tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN July 8, 2009 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
for the mcgovern-dole program. based on our nation's school meal program, the mcgovern dole program provides food to millions of hungry kids at school, allowing them to receive food and an education. this is a good bill. it funds the priorities of our nation and it deserves our support. and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank my colleague from massachusetts for yielding time. while we disagree on issues, it's clear that he's passionate about this issue. mr. speaker, i come before you today deeply concerned by closed rule we have before us. throughout this appropriations season, the democrat majority has taken unprecedented steps to silence both the minority and their own democrat colleagues by offering all appropriations bills under closed rules.
this is consistently eliminated the ability for members to speak up for how their constituents believe their money should be spent. but today marks a record in modern history. today the democrat majority has gone even further by surpassing the number of restrictive rules ever offered during appropriations season in the house of representatives. mr. speaker, when republicans were in the majority, the most regular appropriations bills considered under a restrictive rule in any single season was four in 1997, which was before my colleague, mr. dreier, was the chairman. today with the addition of this rule, the democrat majority has exceeded that modern record. after promising the american people during campaign season that this would be the most open and honest congress in history, secretary pelosi has gone back on her word in the
name of appropriations season by making this the most closed and restrictive congress in history. instead of having their ideas heard, the american people are being silenced with speaker pelosi's justification that, quote, we won the election so we decide, end quote. as my colleagues have expressed during the past four appropriations debates this season, bringing appropriations bills to the floor under a closed rule is unprecedented. it does an injustice to both democrats and republicans who want to have the opportunity to offer amendments and participate in debate with their colleagues over pressing issues of our time. by choosing to operate in this way, the majority has cut off the minority and their own colleagues from having any input in the legislative process. and, mr. speaker, i will urge my colleagues to vote no on this rule, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i'd like to yield to the gentlewoman from connecticut, ms. rosa delauro, for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from connecticut is recognized for five minutes. ms. delauro: i'd like to thank the ranking member of the subcommittee, mr. kingston, for his input over the last few months. our staffs have worked together effectively and together we've crafted what i believe is a very strong, bipartisan bill. the house is not in order, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. ms. delauro: in addition, i think this agriculture-f.d.a. appropriations bill is a smarter, better piece of legislation, thanks to the hard work of the subcommittee and the full committee. we have looked at many, many different amendments that have come up over the process of writing the bill and we have honed into some very worthy and effective legislation.
we've had an open process throughout the committee and subcommittee markups. i believe this rule sets in motion what has been a fair process. i understand that close to 100 amendments were submitted to the committee. clearly my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have had an opportunity to speak their minds on these issues and have their amendments considered and made in order. as it has been in recent years, the bill focuses on several key areas such as protecting public health, bolstering food nutrition, investing in rural committees, supporting agriculture research, strengthening animal health and marketing programs and conserving our natural resources. the bill provides for $22.9 billion in funding and 11 -- an 11% increase over the 2008 levels, the vast majority went to the w.i.c. program, f.d.a. and international food aid. additionally, in order to make
these important investments and using these resources wisely, the bill has cuts totaling more than $37 million. we protect the public health by providing a substantial increase for the food and drug administration. almost $373 million, 15% above 2009. in an effort to hire additional inspectors, conduct more food and medical products inspections. in addition, the bill provides over $1 billion for the food safety and inspection service at the u.s. department of agriculture. conservation, we know that conserving our natural resources, cleaner water, reduce soil erosion and more wildlife habitat is critical. the bill makes a significant investment in usda's natural resource conservation programs by appropriating $980 million. the bill rejects the
administration's cuts to the natural resources conservation service farm bill, conservation programs, including the wetlands program, the farm and ranch lands protection program, and the wildlife incentives program. in addition, the bill restores funding for other valuable programs including the resource conservation program and others as well. withegard to nutrition, to help those who are hit hardest by the economic crisis, the bill provides $681 million, a 10% increase for w.i.c., to serve our nation's vulnerable populations to support the participation of 10.1 million people. the bill also includes record funding of $180 million for the commodity supplemental food program, or cfsp, and expands
assistance to six new states, arkansas, oklahoma, delaware, utah, new jersey and georgia. international food aid, the bill expands america's traditional commitment to international food aid by providing an increase of $664 million, a 10% increase to pl-480. the united states' primarily -- primary international food aid program. we also provide an additional $99.5 million to the mcgovern-dole international food for education and child nutrition program, doubling that number from 2009. terms of rural development, the bill creates opportunities for growth and development in the nation's smalltown economies. it increases funding for water and wastewater infrastructure by $73 million, that's $8.7 million for housing, $9.3 billion for the rural utility
programs. increased funding for agriculture, significant investments in agriculture research. $1.2 billion for the agriculture research service. $1.2 billion for the cooperative state, research and education extension service. that funding increases the opportunity for key programs, such as the hatch act, evans allen, the new competitive agriculture and food research initiative, smith lever, the 1890 programs and the veterinary medical service act. with the continuing volatility -- mr. mcgovern: yield the gentlelady one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. delauro: the bill provides the administration's request for the commodity futures trading commission. $160.6 million, a 14.6 million dollars over 2009. finally, the bill includes
language that's been carried since fiscal year 2008 that prohibits the use of funds in the bill to establish or implement a rule allowing the importation of processed putry products from china. when usda determined that the chinese food system was, quote, equivalent to ours, it used a flawed process in making that determination and placed trade considerations above public health. recognizing that, as well as the many problems that have been identified with the chinese food safety system, it was important that the language remain in the bill. in closing, i thank the rules committee for considering this important bill. i am proud of the work that we have done. i urge my colleagues to support this rule and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i now yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished ranking member of the rules committee, mr. dreier of california. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for as much time as he may consume. mr. dreier: i ask unanimous
consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. dreier: mr. speaker, i thank my colleague for yielding me the time and i appreciate her time on the rules committee. sadly, she's on the minority side presiding over another very, very, very sad day for democrats and republicans and the american people. mr. speaker, if we pass this rule today, if we pass this rule we will again set a record. the record that we'll be setting is the largest number of restrictive rules for consideration of appropriations in the history of the republic. now, in the past we've had restrictive rules that have come about after an open amendment process has begun on the floor and the rules committee has taken action. in 1997 it happened on four occasions, and we ultimately did in fact put into place restrictive rules. this is the fifth rule for consideration of an appropriation bill, and so by virtue of the action that i suspect this house will take, we've got to remember that the
rights of the american people, not the rights of republicans, the rights of the american people, democrats and republicans, all are being subverted with this process that's being put into place. in fact, it's a sad day because by virtue of taking this action, mr. speaker, what's happening is we are now setting the new norm. the new norm is a restrictive process shutting down the rights of democrats and republicans from having an opportunity to amend appropriations bills. what i have is a copy of the house rules and manual here, and tragically, tragically as we look at this appropriations process our colleagues are going to in 10 or 20 years from now be looking at the rules and manual and the moniker open
rule will be little more than a footnote in the history of this institution based on the pattern we have set forward. now, i know that's all inside baseball, but the fact of the matter is it comes down to the effort that's being made by the majority to not only shut out members of their own party and republicans but what's happening is we are preventing members from having an opportunity to bring about any kind of reduction in spending. we know that with what we've seen under the actions of this congress what has happened, we spend too much, we tax too much and we borrow too much. and one of the things that's been great about the appropriations amendment process in the past has been simply that democrats and republicans could stand up and offer germane amendments that could bring about reductions in spending. our colleague from ohio, mr. jordan, has consistently gone up to the house rules committee, made an attempt to bring about some kind of opportunity for spending.
he's had very few opportunities to do that. and it's denied again in this rule that is before us. and so, mr. speaker, again, it is a very unfortunate thing that when you look at the appropriations bills and see that the bill that we're considering up in the rules committee now, the foreign operations bill, has a 33% increase. the interior bill, a 17% increase. this agriculture bill that we're considering the rule on right now, a nearly 12% spending increase. now, the american people have sent a very clear message, they want to make sure they keep their jobs, they don't want to lose their businesses, they don't want to lose their homes, and they were promised by president obama if we pass a $787 billion stimulus bill the unemployment rate would not exceed 8%. well, it's now 9.5%, and so i think the message may be getting through to some people who heretofore may have been
supportive of an increase in spending that maybe that's not the best way. i think democrats and republicans alike may want to have an opportunity to bring about some kind of reduction in these 17% increases, the 11% to 12% increases, the 33% increases when they and their family budgets are trying to hold on to their jobs and obviously if they've lost their jobs or their homes they are faced with tremendous, tremendous reductions in their own personal budgets. so we recognize that there is a proper role for the federal government. spending needs to take place, but we should not, we should not, mr. speaker, in any way be continuing down the road that we are denying democrats and republicans an opportunity to bring about even the most modest of spending cuts. i think of our friend, mr. broun from georgia, who regularly comes before us to offer a .5% cut in appropriations spending. and we deny him through this
process which is now unprecedented, never been done before in the 220-year history of the country denied an opportunity to do just that. and so again, mr. speaker, i hope very much that we will follow the direction that ms. foxx is providing us in voting no on this rule so we can come back and have what has been the tradition up until this process and that is an open, free and fair debate so that democrats and republicans and through their elected representatives the american people can finally be heard. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcgovern: first of all, i'd like to ask unanimous consent to submit to the record the statement of administration policy on this bill in which the bralks strongly supports this -- obama administration strongly supports this bill. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcgovern: i'd also point out that the bill that's been
reported by the appropriations committee is less in terms of spending than the obama administration originally requested. i'd also say, and i want to say this very strongly, i support the increases in spending in this bill. they're mostly in two areas, food safety and food security, making sure the food people buy in supermarkets is safe and making sure that people in country who are hungry because of this lousy economic situation can have enough to eat, to put food on the table for their families. we have a terrible situation in this country with a number of -- where the number of hungry people is in the tens of millions. we can't just walk away from that. when my colleague talks about across the board cut, across the board cuts that make no sense and don't discriminate where they're going to cut, it means you're going to cut food and nutrition, it will take food from the mouths of hungry children. this is a good bill, it's been worked on, i think, with great
effort by both democrats and republicans, and i strongly support it and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from virginia. ms. foxx: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. conaway. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. conaway: it's interesting the debate about the rule not the bill itself. my colleagues on the other side continue to defend that we need to have a closed rule and that the amendments that would have been offered before trivial. one of those amendments that would have been offered about decreasing spending in this bills. the fiction is that we will walk through amendments later on to reduce spending in those bills. should those pass, should 218
of us say we disagree with what the appropriations committee has done, as we did with the bicycle program, it still gets spent. it allows the chair of the appropriations committee to spend in it conference on deal he is wants to do and rewards he wants to make available to folk who was head to line on the other side of the aisle. i would have said if 218 of us come to this floor and disagree with a bill we've done that money wouldn't get spent. my colleagues on the other side are frightful of that issue that the will of this congress may be that we disagree with the appropriations process. the appropriations committee does yeoman's work. they have a hard job to do ferreting out priorities on spending. it's a job i do not aspire. to but they should just get one
bite at the apple. my amendment would have said that appropriations committee, do the best you can, bring the product to the floor, allow the 435 of us, the rest of us who aren't on the appropriations committee, to have the conversation and the debate about whether or not something is valid. if 218 of us disagree with the priorities that the appropriations process has spent on this ag spending that money would not be spent. they would not get a second bite at the apple. but the rules committee, in their infinite wisdom said, no, that's too complicated, that's too hard for this house to consider. i urge my colleagues to vote against this rule, it's flawed on its face. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the amendment my colleague brought before the rule committees was a violation of house rules. under a complete, open rule on the house floor, it would have
been subject to a point of order because it was legislating under a appropriations bill. you want to talk about process, we'll talk about process. his amendment would have been not in order under any process. i reserve they balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i now yield two minutes to our colleague from indiana, mr. burton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from indiana is recognized for two minutes. mr. burton: i ask permission to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. burton: mr. speaker, we've heard of the problems with the rule. but that's not the thing that really bothers me. what bothers me is how much money we're spending. since last october, this is what we've spent -- $700 billion for tarp, $70.3 for schip, $1.16 trillion, that includes interest for the stimulus bill, $625 billion, which includes interest for the
omnibus bill, $125 billion for the war supplemental, and the american people are struggling right now because of the economy and we're spending like it's going out of style. and this -- and this bill we're talking about right now under this rule is going to have a $2.4 billion increase over last year. that's 12%. and if you compare that to fiscal year 2008, the budget that the programs thunder bill operated under until passage of the omnibus in february, it's $4.8 billion more or a 27% increase. then they've also added $7.9 billion of emergency designated spending during the current fiscal year. where in the world are we going to get this money? the american people are starting to realize there's going to be high inflation down the road because we can't pay for this stuff, so they're printing this money down at the treasury department. when you print more money, and it's chasing the same amount of
goods and servicings, you'll have inflation. it's going to be high inflation. we had it in the early 1980's when it was 14%, they had to raise interest rates to 21% to stop the inflationary trend. that's what's going to happen again if we don't get control of spending. this is the wrong approach we need to cut spending instead of blowing this money. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from north carolina will reserve, the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i have no speaker, i reserve time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker, i'd like to yield four minutes to -- i'd like to yield two minutes to our colleague from texas, mr. brady. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for two minutes. mr. brady: thank you, mr. speaker. the underlying bill contains unnecessary and i think counterproductive provision
banning the importation of poultry from china. the provision has no food safety basis but puts at risk american jobs and puts at risk at least $350 million of american poultry sales to china that that country will reportedly block in retaliation. the gentleman from georgia, mr. kingston, offered an amendment to strike this dangerous provision, but the majority refused, unfortunately, to make it in order this provision will effectively cut off a huge export market for our farmers while leaving unchanged the amount of poultry we import from china, zero, by the way, because of our already strong food safety protections. even america's poultry industry don't support this provision, even those who would benefit, supposedly, don't support this. i would like to submit a letter from a wide range of organizations opposed to this.
the white house has registered concerns with the provision. i support science-based oversight of food safety, but this provision will backfire, it will hurt american farmers without any effect on food safety. at a time when the clint is struggling with the economy, congress taking action that hurts american jobs and american farmers is the wrong way to go. this provision should be left out of the final bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the letter the gentleman referred to will be put in the record. the gentleman from massachusetts continues to reserve. the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i would like to yield four minutes to our colleague from georgia, mr. kingston. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for four minutes. mr. kingston: i thank the gentlewoman from north carolina, i'm sorry for throwing you off a moment ago. i speak against this rule
because it's a closed rule. we come here, 435 members, representing 300 million people across the united states of america with different ideas and we are about to vote on a $ 123.8 billion bill in which these 435 members of congress have different ideas of how to change it. you know the expression, you dress up with no place to go? that's what it's like being on the appropriations committee. maybe even rehearsing for a dance and when you get to the dance, you're -- you find out you're not allowed to dance. that's what happens. ms. delauro and i worked closely over the last several months, and indeed over the last several years, working on agricultural issues. we have sincere agreements and sincere disagreements, but we always have a dialogue going. now as we're in, not the homestretch, but the halfway point, we find the minority members can't participate
except in a gag rule. we submitted 90 amendments we democrats and republicans, to improve this bill. of those, i believe 12 have been agreed upon, four are noncontroversial and five are a little superficial if not routine. i'm so disappointed in the fact that we can't get back to regular order. we have quoted david obey, the chairman of appropriations committee, many times on the house floor, and his words to the effect that when he was in the minority, how disappointed he was and he pointed out that when we lose the rights of the minority, we lose the right to be called the greatest deliberative body in the world. we had a good debate in the rules committee, i thank my colleague mr. mcgovern for facilitating that debate last night. i don't think the rules committee made the final decision. thing final decision was made
down the hall by some staffers. i just believe that this really tight-lipped, ironclad, straitjacket on debate is bad for the system, as mr. obey lamented in 2006. you know, there was a great line from "fiddler on the roof," the star of it, i think his name was dotavius, i'm not sure he said in the song, "i were a rich man," he said, lord you made the lion and the lamb, you decreed i should be what i am. would it spoil some vast eternal plan if i were a wealthy man my question to my friends on the rules committee, would it spoil some vast eternal plan if you had an open rule? and you know the answer is certainly not. and you know that when we were in charge, for 12 years, we had open rules, seven out of 12 years we had open rules on every single appropriations
bill, except for ledge branch and as for the ag bill we only had one year we had a modified closed rule and that was after 16 hours of debate. so what is the vast eternal plan that we would spoil if we were allowed in a representative democracy an open rule? what would really happen? is it that the philosophies of the majority are so fragile that they are like a card house, that if a republican sneezed in the form of an amendment that the whole thing would tumble down and the poe pelosi empire would come crashing to the floor and be exposed for some bad and evil thing? i don't believe that's the case. i think, frankly, that this body would do well with open rules and more debates. i think it would foster a spirit of bipartisanship.
because i think what we would find out is what most legislative bodies find out in state legislature, is that you've got good ideas from republicans, good ideas from democrats -- could i have one more minute? ms. foxx: i yield the gentleman one more minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> some of the good ideas of democrats, melding, cross-pollination, now, with good ideas of republicans and good ideas of independents, i think that would be a very healthy thing. then this bill would go out of this chamber to the other body which we know has no good ideas whatsoever. just joking there, a little levity on the house floor. it's ok. we could get together as democrats and republicans on the house floor and then go debate the senate and maybe our ideas would prevail and those
ideas wouldn't necessarily be branded as democrat or republican, but branded as american ideas and they would be of a representative of a democracy. so i hope we will vote this rule down and send it back to the rules committee and then we will challenge that vast eternal plan, maybe not the one of the democrat party, but maybe the one of our forefathers, that envisioned open debate and an open society as an underpinning of democracy. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. farr. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. farr: thank you very much, mr. mcgovern, for yielding. and thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of the rule and in support of the underlying bill. i wasn't going to speak on it, but it just gets bothersome sometimes to see how much time we spend on debating a rule. i mean, this process is very
open. there's no other process in the world that is as open as the process inside congress. and to say that you're denied access to the hearings, to the markups, all of these things are very opened. i served for 14 years in the california legislature, full-time professional legislature. we didn't have rules for each debate that we were going to conduct on the floor. so i find in all the years i served in congress, i've never been asked, how did you vote on a rule? or was the rule an open rule or closed rule? these are prettiess owe taric terms -- pretty esoteric terms in terms of congress. to deny a person a process on how to spend money in the u.s. department of agriculture or the food and drug administration is an exercise of a little futility. the substance here is good.
it's about how we spend the money, taxpayers' money, on these agencies that are responsible for overseeing our food safety, for overseeing the incredible array of agriculture that we have in this country unlike any other country in the world. the diversity is incredible. just the county i represent grows 85 different crops. i don't think there's another county in the united states or the world that grows 85 different crops. $3 billion in sales. it's all fresh fruit and vegetables, things that you're eating in your salad today. a lot of it harvested by immigrants. it's an amazing thing because the department of agriculture also does the rural infrastructure, rural electric, rural water, rural farm work, farm worker housing and things like that. kind of the essence of the culture of a rural community. broadband communication systems. and we have a very competent chairwoman and she's brought a great bill to the floor and i
ask you that you support the rule. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. you know, the majority party, because they bring bills to the floor, amendments to the floor at 3:00 a.m. and members have no time to read the bills have effectively taken away opportunities to read bills before we vote on them. and now to suggest that it's a waste of time to debate the bill is really taking this i think to an extreme. so i certainly hope that idea doesn't catch on, along with the idea of not letting people read the bills before they vote on them. i'd now like to recognize my colleague from new york, mr. lee, for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for two minutes. mr. lee: i want to thank my friend for the time, and i rise to oppose the rule for h.r. 2997.
over the last year the rapid decline in the price of milk has a devastating impact on family farms in my district and throughout the northeast region. this year farmers have reported receiving less than $11 per 100 weight for their milk, which is less than the $17.50 per 100 weight it costs to produce it. this gap is a killer for our dairy farmers and will lead to huge job losses in my region. dairy farmers in livingston county, new york, is projected to lose more than $23 million this year. in wyoming county, new york, losses are projected as $28 million. and in another county over $60 million. i cannot emphasize enough how important dairy is to the western new york region. it is new york's third largest dairy state, generating over $2 billion in milk sales annually. more than 145,000 jobs in transporting, processing and marketing milk are directly
attributable to the region's dairy industry. that is why i offered two commonsense proposals to help our struggling dairy farmers, including one to enhance the milk income loss contract program and another to raise the dairy products support price. this would help ensure our struggling dairy farmers can remain viable in these tough economic times. mr. speaker, i regret that my amendments were not accepted. our dairy farmers are running out of time. i urge my colleagues to vote down the rule so we can give this crisis the attention it deserves. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. and i want to -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcgovern: i want to respond to the gentleman from new york's comments.
i realize that he's new. the fact is that both of his amendments would have been a violation of the house rules, even under an open rule. the gentleman was legislating under appropriations bills. there are other ways for him to get his point across. i share his concerns on the dairy issue. i co from a new england state. but the fact of the matter is even under an open rule his amendments would have been ruled out of order because they are legislating under an appropriations bill. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank my colleague from new york for raising the issue of the plight of dairy farmers in particular. all across my district we see farmers of all types going out of business, but particularly hard hit are the dairy farmers. and there is no tougher type of farming than dairy farming in this country.
my husband and i have done a lot of farming in our lives. we've never had a lot of could you say but we both grew up -- cows but we both grew up milking cows. it's the toughest work in the world. you have to be there every day and these folks are really struggling to stay in business. and the sad part about it is that with the cap and tax bill that passed last week and so many of the other policies of this administration and this congress we are going headlong into putting a lot of our farmers out of business, particularly the dairy farmers. you know, again, the complication here is that we ought not to be spending a lot of time talking about the problems that we're facing in this country and that agriculture's facing, that all of our citizens are facing. but they -- the democrats in
charge want to limit what ideas can be debated on the floor and what constituents can be represented in this house. our constituents in both republican districts and democratic districts are struggling to make ends meet, are facing unemployment and are shut out in participating in a debate of how their hardearned taxpayer dollars are being borrowed and spent by the federal government. it's a mystery as to why the majority is blocking debate on such important legislation. what are they afraid of? are they protecting their members from tough votes? are they afraid of the democratic process? it's hard to know why they're doing it. the speaker has gone back on her word about making this the most open process in the world. is she afraid that the american people will disagree with her? is she keeping other democrats from having to make tough decisions on difficult votes?
is she afraid of the very principles upon which our country is founded? we are very concerned, again, with the direction in which this congress is going as far as the rules are concerned. during the fourth of -- independence day break, i was at home. i went to a lot of functions. i spoke to my constituents. i spoke to hundreds of them. they told me over and over and over again how concern they are about the direction this country is going. they use the word frightened over and over and over again. i talked to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and they say they are hearing the very same things from their constituents at home. they are concerned about the amount of money that's being spent by this congress. the policies that this administration is taking. and the direction in which they're moving. we know that the democrats have
proposed spending $1.89 trillion of american taxpayer money for discretionary government programs in the 2010 fiscal year. when all appropriations spendings combined, the democrats have increased nondefense, nondiscretionary spending by 85% over the last two fiscal years. with millions of jobs lost since the passage of the stimulus, the president said this morning there's nothing we would have done differently concerning the $787 billion spending bill. but that spending bill, which is really $1 trillion spending bill because of the cost of the bill, isn't creating the jobs democrats promised. even the vice president said over the weekend this regarding the bill's poor returns, the truth is we and everyone else misread the economy. well, no, not everyone else did that, because republicans all voted against the stimulus
bill. you aren't going to hang that around our necks, mr. vice president. house democrats now want to spend another $1 trillion on a government-run health care bill after they've just crammed through a national energy tax. at the same time, house republicans are being denied the opportunity to offer cost-cutting amendments to save taxpayer money. many republican proposals could save billions in wasteful government spending and better prioritize how washington spends taxpayer funds, but these ideas are being shut down. this is not the way to operate the greatest deliberative body in the world, and i am going to again suggest to my colleagues that they vote no on this rule because this is not the way we should be going. and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves her time. the gentleman from
massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i am the final speaker on our side so if the gentlelady has any additional speakers, i'd yield to her. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: mr. speaker, i move that the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the noes have it. ms. foxx: mr. speaker, on that i request a recorded vote. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from north carolina rise? ms. foxx: i request a recorded vote on the motion. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentlewoman ask for the yeas and nays? ms. foxx: the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote on the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. ,
democrat of maryland, is a member of the judiciary committee, and will be questioning sonia sotomayor when they begin the confirmation hearings. you wrote about your meeting with the judge. tell us about the meeting, and what did you ask her specifically? guest: i was impressed with her frankness, telling me about her background, how she reaches decisions. she is an impressive nominee with a strong background as a prosecutor, trial court, appellate court judge. i asked her about her passions about the constitution, her
impression of the constitution as it relates to women's issues, consumer issues, and then i asked her about pro bono issues. making sure that we have access for everyone. she said that that was one of her passions, so it was a good meeting ho. host: you said that you want the next supreme court justice to have a clear stand for civil rights. do you believe she does? guest: yes, i do. i am looking for the constitution to protect us against the abuses of government, and the supreme court is the last resort to make sure that those protections are a living document to protect each one of us from the abuses of the legislator, president, and to protect us on fundamental issues. host: we will be talking with
you for the next half hour about the sonia sotomayor nomination. if you want to get involved, democrats, 202-737-0002. republicans, 202-737-0001. independents, 202-628-0205. if you want to send us an e- mail, the firstname.lastname@example.org. here is what senator mcconnell had to say about the nomination of judge sonia sotomayor. >> dismissing the firefighter claims, she did not even set a precedent. moreover, she joined the opinion of the second circuit issued in a case, saying it was difficult. the way that judge sotomayor
handled the important legal issues in the case was peculiar, to say the least. it makes one wonder why her treatment of these weighty issues difference so markedly from the way that every other court has treated them and whether her legal judgment was unduly affected by her personal or political beliefs. host: your response? guest: i could not disagree more. what she was doing was following the precedent, the law, and doing what was expected in terms of falling legal precedent. that is what we expect judges to do. -- following legal precedent. it was a close decision. the supreme court reversed 5-4. these are close issues. the intermediate court was
following legal precedent, and that is what she should have done. host: "the new york times" - one of the themes of the process -- write one of the themes of the process could be racial and ethnic preferences. guest: we will certainly find out how she makes her decisions. the constitution is a living document. we have seen the evolution of protections to protect us against the abuses of government. the original constitution did not envision our life today. i attended baltimore public schools when they were segregated. i was denied the opportunity to be educated in a diverse environment. brown vs. board of education changed our lives forever.
so the supreme court does change our life. we want them to understand that those people are there to carry out the law, not make them. host: our first phone call comes from pasadena, md.. caller: good morning, senator. good to speak with you. could i ask you a question? i was wondering if you would support the equal rights amendment, if someone were to bring it up again, perhaps like senator mikulski? guest: in the past i have co- sponsored those amendments. there are different strategies in terms of advancing rights, and that was an issue that was popular, still an issue that has merit, but i think we need to talk about advancing the rights of women as effectively as
possible. right now in the confirmation process, that is one of the questions i will be asking. host: next phone call also from maryland, baltimore. john on the republican line. caller: i wanted to talk about some of the organizations that miss sotomayor may be involved in. la rasa, potentially a racist organization. i know a sticking point with the judge judge alito's confirmatios his participation in a man's organization. it is unfortunate that you are being partisan, senator pardon. his legislation, i believe,
bankrolled newspapers in the area. -- senator cardin. i would just hope that you look at her background and be fair. if she is part of organizations with a racist agenda, what is going to stop her from having that in her heart? guest: first of all, i need to respond to your personal attack. i protected newspapers from getting federal funds. i wanted them to be independent. churches are nonprofits. i hope no one is accusing churches -- the government of funding our churches. as far as her background, it is a background that brings diversity to the court. that is a positive. i remember when burger marshall was under consideration. -- thurgood marshall was under consideration.
look at her record, what she has been able to do as a trial court judge, appellate judge, prosecutor, and you will find someone who has the passion to protect everyone's rights. she renders her decisions based on the facts of the case. that is the kind of justice we want. host: park hill, oklahoma. caller: good morning. i am one of those disabled veterans. on memorial day, i visited my father and son's grave. i was urging people not to serve in the military because right now the government is not worth the sacrifice. one of the reasons i did that
was because of that one remark you just made. the constitution is a living document. the constitution is not a living document. humans have not changed in the history of mankind. technically, we have gotten more advanced, but everything else -- we are power corrupts, selfish -- everything else is the same. trying to make it into a living document is not correct. here is an example. sonia sotomayor really belongs to a left-wing organization. all of a sudden, she is ok. i am put off by this idea of public health, public safety. there are terrorists in the country.
the government has imprisoned the citizens with regulation, finds, fees. where does it end? guest: first, i think our country is different than 233 years ago. we need to reflect the current condition of our country. i want to take exception with the premise of your call. during the fourth of july recess, i was in belarus, a repressed country where people do not have the right to free press. i brought back an american who was imprisoned for reasons we do not know. we were able to make a plea for his release. i think we all should be thankful that we live in the country that promotes freedom, welcomes us to express our views, and has the protection to
protect individual rights. host: we have this article from google yesterday talking about the nra, talking about its influence with republicans and conservative democrats in the senate. the right in the letter to senators, christopher cox, and the group's director, said tonus it -- sonia sotomayor had been dismissive of the second amendment. your thoughts? guest: again, she was following the court decision. that is what an appellate judge should do. following the decision of the court. there was recently in decisions affecting the people of the district in which the supreme court said that it did not apply to people in the state. there have been thereviews written -- there have
been other views written by barry conservative judges that -- by a very conservative judges that come to the same conclusion. host: next phone call. caller: i would like to know if the senator does not feel this latino lady is coming into this totally opposite plans and what she should be. she should be coming in with an open heart and open mind to all americans. i live in a heavy latino area. this gets down to something that we really care about. do you think she can overcome her background and really judged
fairly on the public? host: do you believe that anything she believes rep -- that she brings from her background will keeper from rendering a fair judgment? caller: yes, i see many things. even her statement about latina women compared to white men, etc. as i said, this is a constant source of antagonism in my area. guest: that is a fair question. this is what the confirmation hearings will go into. these are the question that we will ask. i can tell you, looking at judge sotomayor's background, looking at her decisions as a trial court judge, appellate court judge, you see a judge who has responded to protecting the rights of all citizens. she has been very mainstream in her opinions. she has been able to bring a
consensus on the second circuit. she has shown a passion to respect the rights of all. i must tell you, having diversity on the supreme court is a positive. it gives more confidence to the american people that the decisions of the supreme court will reflect on a country. -- on our country. i think her background can help her reach that level of credibility with the american people. host: next phone call from new york. democratic line. caller: i wanted to take exception to you saying about our country promoting democracy. for $500 i can get a high definition camcorder. in order to get basic c-span, i
have to have a premium box. theoretically, some of those channels should be free. what i really called about, judge sotomayor, we know that with this ritchie case she was just following precedent. the reality is, right-wing justices came up with the wrong decision, in that perspective. if they continue to listen to rush limbaugh, sean hannity, mark levin, they will guarantee that the black and latino votes will go democratic. i would like to hear your thoughts. guest: in regards to your
comments about cable, we allow the free market to operate, but we did not say it is perfect. i appreciate your comments. there is a balanced in terms of what is appropriate for the government to. i agree with you. you take a look at this person's record, look at her decisions as a judge. you find a person that has reflected mainstream now used in america that have followed legal precedent. to believe the role of a judge is to interpret the law, not make law. that is what we are looking for. host: this morning in "usa today" -- senators will make speeches and then try their darndest to coax an unguarded comment from her. sotomayor knows better and will
decline. nevertheless, it may be worth watching. it may be your last chance to see this historic nomination. after your statements, what do you think we will learn about judge to understand it -- judge sonia sotomayor that the american people do not already know? guest: she will be talking to the american public. there will be all lot of unfair comments made about her background. -- there was a lot of unfair comments made about her background. this is her chance to respond. i think she but take that opportunity to talk about her background, to discuss how she used her experiences to arrive at the right decision. how she has done that as a prosecutor, circuit court judge, appellate court judge, and i think we will get to know
her as a person. host: next phone call from massachusetts. go ahead, chuck. caller: as an independent i do not go for either party, but i tend to notice the republican criticism has a tone of nastiness to a iit, even with sa sotomayor. even with michael jackson, the way they trashed jesse jackson. as much as you disagree, you seem to do it in a classier weight. for that reason, i intend to be more democratic than republican. guest: i appreciate you calling in.
there are different views about how the confirmation process moves forward, but we know that this will be an open process where good question will be asked. i hope members of the senate understand our responsibility here. we are talking about the supreme court. we are talking about a lifetime appointment. we should take a look at this from an objective point of view, allow judge sonia sotomayor to have her day. we need to look at her record and judge her on that. she has a very impressive record. host: next phone call from missouri. as we do this, here is a look at some of the people on the senate judiciary committee. go ahead. caller: the president said he
wanted he wanted had a great nomination. i think democrats will be able to push her through, no matter what happens. watching all these committees, i see a side of politics where they have no mind of their own the. they marched to the same drumbeat. someone needs to be free thinking. they are all scared of their own position. they do not care about the country they represent. guest: i disagree with that. me and my colleagues care very much about the nation. that is why we went into public service. i do not question the motives of any senator or congressman her. i think they are trying to do the right thing.
-- congress member. this is a very important responsibility and we want to do what is right for the american people. this is how the process works. we have separation of powers. at times, they have held us accountable, the president accountable. this is part of checks and balances. host: has patrick leahy called the speaker pro tempore: the yeas are 385 and the nays are 68, the moon is not adopted. the house will be in order. there are 17 1/2 minutes
remaining in debate. the house will be in order. the the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i would now like to yield two minutes to my colleague from florida, mr. mica. >> mr. speaker, the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is correct. the house will be in order. the gentleman from florida. mr. mica: mr. speaker, the house is still not in order.
mr. speaker and my colleagues, i just want to take a couple of minutes on the house's attention on this rule. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend. the house will be in order. we have 17 1/2 minutes remaining in debate. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. mica: i'm not a happy camper tonight mr. speaker and my colleagues. i'm not a happy camper because my amendment was not accepted as part of this rule. i have all night, mr. speaker. the house is still not in order. and i would like the courtesy of my two minutes of the house being in order. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is correct. the gentleman deserves to be heard. the house will be in order.
the gentleman from is recognized for the remainder of his two minutes. mr. mica: i have the honor and privilege of representing not only suburban and urban areas in central florida, but i have some rural areas and maybe you have some rural areas. i asked for a simple amendment for assistance for my potato farmers. you wouldn't think in florida, potato farming being a big industry. but in part of my district in the rural area, we had an incredible disaster several months ago. we had 25 to 30 inches of rain over several days and it wiped out the potato crop. have you ever seen rotten water-sod potatoes. this may not mean a lot to the folks on the rules committee, but we have had a custom in the house of helping members when
they have a disaster in their district. i had a disaster in my district. this isn't affecting me personal. and we're talking about $45 million not that i even need appropriated, just that i need a small adjustment to get to these potato farmers who are losing their livelihood and closing down their farms and who will not be able to present -- mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: members, please take their conversations to the cloakroom. the gentleman deserves to be heard. mr. mica: we had a disaster in my district. i asked for an amendment, one of many, that were rejected to give leeway to farmers in central florida who will lose their businesses, not being able to employ people, not to be able to
have the money to plant the crops so next year they won't be in business. that amendment was rejected smearlly by the rules committee. so i'm not a happy camper. i don't agree with every motion to adjourn after every business that went on. i may still take that option. because i have people who don't have jobs and don't have the possibility of continuing their farm business and asked for a simple change, not more money, the money is there, but allocating money to some of the existing programs so they can get the money now for people to work, save their crops and save the next crop. i didn't get that cooperation. so i'm not a happy camper, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield myself such time as i may consume.
i appreciate the gentleman is not a happy camper and my thinks go to his district, but as he knows, this is an appropriations bill. and what he was doing was attempting to legislate on an appropriations bill, which would have been subject to a point of order under any circumstances. maybe if the gentleman could work with the appropriate committee, we will try to help him. but under this rule, his amendment would have been made out of order under any circumstances. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: i wish to reserve the balance of my time. mr. mcgovern: we have no further speakers. i yield to the gentlelady to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the the gentlewoman from north carolina has three minutes remaining. the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. foxx: would the speaker please call the house to order. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order.
the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. the american people know that in these tough economic times, they should save, not spend money. however, the federal government does not reflect the common sense i see throughout my district. instead, the democrats in charge continue to borrow more and spend more, increasing our federal deficit on the backs of children and grandchildren. the bill facing us after this rule is a 12% overall increase in funding from last year's bill. the u.s. national deficit is currently 11.5 trillion with over 300 million people in the u.s. today, each citizen's share of this debt is $37.5000. it will increase borrowing and spending money. the majority can no longer blame the deficit and economic difficulties on the previous
administration. the democrats in charge have shown they do not care about the deficit by continuing to dig america into a bigger and bigger hole with more reckless spending. this borrowed money is all being spent by speaker pelosi, the obama administration and as a result, the employment rate continues to rise and the deficit continues to plummet. there are 322 earmarks tucked into this bill totaling $220 million in borrowed money for pet projects. the bill contains $1.3 billion in grant funding awarded solely at the discretion of the administration. mr. speaker, there even an article today in "politico" that says we have a train wreck in this country because of out of control federal budget deficits. and mr. speaker, i would like to include that in the record today. the speaker pro tempore: without objection.
ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm going to your knowledge my colleagues to vote no on the previous question so i can amend the rule to allow all members of congress the opportunity to offer his or her amendment to the agricultural, rural development, food and drug administration and related agencies appropriations bill under an open rule. i ask unanimous consent that the text of the amendment and extraneous material be placed in the record prior to the vote on the previous question. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. foxx: i urge my colleagues to vote no on the previous question and no on the rule. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, we need to pass this rule and we need to pass this bill. this is a bill that provides funds to protect public health, money for the food and drug administration. it funds hunger and nutrition programs, including funding w.i.c., rural development, conservation, enforcement. let's be clear, mr. speaker, the reason why we need this bill is in large part due to the eight
years of republican neglect and indifference on a lot of these issues. more people in america today are hungrier than a year ago. and i tell the gentlelady from north carolina yes, there are increases in this bill although it comes under the request of president obama, but there are increases in this bill to deal with the fact that so many in this country can't afford to put food on the table. and you know, i will also say to the gentlelady that these aren't just homeless people or these are not just people without jobs, these are increasingly working families. people who are working who can't afford to put food on their table. the richest country on this planet, that is shameful. and globally because of the lack of leadership over the last eight years, over one billion people are hungry. that may not bother some of my colleagues on the other side of
aisle, but it bothers me. my friends can complain all they want, but it won't feed a single hungry child. my friends can try all the obstructionist tactics that they want but it won't save a single rural farm. the american people want relief and provide a helping hand. my friends on the other side are interested in delaying, obstructing and killing important legislation than advancing it. that may be the advice of some high-priced political consultant at the republican national committee, but it's a bad way to serve the american people. our side has tried to reach out an accommodation on debate and amendments with the minority, only to be rebuffed -- no i will not. be that as it may, our job as the majority party is to do the business of the american people. and passing this legislation is a part of doing that job. i urge my colleagues to vote yes on the previous question, yes on
the rule, yes on the underlying bill. i yield back the balance of my time. and i move the previous question on the resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the question is on ordering the previous question. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the the gentlewoman from from north carolina. ms. foxx: on that, i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the
stimulus oversight when gov. ed rendell of pennsylvania. what systems are in place to track the use of stimulus funds in pennsylvania? guest: in various number of systems. we have adopted many federal tracking measures the gao to us to, but we also have our own methods. we believe in total transparency. here's one example. we were to receive $1 billion
for transportation and infrastructure. on our website we have every contract -- we have 242 contracts. you can go on the website to see what contracts have been issued in your town, who awarded the bid, who the subcontractor is, how much money is being spent in your region, how much money is being spent statewide, how many people have been hired. there is as close to total transparency as weekend. some of the programs that we developed, we actually had discussions with our citizens. -- transparency as we can. we wanted to have citizen input. we spend $30,000 a year on
whether reservation. thanks to the stimulus, we have quite a bit of money to spend. we have to develop a new method of doing that and we solicited input from advocacy groups, nonprofit, business groups, and from individuals. we have conversations on the website and transparency is good. a former business ceo is our accounting partner. we have a board made up of four members chosen by our legislative delegation. we had the head of the afl-cio, head of commerce, and head of the united way. all of those people together oversee every dollar that we spend. host: are talking about
oversight when gov. ed rendell. if you want to give us a call, democrats, 202-737-0002. republicans, 202-737-0001. independents, 202-628-0205. you can send us an e-mail or bettetwitter. how is a need the term and in deciding which projects get the money, and where the money goes? guest: for the transportation money, and went out over the regular formula that federal and state dollars debt spend. that means the metropolitan and rural organizations were told that they were told how much they had to spend based on our normal formula. they selected the projects in
their area. these 242 projects were also elected locally. that is the way it is. we are getting $99 million for energy projects. that is the criteria developed by the department of environmental protection. host: next phone call from michigan. go ahead. caller: good morning, governor. yesterday, i was looking at a news articles, and i saw where the gao recently published a report that the way to track stimulus money to the state --
let us say it is not as good as it should be. there is really no way to track it, and michigan was mentioned as an example. that concerns me as far as how this money will be tracked. the previous guest was talking about the 7% waste built into this. have you heard about that gao report, first of all, and if not, could you make yourself aware of it? guest: you may have heard pennsylvania has received high marks from the gao for the way that we are tracking in making our spending transparent. it varies state-by-state. the gao gives us rules on how we are to do it.
i think the key to this is total transparency. the public, and each state, and across the nation, has a right to see how their money is being spent. i would urge you to go on pa recovery.com and you will be able to see where the money is going, how many contracts have been honored, etc. i think we are doing a pretty good job. i think the gao has rules and guidelines, and it is an ongoing process. the first front of stimulus money came in on march 12. that was less than four months ago. i love reading these articles
-- there was one in "politico" and "washington post" -- where people were complaining that spending was not coming quickly enough. we have led construction projects in the past few months. we have spent the up. -- sped that up. if we started to do things much quicker, critics would say that we are going to fast, there are problems here. no one wants to create jobs more than i do, but i want to make sure that we do it right, and i do not think there needs to be 7% waste. the administration and congress gave us less than 1% on administrative costs. we are only allowed to spend one-half of 1% on that.
everything else needs to go to the projects. host: henderson, nevada. john on the republican line. caller: this cap and trade, which would cripple the economy and government -- we are in a recession already. to compound that, and they want to handle medicare program to us as well that will over-taxed us. what is the point of this when it will not do us any good? -- overtaxe us. guest: look, health care is killing all of us now -- not literally, but financially. business is, statewide care --
businesses, state when care, health care costs have risen by 10%. businesses cannot keep up. the chamber of commerce, not a partisan organization, has said we need to do something about health care. they told the president to do something about health care costs. we need to find a way to give access to the millions of americans without health care, and two, those who have health care but does not provide adequate benefits. we have also got to find a way to reduce health-care costs. electronic record-keeping will help us save millions a year, for example. competition reduces cost. that is why the president wants this public auction. his theory is competition will
cause the private care organizations to reduce their prices. do not be too quick to think that all this will do is add to the financial burden. if it is done correctly, it will dramatically reduce the financial burden on the americans, american businesses, and give everyone health care. there are a lot of people who are not covered right now and they are struggling. host: you are here to testify at a house oversight hearing on spending. you are on a panel with martin o'malley and massachusetts gov. duval patrick. what are you going to tell the committee about spending? guest: on oversight, we are going to tell them in is a work in progress, but i know that gao has done a great job so far. many of us have received high
marks and we will receive the level of high oversight that we have. there will be republicans and democrats at the hearing. i went out of my way to make sure that we had republican impact. we have two out of the four federal folks have chosen by the pennsylvania delegation. two more were chosen in the pennsylvania legislator. i wanted it to be bipartisan and raised important questions, and again, the past transparent as possible. massachusetts and maryland have done a great job, which is why the chairman invited us. what i'm going to try to do it is debugged this idea that the stimulus has not worked because not enough of the money has been spent. one reason i explained, we want to do with with a level of
care, and two, the short term goals that the administration had made, have been met. right now pennsylvania are getting benefits. almost 1 million families are getting food stamp benefits. that makes a difference. 3.7 million families are getting a tax cut. 40,000 families are getting poor health benefits. the second thing they want to do is give aid to hard-hit states. -- cobra health benefits. without this benefit from the government, we would be in the same state as california.
as i said, right now, 141 projects are beginning as we speak. host: next phone call. caller: good morning. happy belated fourth of july. i wanted to say what a great job anthe governors are doing, for the most part. they are not terrified by transparency. they welcome it with open arms and embrace clean-air, stimulating the stimulus package, and burning every drop of that to the american people. -- bringing every drop of that to the american people.
i wanted to point that out. other countries are commendable. you cannot just commend the fact that they have stimulus packages, too. some governors are experiencing hardship. our hearts go out to governor jindal. how come some people are struggling? guest: there are different parts of the stimulus package. every government needs to make their own decisions, but this is the time when everyone needs help. there is a lot of suffering out there. i think it is incumbent upon us to reach out and help. people say that the government wants to take federal money and spend that money and that will actually contribute to
unemployment. i say, sure, but what do i tell to the persothe person who cannb and has to feed a family? i think right now we need to do everything we can to help the american people who are struggling. host: indianapolis. and jeffrey on the independent line. caller: i have been following your career. you have done a pretty good job for the people in the commonwealth of pennsylvania. it is amazing how you see all of these right wingers attacking mmmmmmmmmmgogogogogo f f f f f igig now we need to do everything we can to help the
american people who are struggling. host: indianapolis. and jeffrey on the independent line. caller: i have been following your career. you have done a pretty good job for the people in the commonwealth of pennsylvania. it is amazing how you see all of these right wingers attacking the stimulus plan. these are the people who hailed ronald reagan. his tax plan was passed in august of 1981. by june 1983, unemployment was still 10.3%. we need to give the stimulus plan some time to work.
instead of people running around attacking this plan, and the man and a failure, we need to give it some time to work. ronald reagan was given time when his tax plan was passed in 1981. by the way, back then, the democrats controlled the house and senate. right now we do not see any reaching across the aisle from the republican side trying to help obama because they feel this is not their way, then they are not even going to participate. guest: i think you made a great point. i think president obama, in fashioning the stimulus, actually tried to reach out to the other side. there are $375 billion of tax cuts, the republican mantra. i think he should have put more
money into jobs. the point that you make is terrific. ronald recon cost recovery plan took a long time to work. -- ronald reagan's recovery plan took a long time to work. it was not until the latter part of 93 right before his reelection year that the economy started to improve. economic signs were better, but they were not that great. his points are out of the of the right. the first amount of money that pennsylvania got was march 12. i want people to listen carefully. that was less than four months ago. for us to have competitive biddin rank the bids, aboard
the bids, give companies time to create jobs, get orders into the factories -- a fact that we have been able to do so well, we are working on 131 projects -- that is a testament to the way the stimulus program was put together. but gosh, give it some time. you are absolutely right. host: is there money in the pipeline now to save the job layoffs that are being written about? guest: let's be clear. without the money that went into the state -- someone to medicate, some for corrections, education -- if it was not for that, we would have to have laid off thousands of police, teachers, school personnel, state workers, municipal workers. the layoffs just in government
agencies would have been in the thousands. i think we are going to reduce that now. i hate to lay off anybody, but it is comparatively good news thanks to the stimulus. host: back to the phone calls. and until, va. -- annandale, virginia. caller: on the stimulus plan, we have so many problems with infrastructure, not only in pennsylvania, but across america. a lot of arctects, engineers are not being included in the discussion. they have the capacity to have an overview of the situation.
looking at rebuilding the levees in new orleans, -- i think there was a bridge collapse in indianapolis. we are having some serious problems that we need to look at. we need a bipartisan standpoint. we need to dig in the and solve these problems. guest: that is an excellent point. i commend president obama for having the guts to do the stimulus plan. if i could change anything, i might have put more money into infrastructure, less money in tax cuts. every billion dollars spent in infrastructure produces at least 20,000 to 25,000 jobs.
you are right. we should be doing that. the two biggest areas of job loss or construction and manufacturing in my state. stimulus infrastructure the nose at infrastructure and manufacturing. host: next phone call. caller: good morning. i would like you to talk to me about the stimulus having a board that can override independent inspector general reports. if the inspector general chooses to make a report about waste and fraud, this board can make them jump through political hoops. of course, mr. obama just fire in the inspector general who
made a report on fraud. guest: again, i would have to plead ignorance on what you are saying. generally, i agree. inspector general's should have the freedom to make reports. an agency for state has a bad report, and they should have the opportunity to rebut it. if we get a bad report on our department of labor, we should have an opportunity to respond. perhaps they do not understand the issues. perhaps he got some preliminary reports that were not correct if we get a bad report on our
compared to this final day of the project. at least the public has the opportunity to see that this course. -- discourse. then the public can decide. host: if you go to pa.recovery.gov, you will see some of these numbers. $2.2 billion for education. $1.5 billion in education. job training and relief, $1 million. energy independence, 455 million. guest: the $4 billion for medicaid relief, that is spread out over three years. some of it is front loaded, like transportation, but some of it is spread out.
host: next phone call. on the democrat line, josie. caller: mr. rendell, i am a former philadelphia and. i know you so well. it is great to speak to you. thank you for space -- to c-span for giving me this opportunity. i have a question about health care. we have medicare and we also have supplemental insurance. i have written letters to everyone in washington, i think. medicare paid 80% of the medical bill that me and my husband incurred. our supplemental paid 20%. we pay the government more money
to pay the 80% -- excuse me, i have had mixed up. -- that mixed up. i pay the government, they pick up the 80%, and we do not pay them as much as we pay for the 20% that is picked up by the supplemental. this is crazy. why do we have to pay our supplemental insurance so much more than the government? guest: that is an interesting question. the problem is, the medicare program -- it is not bankrupt, but it is facing financial challenges. there has to be some level of cocaine. even in medicaid, there needs to be some level of co pay that the individual needs to come up with.
i believe that the is that 80% gives older americans' basic health care coverage. 20% supplemental is if you want to increase your coverage, expand coverage to get certain procedures covered. if you raise medicare to take care of 100%, people have to pay more taxes. we are a tax averse country, there is no question about that. sometimes i think we are tax averse to our detriment. we need to invest in transportation, education, human capital, job training. the interesting thing is, investing in health care can actually reduced cost -- reduce cost in the short term and long term. host: next phone call from illinois. tom on the republican line.
caller: i am glad to come to you, governor, but when you said that we are tax-averse to our own detriment -- i am paying almost seven -- 70% of what i make in terms of taxes and fees. we are just a wash and all types of taxes and fees. my question is, you made a comment about ronald reagan's program. his program was based upon tax cuts. so was jfk. his program was based on tax cuts. it gives power to the people. i think the democrats want to make everyone dependent on the government. when you make people depended,
they do not know what to do. it just boggles my mind. why didn't everyone from the governors, senators, why did they not take a salary cut? guest: in pennsylvania, everyone who works directly for me, we have forgone 3% increases this year and last year. essentially, we have taken a 6% tax cut. i cannot speak much about illinois taxes, but you would find that americans pay far less in taxes of their overall income compared to most countries. in european countries, the gas tax is well over $1. we pay a fraction of that. so we are not as overtaxed as people think.
i do not want people to be dependent on the government. i cannot speak for other democrats, but i want to enable the private sector to do the things it needs to do, but there are some responsibilities that are still the basic responsibility of government basic safety, education, providing health care for those who cannot afford it. we are responsible for building your infrastructure, no question. transportation, waste water systems. i that the people in cedar rapids hoped that there was a tax increase to build better levees. sometimes spending and raising revenue is important and necessary. we should do it as a last resort, but we should be willing to do it when it is a good purpose.
without objection, five-minute voting will continue. the unfinished business is on the question of suspending the rules and agreeing to h.con.res. 142. for what purpose does the gentleman from -- the unfinished business is the question on suspending the rules and ageing to h.con.res. 42. the clerk: house concurrent resolution 142, concurrent resolution supporting national men's health week. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and gee to the concurrent resolution. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the
opinion of the chair -- for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> i ask for a recorded vote. the speaker pro tempore: a recorded vote is requested. those favoring a vote will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is requested. this will be a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 417. the nays are 32. the concurrent resolution is agreed to, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. >> mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. micah: mr. speaker, i move the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the motion -- the question is on the motion to adjourn. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the noes have it. mr. micah -- mr. mica: i request a recorded
vote. the speaker pro tempore: those favoring a recorded vote will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
gentlewoman from connecticut rise? ms. delauro: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 2997 the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentlewoman -- pursuant to house resolution 609 and rule 18, the chair declares in the house of the committee of the whole house for consideration of h.r. 2997. the chair appoints the gentleman from arkansas, mr. snyder, to preside over the committee of the whole. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of h.r. 2997, which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: bill making appropriations for agriculture, rural development, food and drug administration and related agencies programs for the fiscal
year ending september 30, 2010 and for other purposes. pursuant to the bill the bill is considered read the first time. the gentlewoman from connecticut and the gentleman from georgia, mr. king ton, each will control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the the gentlewon from from connecticut. ms. delauro: mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume. i'm delighted to present the 2010 agricultural appropriations bill. i want to thank the ranking member, congressman kingston, for his cooperation and his input over the last few months. i thank both the minority and majority staff as well as for their tearless work. lastly and especially not least, a special thank you to chairman obey for his counsel and the resources to make this bill possible and leadership and vision to ensure we continue to get things done and achieve our
goals. we stand today at this turning point. we are talking about people's lives struck hard by an economy in chaos, facing shrinking services and struggling with rising prices and unemployment. i believe the administration's budget demonstrates that after years of underinvestment in the federal government's capabilities in protecting public health, supporting american agriculture, strengthening rural communities and preserving the environment. this bill proposes new priorities and the agencies that can help us meet them while making sensible budget cuts where feasible. as in recent years, the bill focuses on several key areas, ch as protecting public health, bolstering public health programs, supporting agriculture research, strengthening animal health and marketing programs and conserving our natural resources. the fiscal year 2010 agricultural f.d.a. appropriations bill provides for almost $23 billion in funding,
11% increase over 2009 levels and vast majority of which went toward three program areas. the w.i.c. program, f.d.a. and international food aid. in order to make important investments to use the resources available, the bill proposes a number of cuts totaling more than $735 million. to protect the public health, the bill provides a substantial increase for the food and drug administration to support a total discretionary funding level of almost $3 billion or 15% increase, almost 373 million. that is to hire additional inspectors and conduct inspections of foreign and domestic food and medical products. and many of us know, the f.d.a. has been underfunded for far too long. this is not only a matter of public health and consumer safety, but a matter of national and economic security. not all of the dangers that are threatening health can be found
in airports, border check points or harbor containers. sometimes they lurk in our refrigerators and kitchen tables. from cookie dow and salmonella and peanut butter, we have seen threats posed, and we cannot afford to neglect our food safety system any longer. the responsibility is to the american people to ensure the safety of the food they eat, medical drugs they take and medical devices they rely on. they will have the resources and manpower they need to keep us safe. the bill fully funds the administration's request for food safety and inspection service at the u.s.d.a., department of agriculture. it puts in over $1 billion for fsis. in terms of conservation, the committee makes a significant investment in u.s. d.a.'s
natural conservation programs. it properties $980 million. a $73 million increase over the administration's request. the bill rejects the administration's cuts to the natural resources conservation services farm bill, conservation programs, which includes the wetlands reserve program, the farm and ranch lands protection program and wildlife incentives program. it restores funding for other valuable programs, including the resource conservation and development program and the watershed and flood prevention operations program. in the area of nutrition, the bill works to improve nutrition and help those hit the hardest by the current economic crisis. food costs and participation in w.i.c. continue to increase at dramatic rates and the bill provides $7.5 billion for w.i.c. to serve our nation's vulnerable populations, 10% above last year to support participation of 10.1
million people. w.i.c. is a program we simply cannot afford to underfund any longer, particularly given the gravity of the economic climate. fundamental responsibility as legislators to say nothing of basic morality and fairness demands that we do to help americans suffering right now from poverty and malnutrition. the area of international food aid, the bill expands the commitment by providing an increase of $464 million to the pl 482 grants program. we provide an additional $99.5 million to the mcgovern-dole education and food new tration program. in the area of rural development. the bill creates new tupts for growth and development in the nation's small town economy by providing grants by $73 million, provides $8.7 billion for
housing, $4.5 billion and 9.3 billion for the rural utility programs. in research, the bill makes significant investments in agricultural research, $1.2 billion for the agricultural research service, nearly $1.2 billion for the cooperative research education and extension service. that money is allocated to such programs as the hatch act, eff answer-allen and food research initiative, smith,-leefer and medical services act. the bill provides the administration's request for the commodities future tradings commission, the $160.6 million 14.6 million and 10% above 2009. and that is to better secure the markets from improper speculation.
just yesterday, the cftc moved to send heavy trading in the oil, natural gas and energy markets. with this increased funding, it will ensure market integrity for honest brokers nfment closing, i look forward to working with all of you today as we work to craft responsible agriculture legislation that will alleviate short-term suffering, encourages long term growth and reflects our priorities as a nation. let me take a moment to say thank you to our staff, who have worked diligently to help put this bill together. the subcommittee majority staff, martha, our clerk, leslie, matthew smith, have worked closely with david on the minority staff and in addition, brian and mr. myers from mr. kingston's staff have worked to bring this bill to the floor
this evening. i hope we can help american families and farmers and get us moving again on a path to recovery. i urge you to support this bill and thank you. and i reserve the balance of my time. . the chair: the gentleman from georgia. mr. kingston: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. kingston: i thank the gentlewoman. my counterpart, the chairman of the committee, for her great introduction remarks and certainly support many parts of this bill and want to start out by complimenting her on the process that we have and the relationship that we have. we have an open and honest relationship. we can agree to disagree. and do it in an agreeable fashion. we have a lot of fun on the committee. we have had a lot of hearings. many hearings when we are interrupted by votes and we get to go back over there and sometimes it's just the chair and i who go back and we have our way with the witness, which is always fun. because here in washington we
would rather be the ones with the microphone than having somebody else with the microphone. we just have a good time in this. i think the staff works well together. and i want to recognize the staff for all their efforts at this time. on the majority staff, martha and leslie, jason, matt, and charston, brian, and leddy. i thank everybody on that staff -- that side for working with our folks. our folks are dave, merritt, meg, bernie, and jer who worked closely with us over the years. we appreciate the work of the staff. i think that if you look at one of the things that this bill has also done in this atmosphere where earmarks are under a lot
of scrutiny, in 2006 this bill had 865 million in earmarks, the bill we are looking at tonight has 219 million, that's a substantial reduction. and 2008, there were about 400 earmarks in the bill. and now we are down to about 322. we are making a lot of progress in reducing the number of earmarks. that is a good thing. what this bill does not have, though, is spending reductions. unfortunately, mr. speaker -- mr. chairman, we spend a lot of of time talking about increasing spending. but we don't talk about efficiency and effectiveness. the purpose of congress really shouldn't be just to spend more money on an authorized program, but we should make sure that the
programs are effective, they are efficient, are they doing the intended purpose? is increasing w.i.c. or increasing food stamps, is that a good thing? i would challenge that premise that it's not necessarily a good thing. it may be a necessary thing to do, but just because we have increased food stamps or w.i.c. spending, don't think we can polish off our halos and pat ourselves on the back. i think it underscores a situation in society that we need to be addressing. some of it in this committee, some of it in the authorizing committee, but certainly all members of congress. what do you do to help encourage people to be more independent so they do not have to depend on the u.s. congress year after year? spending in this bill is up about 14% overall. it's $123.8 billion bill. the discretionary portion is up
nearly 13% from about $20 billion to nearly $23 billion. the f.d.a. is up 13%, $2.6 billion to about $3 billion. and the cftc, the commodity federal trade -- commodity futures trading corporation has gone from $140 million to $160 million, which is about a 14% increase. now, for these increases, what will we get for the taxpayer dollar? what does it do for us? it just really -- we know grows the bureaucracy. it doesn't always get something done better or faster. and i think that when we spend more money we should have a measurement of the expectation, particularly in an economy that is floundering. an economy right now that has an $11 trillion national debt. and i think my colleagues here
don't need me to remind them where money comes from. we print it. we tax it from those who have earned it. or we borrow it from countries such as china to whom we owe about $622 billion right now. truly the national debt is a big problem. it's not the 500-pound gorilla in the room, it's rather a whole lot of gorillas in the room. i think the -- as a republican one reason why we are in the minority is because we spent too much money. republicans had a brand identity of being fiscal conservatives. unfortunately we threw that away. there was a war, there was a hurricane, there were flooding problems, there was terrorism, there were domestic attacks, but that's not an excuse. however now particularly with this administration spending
seems to be on supercharge. as government increases in size, the private sector seems to decrease in size. take for example the recently passed stimulus program, $790 billion in deficit spending at a time when unemployment was 8%. and the president said we have to do something that will give us drastic and immediate results. and now instead of that unemployment rate being decreased, it's almost 10% and a million and a half new people are out of work since the passage of the stimulus program. and yet here we are again tonight saying we can pass a bill with a 14% increase on it and that iscy none must with good -- that is synonymous with good. mr. lewis in the committee offered a substitute amendment in what we call the 302-b allocation that would have actually held spending to a 2%
increase over last year's level. that was rejected on a party-line vote. but i think mr. lewis was trying to say, we've got to rein in control of the spending because it's clear more spending does not create more jobs. there are other issues in this bill which we in the minority have tried to address through amendments. now, unfortunately, despite the fact that we turned into the rules committee 90 amendments, and i'll say i had not seen those amendments. i was trying to focus our minority efforts on about eight to 10 to 12 particular amendments, amendments which i thought were substantial, substantive, that were good government, maybe philosophical disagreements here and there, so i -- and hi lots of communication with our members, so i'm not sure where the other 70 to 80 amendments came from.
but i do know with the prefiling of amendments that members are more inclined to throw a lot of amendments out there to the rules committee in order to protect theelves should they decide to go forward on their amendments because if they don't prefile, then they can't even have consideration. but because of the continuing practice of closed rules, most of these amendments of course were rejected and tonight i believe we are going to be looking at two or three substantive amendments, then some earmark amendments, and thenp a couple of noncontroversial amendments. and i'm appreciative of that, but i do think we should open up this process a lot more. there are other things that we should be discussing that are not in this bill like a limitation on housing payments for illegal aliens. we need to be discussing categorical eligibility for food stamps, this is a practice widespread right now in states where if you qualify for one
entitlement program, you're automatically be enrolled in food stamps. what the unintended consequence of that is, some people who have substantial net worth are going to be able to get food stamps because they are unemployed. and we all know tragically a lot of people are unemployed right now, but some of them have a lot of assets in the bank yet under these state interpretations of categorical eligibility, they are automatically enrolled in food stamps. i think that's taking away food stamps from somebody who truly deserves it. we are unable to have an amendment on that. also a payment limitation to farmers who are ineligible for programs. from 2003 to 2006 the usda discovered about $50 million that was paid to farmers who were not eligible to receive payments. i think that should be addressed in this bill a little more closely than it is.
we did offer an amendment on that, but it was not supported. in 2006, the food stamp program made $1.29 billion in overpayments. an amendment that would have prohibited illegal recipients from getting the money i think would have been something good for this bill, but that was not accepted. there was another amendment offered on pl-480. it's interesting pl-480. we have increased that substantially. that's our foreign food assistance program. and it has pop pew lar wide bipartisan support -- popular wide bipartisan support, but on the same hand i don't think we had enough oversight, enough discussion as to why that spending needed to spike up to the tune of getting $700 billion in the supplemental bill and then another $464 million in this bill. these things are of great concern to me and we will
discuss some of these in more detail. i look forward to the debate, look forward to the amendments. again want to close with where i started with my chairwoman. i enjoy working on the committee, enjoy working with the staff. and we are going to continue to be engaged in this process. it won't just end tonight. we'll go, we are going to make sure that we follow this bill all the way through. and to the degree the minority is able to participate, we will be there. thank you for letting us work with you. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from connecticut. ms. delauro: i yield one minute to the gentleman from california, mr. baca. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. baca: i rise today to voice my strong support for h.r. 2997, the agriculture appropriation bill for the fiscal year 2010. i thank my good friend, rosa delauro, for her leadership in this vital legislation which helps put food on the table for many needy families. americans are suffering through
the worst economic crisis since the great depression. more and more families are forced to seek assistance in order to feed themselves and their loved ones. as chair of the agriculture committee, i am pleased this legislation makes a strong commitment to feeding the impoverished and ending hunger in america. today this legislation provides more than $7.5 million to ensure that some of the most vulnerable in our society, women and young children, have access to nutrition food during these tough times. these funds will ensure that 7,000 women, infants, and children will receive access to the w.i.c. benefit. in addition h.r. 2997 provides $180 million to give nutrition foods to over half a million to low-income seniors, disabled, women, and children through commodities clement food program. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia. mr. kingston: i yield five minutes to the gentleman from 234r5. .
-- the gentleman from florida. the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. mica: thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to thank our ranking minority member, mr. kingston, for yielding time. i am here. i would have liked to have actually spoken on the rule. as some of you may know i protested the rule. i didn't bring the house business to a halt, but i did ask several reconsiderations and a motion to adjourn. exercising my right in the minority and as a house member to proceed on business that i felt was only fair and equitable as far as treatment of a member when a member has a problem in his district. i have the great honor and privilege of representing urban area, suburban area, and then also a rural a