Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks on H.J. Res. 129, and that I may include tabular and extraneous material.
Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 670, I call up the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 129) making further continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 2001, and for other purposes, and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.
The Clerk read the title of the joint resolution.
The text of House Joint Resolution 129 is as follows:
H.J. Res. 129
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Public Law 106-275, is further amended by striking the date specified in section 106(c) and inserting ``December 15, 2000''.
Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, H.J. Res. 129 extends the continuing resolution that we have been passing on a regular basis until Friday of this week. I come to the floor today with more optimism than I have in quite a while, Mr. Speaker. There was another meeting with the President this afternoon with the bicameral leadership, Republicans and Democrats, and I have reason to believe that much progress was made. I really believe that by Thursday morning, if Members are able to be back by Thursday morning, we will
have a package to vote on.
So I hope that we will pass this CR to give us time to accomplish that.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. This is the 20th time, two-zero, the 20th time that the gentleman from Florida (Mr. YOUNG) and I have been forced to come to the floor and ask the Congress for an extension to keep the Government open while others in this institution and in the other body and folks in the administration decide what the budget ought to eventually look like by considering only macroeconomic numbers. After there is agreement between the leadership
and the White House, I assume that we will be asked to work out how that money is allocated.
So, in my view, the House leadership will be able to talk in very bright terms about what they have accomplished in macroeconomic terms, and then we will be asked to make the impossible choices within the dollar limits that are being suggested by the leadership around here. I cannot begin to tell the House how many times I have received letters from Members of this House, including the leadership on both sides of the aisle, asking that we increase funding for AIDS, special education, National
Institutes of Health, title VI block grants, LIHEAP, Low-Income Heating Assistance Program. I cannot tell you how many times I have received letters asking us to vote for increases in those programs and demanding that we bring to this floor what they refer to as full funding for some
of these programs, while at the same time those same Members vote and those same leaders demand that we provide an overall number for the bill which makes our ability to produce what they ask for at the micro-level an almost impossible act. That in my view is what is happening here.
I am not going to vote for this continuing resolution. Not because the gentleman from Florida (Mr. YOUNG) has not done his job, he and I were here all weekend, but because I believe that the numbers that will be produced in the end will have virtually no room for some of the main priorities which a lot of Members in this body claim that they have. I think that when people put together an agreement about what the overall spending number ought to be in the Labor-Health-Education bill, for
instance, that they ought to have some idea what that number will really mean in terms of its impact on low-income heating assistance, its impact on the National Institutes of Health, its impact on Pell grants, its impact on special education, its impact on Head Start, its impact on child care, and its impact on a whole range of programs.
Yet I think the way that this is proceeding, we are going to have a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, where the overall number is going to be agreed to, and then people like the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. PORTER) and the gentleman from Florida (Mr. YOUNG) and I are then going to have to take Members aside one by one and explain to them why we cannot provide the increases for NIH that we promised the country in the campaign we were going to provide, why we cannot provide the increases
in the Pell grants that we told people we were going to provide, why we cannot provide the funding for special education that we told people we were going to provide. We have got a winter coming where the Federal contribution to help low-income elderly pay their home heating bills will drop by about 50 percent as a percentage of those folks' income because of the rapidly rising energy costs; and yet this bill is going to be asked to savage that program in the out years.
And this has all come about because we are told by a number of Members on [Page: H12069]
that side of the aisle that the agreement that was reached before the election is somehow too rich. I want to compare what that agreement would have done with Labor-H, with all the health and education and job programs, what that would have done with what we did in some other bills.
This Congress passed an agriculture bill which was 2 percent above the President's request. This Congress passed an energy and water bill which was almost a billion dollars above the President's request. It passed an Interior appropriations bill which was $2.5 billion above the President's request, 15 percent above the President's request. It passed a transportation bill which is $2.3 billion above the President's request.
And now we are being told that we have committed a mortal sin and we are all going to go to hell because we passed a Labor-Health-Education program that was a few billion dollars above the President's request. I make no apology for that. I make no apology for that. I think that those increases when compared to the increases in the energy and water bill or in the transportation bill are eminently defensible. Yet we are being told now, oh, we don't have enough room. We may add 7 or $800 million
in more money for the Middle East; but, no, if we do, we have got to take that money out of education and health and worker protection programs. I have a funny feeling that is not going to go down well with the American people.
I do not have any objection to our meeting our international responsibilities in the Middle East or any other area of the world, but I do think that if that is financed out of reductions in the people's bill for programs here at home, that that action will unnecessarily turn even more people in this country toward an isolationist track. And I think it will encourage more people out of frustration to say, Well, if we have to make those kinds of choices, then I'm not for providing funding for various
regions of the world. That is the proposition that we are going to be backed into.
I apologize to the House for taking this time. No, I do not. I do not apologize at all for taking this time. Because we were told that this debate would come up at 6, and instead it has come up at 5, so almost no one is here to discuss it. I really have not had a chance to think through what a more thoughtful response would be if I had an hour to look at what is going on around this town. But I do want to say that I think that this process of extending continuing resolutions time and time and
time again has served only one purpose. It has enabled the majority party leadership to avoid voting on education and health until after the election. And having now escaped the election season, it is now free to pursue the cuts that it apparently wants to pursue in those programs. I think that that is unfortunate.
So I will vote against this resolution. I do not expect that there will be many people who will. But I do not think I am going to like the kind of priorities that are going to come out of this shakedown. And this has been a shakedown. This is what it has been. I do not think I am going to like the priorities very much when I see that we are going to be asked to squeeze these programs because we have at an earlier date on other bills provided very large increases in the President's budget, and
now people seem to feel that we have to recoup that on this bill. I just do not happen to agree with that.
When I was walking the streets in Wisconsin Rapids or Wausau or Superior, Chippewa Falls or anywhere else, I did not find many people who were asking me to have large increases in military spending, to have large increases in the transportation budget, to have large increases in Interior while we were neglecting our child care needs, our family planning needs, our National Institutes of Health and medical research needs. The gentleman from Florida (Mr. YOUNG) has provided a lot of needed
leadership in the defense area, for instance, on the Subcommittee on Defense in providing supplemental funding for health programs, for bone marrow transplant and other programs.
I am simply going to vote against this continuing resolution because I think that it is simply giving people more time to do bad things.
That is not my bag.
Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.
Mr. Speaker, I first want to confirm what the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. OBEY) said, that he and I were here this weekend. In fact, we communicated with each other throughout the weekend just in the event that we had some agreement between the legislative leadership and the White House so that we could begin to complete the bill.
I have been briefed by my leadership, and I believe that the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. OBEY) has been briefed by his leadership. My understanding is that the agreement would be substantially higher than the House passed Labor HHS bill, and that it is higher than the President's actual request. I believe that if we come together in a bipartisan fashion here, that the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. OBEY) and I and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. PORTER), who is the very
distinguished chairman of the subcommittee, will be able to fashion a bill within that overall number. We will be able to guarantee that the promise that we made to medical research through NIH can be and will be kept; and that the promise we made in increasing the educational funding can and will be kept.
So we have some work to do between now and hopefully the day that we are going to have the vote on this bill, which we hope will be on Thursday morning. The gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. OBEY) and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. PORTER) and I have a lot of work to do and with our counterparts in the other body, but I am satisfied that we can do it. Everybody, I believe, wants to get this job done and we are going to produce a bill here that probably everyone could look at and say,
gee, I do not like this or I do not like that; but there will be a lot of good in this bill that I do like.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Mrs. JOHNSON).
Mrs. JOHNSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. YOUNG), for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I came to the floor because I want to remind the Members, and I hope to remind the White House, that it is time that we wrap up our business. It is very important that we, as a body, deliver to the executive branch a plan for spending and for funding the priorities of the next year.
I wanted to remind my colleagues that while there is some debate about the exact level, it is a rather minor number of millions and billions that have to be dealt with; that, in fact, in this bill are many, many things that many of us have fought long and hard for. There is a big increase in funding for teacher quality. Now that we know more about the lack of certified teachers in many of our classrooms, the lack of subject matter preparation of many of our teachers, particularly in the inner
cities, it is really imperative that we pass a budget that puts that money out there so we can make some of the progress in public education that we know needs to be made.
In this bill is 575 million more dollars for after-school programs, and I would like to say that in my little town of Enfield, the Enfield after-school care program that provides after-school care for only at-risk children has already had 10 of its children referred to DT out of our children family agency for neglect. This will be the security of these children as they move through a difficult time in their families and hopefully be the difference between these children. These are K through 6
kids. These are not high school kids. Six of the kids have already been referred to a juvenile review board only in the first 3 months of the school year. These really are at-risk kids, and this wonderful program has given these kids stability, is helping them improve their school performance and will be their security and their ticket out of juvenile crime, under achievement, low self-esteem and catastrophic consequences.
Also in this legislation is a significant increase in the child care block grant. This body prided itself on passing welfare reform, but if we do not do things like we are doing this year, and this bill is $817 million more for those [Page: H12070]
very child care certificates that working women coming off of welfare depend upon, if we cannot provide child care subsidies to a woman coming off of welfare into a roughly minimum wage job or just above she is not going
to make it; not because she is not trying but because she has such heavy child care costs that she could not possibly make it on those entry level salaries.
So in this bill we are following through on many initiatives in human services, in education, that do, in fact, give our people the support and the opportunity, whether they are children or adults, that frankly this body has striven long and hard to create on a bipartisan basis.
So I would urge my colleagues to remember that in here is fuel assistance, a big increase for fuel assistance, going into a winter when we know things are going to be very tough; health care; education, and it is our responsibility to pass it.
I would also remind my colleagues that it is going to be well over the President's request, over anything this House passed, and so we have the ability to rationally agree on some modest reductions from one agreed-on level and get this bill to the President. I hope that we can get an agreement before he leaves for Ireland so by the time he gets back we will have it passed and his signature on it very promptly. We owe it to those people who work for our government so they can deliver consistent
quality service in a knowing, established context of supported funding.
I thank the gentlemen for their hard work on both sides of the aisle, and I ask that we move forward and this be the last CR we be asked to support because I will support it only reluctantly.