
The Democrats roundly criticized us for moving our agenda too quickly in the past few Congresses. They were particularly critical of not giving Members or the American people enough time to review legislation so this deliberative process could proceed.
Now on this document which I pointed to when I first stood up here entitled ``A New Direction for America,'' this document, by the way, I would say to our colleagues, is still available on the Speaker's Web site. So if anyone would like to read a copy of ``A New Direction for America,'' I commend it to them.
In this document, they promised this new direction, as I said. And it reads as follows: ``Members should have at least 24 hours to examine bill and conference report text prior to floor consideration.
[Time: 14:00] ``Rules governing floor debate,'' it reads, ``must be reported before 10 p.m. for a bill to be considered the following day.'' Now, Mr. Speaker, I have no idea how ``2 hours'' equals ``at least 24 hours,'' which is what was promised in this New Direction for America by Speaker Pelosi. It is that kind of math, long on promises, short on results, that got us into our current financial crisis.
Mr. Speaker, as we consider today's underlying bill, amusingly called a stimulus bill by the Democratic majority, the American people should know it was written through the night and sent to us at 9:43 this morning. Not even Republican appropriators had seen it, so not even members of the Appropriations Committee have seen it.
I just had a chance to look through it, and we have some unbelievable things we have found in this. Members should know the Democratic majority is rushing to cover up 9 months of nothing with a flurry of activity in these waning hours of the 110th Congress. They are resorting to draconian measures and shutting out all meaningful debate in this charade. They are pushing off the real work for another 6 months. And they are producing such shoddy work that a $100 million tax increase is ``a mistake,'' and that kind of thing is appearing here.
Mr. Speaker, this is one sorry week for the House of Representatives. I don't believe that the American people will be fooled.
Now, of course, as my colleague talked about the importance of infrastructure construction, building schools, making sure that we provide relief to those who are truly in need and have suffered from the economic downturn that we all know is there, to do it in the way that is being done is, I think, a very, very sad commentary on this great deliberative institution.
So I urge my colleagues to oppose this rule. It is a martial law rule which is very, very unfair. We do need to, at the very least, give our Members an opportunity to have a chance to read this bill.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.