Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Madam Speaker, once again, we have discovered that there appears to be some glitch in the majority's effort [Page: H4619]
to bring the so-called DISCLOSE Act to the floor. It apparently is over how many people get exempted from the disclosure rules that otherwise prevail.
We have had the NRA exemption, which was for organizations which have over 1 million people, which have actually existed more than 10 years, which have people in all 50 States, in D.C. and in Puerto Rico, and which have less than 15 percent of their funds from corporations. Now we understand they have dropped it to 500,000.
Madam Speaker, we did not take the oath to the Constitution to only uphold part of the Constitution. It is time that we stop auctioning off the First Amendment and start understanding that we here are supposed to protect the First Amendment, not parcel it out, not deny it to some and give it to others. The First Amendment is for all Americans, not just for those favored by one party or another.
Mr. POE of Texas. Madam Speaker, the administration's knee-jerk banning of deepwater drilling for 6 months is the second disaster in the gulf.
The government is intentionally putting companies out of business in the gulf with this unscientific moratorium. There are 50,000 workers who are losing their jobs due to government overreaction. The administration is not only purposely putting blue collar workers out of work; the government is sending those jobs to Brazil and to Indonesia.
In 2005, there was a BP refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas. Fifteen people were killed; 180 were injured. The government did not close all of the refineries for 6 months in the United States to investigate the sins of BP then. That would have been foolish nonsense. It would have destroyed jobs, the economy, and it would have caused the loss of U.S. energy.
So investigate the rig explosion and hold BP accountable for their conduct, but don't in a moment of political hysteria stop deepwater drilling. Don't wipe out jobs, American companies, and sabotage the U.S. economy.
And that's just the way it is.
Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Madam Speaker, in Georgia's Ninth Congressional District, there is the small town of Ellijay. It is known not only for Colonel Poole's barbecue and as the apple capital of Georgia but also as the home of the McCutchen-Poole Small Business Coalition. The reason is that community leaders like Colonel Oscar Poole and Joe McCutchen are committed to creating an environment where small business can thrive. However, taxation and regulation are stifling small business expansion.
Throughout my legislative career, I have focused my efforts on removing these unnecessary barriers in order to unleash America's entrepreneurial spirit. As a small business man, I know that cutting spending here in Washington, eliminating the capital gains tax and reducing the corporate income tax, along with empowering the private sector, is the way to create jobs and to get Americans back to work.
Stimulating the economy must come from expanding the private sector, not by expanding government. We have a 16-month track record of failed economic policies, and they continued once more here today. We should be encouraging small businesses, not penalizing them with higher taxes and more regulation.
So I hope you will join me. Let's empower the taxpayer. Let's provide tax relief, not tax creep.
Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Madam Speaker, everyone knows that we are in the grips of trying to overcome the devastation of the gulf and to help the people of that region. That is why I want to applaud the serious work that was done at the White House to establish the independent framework that I called for 2 weeks ago, which was to ensure that the impacted communities--restaurants, fishermen, shrimpers, oyster persons, and people with small restaurants and large restaurants--in the gulf region,
from Florida to Texas, have the ability to secure the kind of compensation needed now to make their bills.
This is not compensation for the injury as much as it is compensation to survive. For anyone to suggest that this was a shakedown is a misinterpretation and a distortion to the American people.
What do they want the government to do? They want the government to be responsive, to make sure that we work on their behalf and to make sure that people whose lights are being turned off can pay their bills.
Good news. We can now get claims and can help the people in the gulf region.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise to recognize the many small businesses throughout the Nation, and especially in my home State of Florida and in my area of south Florida, that I hope will lead us into the great economic recovery.
As we have in the past, we shall recover again. Small business owners are going to be an essential part of that recovery because small business owners are truly the backbone of our Nation's economy, employing tens of millions of workers and creating most of the new private sector jobs that are so important for true economic growth.
I'd like to take this opportunity to especially recognize two small businesses in my district which definitely represent America's tradition of free enterprise and individual initiative.
Tri-City Electric has reached a well-respected place in both Florida and the electrical contracting industry with well over 300 employees. This family firm has been providing electrical design, installation, and service in south Florida for three generations since 1946. This small business's name also played a role in the fascinating rise of small business after World War II, in that it was selected to represent our area's three major cities at that time: Miami, Coral Gables, and Miami Beach.
Like most small businesses, Tri-City Electric is made of folks who didn't start at the top and, in this case, started in the trenches digging to lay pipeline in the hot weather while working whatever hours it takes to get the job done.
Another small business with a long tradition of service in south Florida is Riverside Electric Company. This was established in 1922--I love anything older than I am--which is one of oldest electrical contracting firms in the southeastern United States. Another firm with a proud family tradition, its roots go back to Atlanta, where the company played a key role in converting the city's streetlights from gas to electric. Its founder, Eugene M. Irvin, Sr., later moved his family to Miami and began
Riverside Electric Company. His great grandson, James Irvin, is now co-owner of the company, along with Alexander Rodriguez, who started as an apprentice and worked [Page: H4620]
his way up to become a journeyman and master electrician.
Madam Speaker, these are just two examples of Florida's nearly 2 million small businesses that have provided economic opportunities to diverse groups of people and have delivered innovative products and services to a worldwide marketplace.
Florida's small employers, in 2006, represented 99 percent of the State's employers and 44 percent of its private sector employment. Of even greater significance, however, is that small businesses created nearly 60 percent of my State's new jobs in recent years. Think of that figure. Sixty percent of the new jobs in the State of Florida were created by small businesses.
It is my honor and my privilege to recognize today the many dedicated and hardworking employees of small businesses who have done so much over the years to serve their neighbors in so many ways.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Madam Speaker, General Petraeus was in Washington this week to testify before the House and Senate Armed Services Committee. And while his intent was to endorse the July 2011 Afghanistan redeployment date set by the Commander in Chief, it was not the kind of clear, unambiguous statement that inspires very much confidence.
According to an editorial in today's Washington Post, the General describes next July as ``the point at which a process begins to transition security tasks to Afghan forces at a rate to be determined by conditions at the time.'' With all due respect, Madam Speaker, could there be any more qualifiers and escape hatches in that sentence?
The American people, who have 1,000 fewer fellow citizens and 278 billion fewer dollars than they did when this war began, aren't looking for the beginning of a process. They're looking for an end to this, an end to this miserable war.
Shouldn't we be at the end or at least in the middle of the process of transitioning security tasks to Afghanistan forces? Shouldn't the beginning of the process have come at some point over the last 8 1/2 years that we've been fighting this war?
My concern, Madam Speaker, is that statements like this one are laying the predicate for an extension of President Obama's deadline, which is exactly the wrong lesson and the wrong approach. The problem is that, if you're locked into a certain mindset, it will never seem like the right moment to remove our troops from Afghanistan, because the mission as currently defined will never be complete and conditions on the ground will forever remain bad. But the reason for that is the underlying policy
of a military invasion and occupation that is fatally flawed in the first place.
So, in a twisted, paradoxical way, Madam Speaker, the more we fail, the more we try to succeed with the same misguided approach, and then we just fail some more. That's how you end up with perpetual war. If we had adopted smart security principles and invested in a humanitarian rather than a military approach, we'd be a lot closer to our goals of a peaceful, stable, and secure Afghanistan.
For my part, Madam Speaker--and I am not alone in this belief--the July 2011 date is not nearly ambitious enough. That's yet one more year in which Americans will be asked to sacrifice blood and treasure for a failed counterterrorism strategy that is doing nothing to advance our national security objectives. I believe General Petraeus is moving in the wrong direction and being cautious where he should be bold. It's time to accelerate the timetable, not push it back. It's time, Madam Speaker,
to bring our troops home.
Mr. MCDERMOTT. Madam Speaker, we have the highest number of long-term unemployed Americans ever on record, so you'd think we'd be overwhelmed by bipartisan cooperation to help us with these 7 million people who have been out of work for more than 6 months. Instead, every single House Republican but one voted against the legislation 3 weeks ago to continue emergency Federal unemployment benefits. And now, in the other body, every Republican has refused to support an extension of unemployment
benefits. So a growing number of jobless workers are now losing their benefits.
By the end of this week, more than 900,000 Americans will lose their unemployment benefits unless the other body acts. We hear their rumblings over there, but I'll believe it when I see it. By the end of the month, the number will grow to 1.2 million. My colleagues from Florida should know an estimated 80,000 Floridians will lose their benefits; California, 180,000; Ohio, 66,000; Georgia, 57,000. And the list goes on and on.
The last lifeline for these workers and their families is being severed, leaving them adrift with no job, no savings, and no support. Even some from my own party seem to be saying now is the time to start cutting back on help for the unemployed. In fact, it will take about 5 years of consistent, month-after-month job growth to make up for all the ground we have lost in this recession. That's how big the jobs hole is that unemployed workers are trying to climb out of.
You only have to hear from a few unemployed workers to know how hard they're looking for work and to feel their sheer sense of desperation. They're losing their homes, their health, and their faith in the American Dream. Are we really prepared to just stand by and watch them sink into abject poverty?
Opponents of helping the unemployed like to talk about budget deficits. Of course, they don't seem to care about deficits when it comes to two wars that have cost a trillion dollars and two tax cuts, mainly for the wealthy, which cost $1.7 trillion. None of that seems to matter. But now the stingy other body says we might pass this if we can take away $25 a week from all the unemployed. Of course, we couldn't take the money from the hedge fund people. That would be too tough on them. When it
comes to helping the unemployed, they just say, We can't afford it. But I wonder if they have truly considered the real cost of abandoning these families.
Ending assistance to the unemployed will reduce consumer demand right at the point when the economy is struggling to rebound after the worst recession in 70 years. It would surely increase the number of homes that would go into foreclosure. And it would drive some individuals permanently out of the labor force if we don't do something. All these outcomes will increase our Nation's budget deficit. But even worse, they'll bring about a crippling deficit of hope--hope for the future.
Helping those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own is the right thing to do for families, for the economy, and, ultimately, for the Federal budget.
Our failure to get this bill passed has very real and very immediate consequences. Tonight, thousands of people in every corner of this country will suffer because we have chosen to quibble and stonewall instead of act. These benefits help millions of people put bread on the table while they look for work. I sincerely hope the other body will take pity on the unemployed of this country and pass a bill today.
Mr. WESTMORELAND. Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay respect to Fayetteville, Georgia's Milton Clowers, who passed away a few weeks ago. Milton was a good friend of mine and a good friend to many.
He leaves behind his wife, Randi; his loving children, Eric and Cameron; and Eric's wife, Amy. His extended family included several brothers and sisters who preceded him in death and four brothers and sisters who have survived. Probably most special to him were his five grandchildren. And as a grandfather, Milton and I would often talk about our grandchildren and what a blessing they were to us.
Milton was a good friend to me. I knew him both personally and professionally. He was born in Tennessee and attended Tennessee State University. Milton enjoyed a career in the electrical industry, which I come from a construction background, and Milton and I had many discussions about the condition of our construction industry today.
He came to Atlanta, where he was accepted into an apprenticeship program with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 613. Milton worked hard and had a successful career. He started at Grove Park Electric and went on to Dixie Electric Company. But the highlight of Milton's career was UpTime Electric. He made it into a very successful electrical contracting firm. He did a lot of work for Delta Airlines in the Atlanta Airport. I took a trip and visited that site with him probably
a couple months before his death.
Milton also served on several industry boards. He served as the secretary, treasurer, president and chairman for the Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association.
Career and community work are important. However, a man is only as good as the family and friends who support him. Fortunately, Milton was blessed with a lot of both. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, brother and friend. He was a strong, talented, and compassionate man who gave so much to so many folks. I am proud to speak about him today on this floor to honor his life and his work. And Milton, I will miss you, my friend.
Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Madam Speaker, I come to the floor today during this specific time to talk about issues that are taking place on the borders of the United States. The issues I talk about are issues that impact both the northern border and southern border as well. But we have had quite a bit of hype in the media lately about things that are taking place on the southern border, so I would like to try to focus my attention primarily on what is happening between the border between the United
States and Mexico. I also want to try to narrow the focus of the discussion tonight in some particular way because I'm not talking about everybody who is coming through the border, both legally and illegally. I'm talking about certain kinds of bad guys that are doing great harm to this particular country.
Let me talk about the kinds of people for which we should be vastly concerned. I am talking about drug cartels and drug runners. The sad fact is that almost all the illegal drugs coming into this country are coming across Federal lands that abut our southern border.
I'm talking about human traffickers. The sad reality is, those who are hijacking and kidnapping people, those who are running prostitution rings, those who are bringing people in here for unspeakable kinds of activities are coming through Federal lands on our southern border. If you go down to those lands, you will see the rape trees, established where those who are leading innocent individuals will take people across the border, physically abuse them, rape them, and then leave an article of
peril on a tree as a memento, a reward, a symbol of their success in such a heinous activity. That is happening on Federal land along our southern border.
And I also want to talk about the potential of terrorists who can come through Federal land on our southern border almost without any kinds of inhibitions. You see, not everyone who is coming through the southern border with Mexico are from Mexico or even Latin American. In recent years the Border Patrol has intercepted people from Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, people from most of the countries that are on our enemy watch list, those types of individuals for whom we should be suspect are the
ones who are being captured and caught and detained. And the question is, how many are not being captured and caught and detained?
We have found discarded apparel, backpacks with old Chinese passports that had been modified, that had been cut up, that had been reused. We are not really sure exactly why they were there and for what purpose they had, but we know that those types of individuals are coming across our southern border.
So please let me try to emphasize: The reason there should be such concern is because of some of the kinds of people who are illegally entering this country, whose sole purpose--it's not to find a job or not to join a family--but whose sole purpose is to further the illegal drug trade, whose sole purpose is to further illegal human trafficking, and whose sole purpose could easily be for terroristic reasons.
Now one of the ironies of our situation on the southern border is, if you look at this picture of the southern border, the land from San Diego over to El Paso, everything that is colored along the southern border is different kinds of Federal land. Well over 40 percent of the southern border is Federal lands, 4 million acres of which are in wilderness categories.
I want to make a distinction between the southern border from El Paso to San Diego because if you go from El Paso down to the Gulf of Mexico, it's slightly different. First of all, you will notice from the map there is not a lot of Federal lands there, and the Border Patrol has a great deal more latitude and, consequently, a great deal more effectiveness on private lands, working with private individuals and local law enforcement, than they do in the areas where there are Federal lands; plus
there's a river that makes a difference as well.
So I want to concentrate on all of that colored area between San Diego and El Paso where it is the Federal lands that are causing the problem. [Page: H4622]
And they are causing the problem not for an unreasonable reason. I think we can all logically understand this. The Border Patrol is being very, very effective in urban areas. The Border Patrol is also being increasingly effective along the Texas border where they are dealing with local law enforcement and private
property owners. And that means that if you want to come into this country illegally to do drugs, do human trafficking, or for terroristic purposes, you try to go through the area that is the easiest.
The easiest access to this country has now become Federal lands along the southern border, and that means that even though this issue has been with us for many years and many administrations--going back to the Reagan years when we were talking about this particular issue--and even though the failings that I will be mentioning in this hour deal with this administration, they also dealt during the Bush administration, the Clinton administration, and years before that.
The only difference though is that now the situation is being exacerbated because the success we have in urban areas and on the private sector land means that the bad guys are being funneled more and more into the Federal lands where it is simply easier access to get into this country. So the problem has always been there. The problem, though, is intensifying, and that is why we must look differently at what we are doing.
Two agencies, actually three agencies are responsible for that southern border. They include those who own the lands, which is the Department of Interior and the Forest Service, and those who are charged with patrolling and protecting those lands, which is Homeland Security, specifically, the Border Patrol. And my contention to you today is that those three agencies have collectively failed in their responsibility.
A few weeks ago, a deputy sheriff from Pinal County, Arizona, comes to one of those sections of land which is wilderness designation, which means he no longer is able to stay within his vehicle--because, by our laws, we cannot have a mechanized vehicle in a wilderness area--so he has to get out of his car and walk into this wilderness area where he promptly walks into an ambush and is shot. Two weeks later, in the same area, the same wilderness area where the Border Patrol is not allowed to do
their routine type of patrol work, two dead bodies of Americans are found in that exact same spot on Federal land.
You look over at the Rob Krentz family where, through a wildlife refuge, once again, because it has an endangered species on it, Border Patrol is prohibited from going into that area. Unfortunately, the murderer of Rob Krentz was not prohibited from entering this country through that wildlife refuge. He confronted a rancher whose family goes back to 1907 in Arizona in that particular ranch. This is an elderly gentleman who was on a motorized vehicle on his own land. He did not have the opportunity
of facing the issue of whether to fight or flee because he didn't have the capacity to do either. He had just had surgery on his back. He had just had a hip replacement, was scheduled for another hip replacement. He basically was immobile.
And in years past, when a rancher confronted drug cartels, drug runners, the human traffickers, they would usually flee. But for whatever reason--and this is becoming more and more constant--for whatever reason, this time the drug cartel decided to stay there, and they killed Rob Krentz, and they killed his dog. And then he fled on a very out-of-the-way route to going back through the exact wilderness refuge from which he entered into this country. I'm sorry, this is an example of where we are
A Mexican rancher brutally murdered, bound and duct taped, was thrown into the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the U.S. side back in November. To this day, nobody has actually issued any kind of press release to allow anyone to know that that is happening. And the sad part is the examples I am giving you right now are not isolated. We have had several members of our Border Patrol who have been murdered in this exact same area. More and more individuals, both Americans and of Mexican extraction,
are being assaulted, murdered, raped, and robbed in this particular area, and it is all happening on Federal land.
So the question one has to simply ask is, you know, Why? Why would this, indeed, be the situation in which we find ourselves? And one of the problems that this Congress needs to address--because only this Congress has the ability to address it--is some of the internal conflicts between different Federal agencies. If you have the Interior Department and Forest Service who own the land, they have certain laws that we, in Congress, have wisely passed on how they must manage their land. Homeland
Security, though, is responsible for border protection. They have other requirements and laws, and not always do those laws fit together easily. In fact, sometimes they are in conflict.
It would be very simple to say, Well, common sense will tell you just to sit down and work out the issue. Unfortunately, we're dealing with the Federal Government, where common sense is not necessarily a high priority. Indeed, some of the land managers, working under the Department of Interior as well as the Forest Service, almost are doing their work as if they have blinders on. Dedicated to the task at hand and the legal requirement they have to consider the value and the protection of the
land as their highest priority, and dedicated to fulfilling that legal requirement, they are sometimes oblivious to the real world that is around them. They forget that there are other missions that have to be there.
So sometimes it is more important to protect 22 pronghorn goats on this land who are endangered than it is to consider definitely more than 22 young men and women in America who are obviously subject to the suffering and the pain that comes from the use of illegal drugs, which are coming through that exact same territory. It is almost as if we have this attitude within the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service that because those are their lands, they will allow the Border Patrol to
go in there under certain circumstances. And yet, at the same time, we have had the criticisms filed with us that allowing the Border Patrol to go in there and monitor these lands and protect the border for this country sometimes takes up to 6 months just to get the permits to run the programs that they need.
Now, we were told the other day that, Well, this is changing. We are working together better, that now we are coming together as Homeland Security and Interior Department and Forest Service. We have worked those out. No longer does it take 6 months to get the permits for the activities to take place. We're now doing those within 30 days, sometimes 60 days, occasionally a bit longer. Here is the question. We're talking about securing this border. A drug cartel does not wait 90 days from the entrance
into the country before they continue on. They are not waiting for the bureaucratic wheel to spin so slowly in this country to get together and work together to solve this particular problem. And until we can come up with a new way of doing these issues, it will continue.
We had a meeting with these three groups again the other day in which they were proud that a communication tower, which was essential for the Border Patrol to be able to do their work in guarding the access and monitoring the access into this country, was not allowed to be put on the site the Border Patrol wanted because that would have been on wilderness designation. And once again, because of the laws we have passed, you may not put any new structure on a wilderness designation. So they were
very proud. They were very proud that they had, after several months of negotiation, came up with a deal to move the tower to an area that was acceptable to Homeland Security and acceptable to the Interior Department. Now that sounds great that they did the deal--with one small caveat. The tower doesn't work
in that area. There is now, by everyone's admission, a 3-mile hole in the coverage, which means in this effort to try to monitor what is coming in and out of American territory, there is now a 3-mile black spot where no one will ever know what is coming in or coming out. And I'm sorry, that's causing a problem.
It is not unusual for the drug cartels, who are very sophisticated, to understand this concept. Therefore, with this 3-mile hole, that becomes the primary route of entrance. And the only reason [Page: H4623]
that that 3-mile hole exists is because, to obey our laws and to have, first of all, the concept of protecting the land upper most, you didn't put the tower where the tower would work. You put it on an alternative site.
Now once again, perhaps years ago when only a few people were coming over occasionally, perhaps years ago when people who were there coming over to try and get jobs to milk cows or to change sheets or to pick tomatoes, occasionally that would not have been a problem. But as I have said, we are no longer talking about that group, those kinds of people coming in. We are now talking about effective, organized drug cartels having running battles with themselves as well as Mexican authorities on that
side, and they are the ones who are now in increasing numbers coming through those black holes on the Federal land that we have simply created because we have not taken the blinders off to look at the overall picture.
It is human traffickers and all the violence against women who are coming over in increasing numbers through areas that we are not allowing to be regularly patrolled. And the potential of a terrorist coming into this country through these areas that no longer have any kind of security simply because we are giving precedence to a land concept of wilderness or endangered species, and that takes precedence over securing our border and trying to protect the citizens of this country.
Now, most people when you talk about this just shake their head in amazement and say, That is silly. That violates common sense.
The only thing we have to say to those citizens who say that is, You are right, it is silly. And it does violate common sense. And that is why this Congress needs to do something about it because only we have the ability of taking all three agencies and making them work to see the large picture, the overall goal, and not simply what their narrow focus may be in their job requirement or their job vision.
The question was made on whether the Border Patrol can do routine patrols along our southern border. Without dropping a beat, the representative from the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior said, Well, of course not. Only under certain circumstances, only when there is evidence of incursion will they be allowed to go into these areas because that is when they need to. Once again, if we are now inviting people to use these areas because we are stopping them other places so
now they are coming on Federal land, one of the things that we need to do is make it much more difficult for someone to come onto this land illegally, and that means you need to have Border Patrol doing routine patrols.
I think in the back of everyone's mind if we start thinking about what the Border Patrol could or should be doing as we envision it personally, we would obviously see a bunch of people in a motorized vehicle, armed, going up and down the border making sure that they are checking for signs of incursion and making sure that those who want to come into this country are having a second thought and saying maybe there is a better route that is not across Federal lands.
So the first question one should ask is, Why not? Why aren't they allowed to be in there? For, indeed, if the bottom line means that our Border Patrol is not allowed to go on Federal lands to do their job, we are creating our own problem. Initially last week, I believe, or maybe 2 weeks ago, the President announced a new initiative to send 1,200 National Guardsmen down to the border. I am encouraged by his commitment to do something about it. However, once again one has to ask: If the Border
Patrol are not allowed to go onto Federal lands, the National Guard will not be allowed to go onto Federal lands. I don't care how many thousands of people you send down there, if they are not allowed to do their job, if they don't have the access so they can do the patrolling, it doesn't make a difference. That is silly. It is not going to work. And that is the concept that somehow some way we ought to recognize. We ought to figure out.
There is also one other issue that goes along with that that should be a special concern to this Congress in the way that we operate here because in one of the oddities that has developed over the years, we have Congress appropriating money to agencies of government who are then extorting that money from other agencies of government, i.e., for the Border Patrol to do their work, one of the things and conditions that is put upon them by the Department of the Interior is that they have to pay mitigation
fees, which means this Congress, without knowing the details, appropriates money to Homeland Security for the Border Patrol who will then have to pay that money to the Department of the Interior for mitigation fees or to buy other lands to compensate.
This Congress has no control over that process. That's wrong. This Congress has no say over that process, and that is wrong. And the idea of transferring money from one group to another without the oversight of Congress is wrong. It is illogical. It should not happen.
Here is the irony: as a Member of Congress, when the Homeland Security budget is brought to this floor, I as a Member of Congress do not have the ability to come in here and transfer some of that money from Homeland Security over to the Interior budget. But the agencies are doing it, and they are doing it without reporting it to Congress, without understanding what Congress is about. Those agencies, by one extorting money from the other, have the ability to do something that Members of Congress
And I am sorry, Madam Speaker, this is illogical. And I am sorry that we are going to authorize up to $50 million in this year's budget to give to Homeland Security so they can send it over to the Interior Department or the Forest Service, and the Interior Department or the Forest Service will, without ever checking on why we are doing that, what we are doing, and how this money is supposed to be spent. The money all comes from the same pot, and it should be Congress' decision on where that money
is spent and how that money is spent. It should not be a matter of internal negotiations between the haves and the have-nots between different agencies, and that is a practice that has been going on in this administration and in the prior administration and the prior administration before that.
The difference, though, is today the dollar amount is much more significant, and the issue is much more significant.
Some of the news agencies made a major brouhaha yesterday by reporting a new sign that has been put up by the Department of the Interior. I believe this is on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. And what the sign says to Americans coming down to this American spot for wilderness protection for endangered species, as well as recreation opportunities, is very clear. And amazing. It tells Americans danger, there is a public warning, travel is not recommended because the area of American land
owned by the Federal Government in which they would be entering is active drug and human smuggling areas. Down here the BLM encourages visitors to use public lands north of Interstate 8.
How many other places in the United States do you have the United States Government putting up signs telling Americans not to enter into American territory because it is too dangerous for Americans to go into American territory, that drug cartels from foreign nations have taken over control of this territory, and you enter at your own risk? Unfortunately, this is not
unusual. This sign went up this last week.
For years, both the Interior Department and Forest Service have been recommending for people not to travel in these areas. And if you do, you go at your own risk. Ninety-five percent of the Organ Pipe National Monument is a wilderness area, and 90 percent of that wilderness area is controlled by Mexican drug cartels, and no American is allowed to go into that without some kind of armed escort.
Further north I went to the Ironwood Monument. Once again, we were told and warned that it is a dangerous area, don't stop along the roads; continue on driving; try not to get out of your car and continue on foot in those particular areas.
These are areas well within the border of the United States. And, sadly, this is not atypical. Going back to the year 2006, once again a different administration, but in 2006, the Department [Page: H4624]
of the Interior issued a report about this that was never released to the public. But in it it indicated that in the year before, 2005, there were at least five murders, two rapes, 39 armed robberies, and they are estimating somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000
illegal incursions on this piece of property. I want you to know, those are the only ones that the Federal Government investigated; anything that was reported to local law enforcement was not included in those figures.
Now, because this has now been spun out in the national media, and because the sheriff in Pinal County simply said there are areas in his jurisdiction that are out of control, and that area that is out of his control where he cannot provide protection are all Federal lands that are owned by the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service where he nor the local law enforcement nor the Border Patrol had the ability to do what they need to do to try and control that particular area, Interior
Department sent out a memo today, a media advisory trying to put this into some kind of perspective.
And what they said is that don't take this out of perspective. It is only a small area of the land that is closed to Americans. In fact, they put out this sign which is somewhat blurred, but they simply said, and this is the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, they are not closing all; they are only closing this portion down here that is the portion of America that no Americans can go into because it is too dangerous for Americans to go down there. They also then said that the amount of violence
that takes place here annually year after year after year is decreasing, so we should be heartened.
I think there should be another question that should be asked. As a policy for this Congress or this administration, How much of America's land should we accept as uninhabitable for Americans? What percentage of American property should we just say, okay, foreign entities, foreign substance groups, drug cartels, you can have 5 percent of our land as yours, we just won't bother you in that? Maybe 10 percent, 2 percent? What percent is acceptable to say that America can turn over our control of
American land to cartels and groups from outside this country and it is acceptable? How many murders are acceptable before we are happy? Is five murders too many? If we only have three murders a year happening on Federal land, is that enough to satisfy what we are doing?
Look, the bottom line is quite simple: what we have been doing is failing, and we have to do something different. We have to do something different.
Part of it is to use common sense and say the Border Patrol should be allowed to go where the Border Patrol needs to go.
I have here a picture of one of our Federal lands, once again in Arizona where you see traffic barricades. These traffic barricades, nicely put here, are cool; except the goal of these traffic barricades is to prohibit the Border Patrol from going into Federal land that has wilderness categories and wilderness designation. This is not to stop the bad guys from coming in, this is to stop our guys from coming in.
At Organ Pipe National Monument, these fence barriers used to be our border between the United States and Mexico. These used to be put in there to stop Mexican cars from coming into the United States. Well, we have a different wall there now that is much more effective, so we don't need those. So instead, the public land manager in this particular area took these barricades and put them inside his territory, once again not to stop foreigners from coming in, but to stop the Border Patrol from
going in. Somehow we have to realize that what we need to do is to allow the Border Patrol to have routine access, routine patrols, and not stop them from going into these territories.
Now, once again, we have met with them and they say we are working these things out; everything is going to be fine. In fact, some of the gates we are now putting up have locks on them, and we are giving the Border Patrol keys to the locks; besides, if they really need to, they could just push through those gates. However, local security, the local law enforcement doesn't have a key to those locks. If a deputy sheriff in one of those counties is chasing a bad guy into that area, they are prohibited
from that pursuit. Somehow we have to get common sense back into the situation because what we are talking about simply does not work.
And there is an irony in this. The sole purpose of trying to stop the Border Patrol from securing our borders is because of the fear that they may cause damage to the environment, that a motorized Border Patrol truck could actually screw up the land or chase away an animal or do something else. So, therefore, we are prohibiting them from doing that except for some extraneous and unusual circumstances. But the irony is the bad guys, the drug cartels, the human traffickers, potential terrorists,
they are not inhibited by any of that. So they go into that area, and they don't care what kind of environmental damage they do.
Madam Speaker, you have probably seen these pictures before. This is a picture of Federal land. This is wilderness land where Americans are not supposed to go: no motorized vehicle is supposed to go; no wheeled vehicle is supposed to go; only on foot with backpacks or on horseback. That is for us. Unfortunately, the drug cartels and the human traffickers come in here and they leave all of their stuff behind. They change clothes so they can get picked up along the highway and go further inside
the United States illegally.
This is what is left behind. This is what the landscape looks like in these areas that we are trying to save for their environmental purpose. The irony is we are failing. We are failing because the people that need to be kept out are not being kept out and the people who could solve the problem are.
One of the unique finds we found is that once again the Border Patrol--trying, I guess, to come up with some pocket change and pocket money for their activities--are going into these areas, and this cacti that has been cut down is an endangered species, which means it is illegal to cut it down. They didn't care; they cut it down, anyway. It is placed across a road, the purpose of which is to stop an American traveler in this Federal territory because they can't go over the cactus. Once they get
to that spot, they are then robbed with armed gunmen.
The irony once again is if the Federal Government were to go in there and try to pick up this cactus and move it off the road, that's a felony. That's illegal under our Wilderness Act. Sometimes, once again, we have to come up with other areas, what to do. We have placed water towers within Federal territory in an effort to try and make sure that those illegal visitors coming in here who happen to run out of water will not die. That's a humanitarian effort. However, what is so bizarre is the
Border Patrol can't go anywhere near those water towers for fear of running off an illegal alien that may need the water. We are doing that.
We have done this kind of stuff, once again, going back through several administrations. But the cost is higher now, the issues are higher now, and the danger is higher now. We can no longer afford to continue on with that particular pattern. I would also warn you that right now, as we speak, in the Coronado National Forest, there is another wildfire.
Most of the wildfires that are taking place on Federal land in the southern border area are not accidental wildfires; they are started by the bad guys, the drug cartels and the human traffickers, for two reasons: either they will start the wildfire as a diversion to take Federal forces to the fire so they can go the other way, or, much more practically, if they're in deep trouble, they'll start a fire to get somebody to come and rescue them. Most of the fires are started that way.
We have one now in Coronado, which is called the Horseshoe Fire. Estimates are $10 million that it will cost the taxpayers to fight this fire caused by illegal aliens trying to come into this country, not for jobs or for family but to do harm; illegal trafficking, drugs and, once again, the potential of terrorism. That's what we need to deal with. That is the issue that is at hand.
There is one last concept with this. Arizona passed a law dealing with illegal immigrants. It has been highly controversial. The merits or the rationale [Page: H4625]
of Arizona's laws notwithstanding, I have no intentions of even talking about whether I think it is a good or bad law. It is insignificant. What is the reality is that the law was produced because of the anger, the angst, and the anxiety that is caused by the funneling of thousands and thousands of drug
dealers and human traffickers into the State of Arizona. Because we have done such a good job in the other area, we are now funneling them through those Federal lands. The Federal Government's action caused that law. And I would think it would be wise, before this Federal Government decides to go to Arizona and tell Arizona what they should or should not do internally with their laws, for the Federal Government to realize we are causing the problem and for the Federal Government to simply go down there on Federal lands and say, It is a Federal responsibility. The Federal Government
will stand up. The Federal Government will ensure that we have control over this territory. The Federal Government will stop the worst possible invasion of this country by the people who are trying to do harm; mainly, once again, the drug traffickers, the human traffickers, and the potential
terrorists. That should be what the 10th Amendment is about. That's the concept of Federalism. We are causing the problem and now we are criticizing local government who is trying to react to it; whereas, local government wouldn't need to do that form of reaction if we simply did our job first.
Once again, look at the map. That's the territory, everything that's colored. That's an open invitation for people to come into this country because it is so easy. And that's the problem. And because it has been exacerbated, because it's happening to a greater extent, because the damage is worse than ever before, and because the potential harm to this country is so great, this Congress has to step up and decide that we will get these entities together and we will establish what the standards
are. The standards should be very simple: that not 1 inch of United States property should be given over to a cartel, and Americans should never be told not to go into parts of this country because it's too dangerous for America. We should come up and establish a policy that the Border Patrol will have open and complete access and no other agency, especially Interior or Forest Service, will tell the Border Patrol what their job is and how they
will do it; and that there will be continuous and routine patrols of our border until such time as the drug cartels realize that it is no longer easy to come into this country that way. That they will find some other route is obvious, but that this is our responsibility, our land, and that we clearly are failing, and that the problem is getting worse every day is our fault and our responsibility, and we must take control definitely on that.
I hope this country recognizes what we're talking about, but, more important, I hope this Congress recognizes what we're talking about. I will say, I think this Congress has. The language in House bill 5016 which would solve this problem was passed in this body overwhelmingly on a bipartisan vote on a motion to recommit. The bill to which it was voted and attached is waiting over in the Senate with very little likelihood of being moved. Senator Coburn in the Senate attached similar language
that would help solve this problem to an appropriations bill. It was passed by voice vote in the Senate, and then before it came to final passage over here in conference committee, the language was removed. Both bodies of this Congress have said what they believe should take place, and common sense from Americans tells us what should take place.
Now is the time for us to realize we can no longer simply ignore this situation, and it's our fault. What we have been doing does not work. We need a better approach. We need to make commonsense situations. We need to have our land managers see the higher picture of what is important for this entire country, and we need to do it now, because the situation gets worse every day, every day we wait.
Mr. KING of Iowa. Madam Speaker, thank you.
I appreciate very much the privilege to be recognized to address you here on the floor of the House of Representatives in this great deliberative body that we have. I appreciate the gentleman from Utah who so eloquently spoke in the previous period of time.
I have a number of things on my mind that I came here to impart to you, Madam Speaker, and anyone that would like to overhear our conversation. Maybe this would be a good day to solve a lot of the problems that we have before us and just generally address this situation. I won't go through all the history of the world to get here, but I may have to refer once in a while back to the history of the world to make a reference point so that we can understand what we're doing now.
This is an America that has been built upon the foundation of a good number of things--the pillars of American exceptionalism. Now, some of these are pretty simple. They are in the Bill of Rights: freedom of speech, religion, and the press; the freedom to assemble and petition our government for redress of grievances, all in the First Amendment there. Property rights that are clearly defined in the Fifth Amendment; freedom from double jeopardy. Then we have a whole series of other rights.
But there are a couple of things that we don't talk about very much in this country, and, that is, if you would go to the USCIS stack of flashcards, and these are glossies about, I suppose, 2 1/2 inches by about 5, like a deck of them. When we have legal immigrants that come to the United States that are studying so that they can pass the citizenship test and receive their naturalization to become an American citizen, they study the flashcards, very much like students study the flashcards in,
say, math: 2 plus 2 is 4, 3 plus 3 is 6. I won't go on any further, Madam Speaker, so I don't make a math error, but these cards that test the applicants for American citizenship have a series of questions on them and an answer on the other side.
There will be questions such as, who is the father of our country? You snap it over and the other side of that card says George Washington. You need to know that if you're going to be a citizen of the United States of America. Who emancipated the slaves? Flip the card over, Abraham Lincoln. Next question--actually, this is question No. 11: What is the economic system of the United States? Free enterprise capitalism is on the other side of that card. I don't think it's arguable. I don't think
it's refutable. But neither do I believe that the administration believes what I have just said. I don't think they have endorsed free enterprise capitalism. I don't think they've been active in it. A small, small percentage of this administration has
signed the front of the paycheck and handed that payroll check over to one of their employees. I am one of the people that has done so. I have started a business and created jobs and I have met payroll for, I believe the number is 1440 consecutive weeks.
You learn some things doing that, Madam Speaker. You understand and appreciate the free enterprise system. We know why people take risks. People go to work so they can make some money. They punch the time clock and they punch in and they punch out, and they get their paycheck and the benefits package that comes with that job because they want to feed their family. They want to have some walking-around money. They want to save up for the future. They want to have the flexibility to go and get
some living in doing some things that cost a little money.
This is taking advantage of the liberties and freedoms that we have here in the United States. That's getting a job and going to work. That's contributing generally to the free enterprise system. But when an entrepreneur comes up with an idea to start a business or buy an existing business, maybe transform that business into something different, a vehicle for them, that really launches our free enterprise system.
We have seen success models of that across the history of America, across the United States of America. We might think of the Carnegies, for example, back in another era, or J.P. Morgan in another era, or we can be [Page: H4626]
thinking also of some of the Rockefellers. Or in today's world, we can think of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, the founders, respectively, of Microsoft and Apple. Yes, they made a lot of money, and there's not one dime of it that I begrudge them
because their creativity and their discipline, their attitude, their hard work, yes, but their smart, hard work has done a lot for all of us. Our lives are far better today because we had creative people who injected ideas and stimulated this economy; Bill Gates and Steve Jobs being two of them. There are many more out there in the dot-com industry.
There are also failures out there, if you define failure by starting a business and watching it go broke; although, I think there are many times there are lessons learned there that are built upon, and those heretofore failures become successes. But my point is that we are a Nation that has embraced free enterprise capitalism. It should not be arguable here in the United States.
We should not have a knee-jerk reaction that we should go towards a government takeover of the private sector in order to solve a temporary economic problem. Our default mechanism should be to free enterprise, to freedom, and we have to let some entities fail if we're going to allow our economy and our Nation to succeed. That's the risk. You have to, once in a while, let the child fall off the bicycle, because when they get up, they'll be a lot better at it. And you have to, once in a while,
let people achieve and be rewarded for their successes to the fullest extent, because that's what inspires more entrepreneurship, more challenges, and more success.
When you think of the United States of America, and this is the historical lesson now that goes back. We look at 1776 as our year; the Fourth of July, 1776, as our year. Think of that time. What was going on in that period of history? What was going on in the culture of Western civilization?
Well, let's see. Not only did the 13 original colonies declare their independence from Great Britain, from the king, but that was the year that Adam Smith published his great work called ``Wealth of Nations.'' My book, I believe, is 1,057 pages long, and you can read through there carefully and learn what it's like to make pins and nails and how to utilize the division of labor to get more efficiency, and everybody benefits. Adam Smith had the industrial revolution figured out in 1776 at the
beginning of the first signs of the dawn of the industrial revolution.
We had here in the United States the free enterprise capitalism, part of the culture. We had a Nation of shopkeepers and a Nation of small farmers that were free to succeed or fail on their own merits or demerits. And we know that some of our earlier Presidents had real difficulty with their finances, Thomas Jefferson among them. George Washington had some of those struggles as well. There were others that had difficulties with their finances. It wasn't something that they were handed something
they didn't have to make work or something that didn't require them to be a manager. Their management of their finances and the production of their operations had a lot to do with their successes or failures.
In 1776, Adam Smith touched a nerve and educated the marketplace of Western civilization, and they began to embrace the idea of free enterprise capitalism, division of the invisible hand managing our economy rather than the king ordering it to be done or, in a later century, the next century, Karl Marx directing that it all come out of central command, from top down.
Adam Smith's vision was this, that if you have only one brand of bread on the shelf and you have a set price for that loaf of bread, you can take the price up well above what it's worth. If people are going to eat bread, they will have to pay more than it might be costing, if there's competition. As soon as company A is competed against by company B, what can you use to get a market share? Well, you can bake a loaf of bread that you sell a little cheaper. You can bake a loaf of bread that's a
little better loaf of bread. You can package it up a little nicer or provide a little better service or provide it to be a little fresher. Some of the things, cheaper, better, better advertising, service, packaging, and maybe a little fresher. And when you do that, if you can sell at a lower price
a better quality product, the invisible hand would come into that grocery store and instead of paying $1 for a loaf of bread, buy that 95 cent loaf of bread that's a little better bread than the $1 bread. Pretty soon, company B at 95 cents is outselling company A who's selling their bread for $1.
And so what happens? The quality of the bread for company A goes up, the freshness goes up, the price goes down, and this competition goes on day-by-day constantly, transaction-by-transaction, the invisible hand making that selection of a brand of a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk or a can of beans or a T-shirt or a pair of sneakers or a car on the lot or a plane ticket on the Internet or any transaction that you can think of that a consumer would use if there's competition out there and the
calculus of the consumer. Well, selection-by-selection, select market shares and set the prices and provide for the production, directions, and the availability of products because free enterprise capitalism reacts. They have to compete so they react to market demands.
That's just a few minutes to explain what that is, and I'd like to have that time in the Oval Office to explain this also to the person that sits behind that desk because I see a lot of signs that tell me that there isn't a deep natural conviction that supports free enterprise, and this includes the nationalization of three large investment banks, AIG, the insurance company, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, General Motors, Chrysler, the entire student loan program in America, and now the takeover of
our own body, our skin, and everything inside it called ObamaCare.
Then in the speech about how to deal with the gulf oil spill, which is a disaster and a tragedy that I don't think we can point our finger at an individual who's to blame at this point, we haven't found out yet what caused it, but in that speech, the President raised the issue that he would like to move forward on cap-and-trade or cap-and-tax.
Now, we have a financial reform bill that is in conference right now that's being hammered out. I will add these up again, and I will take this, Madam Speaker, to a percentage so that we have an understanding of how much of the private sector of this economy has been swallowed up by decisions made, beginning in the Bush administration, all of those decisions supported wholly by candidate-then and now President Obama. Three large investment banks, AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, General Motors,
Chrysler, now that totals to one-third of the private sector activity as described by Professor Boyle at Arizona State University some months ago. When you added to that 17 1/2 percent of our economy, which is underneath the--now the ownership, management or control of this administration called ObamaCare, now we're up to 51 percent, rounds to 18, remember, 33 and
18, 51 percent. The financial services package, which looks like it's very difficult to block and most likely to end up on the President's desk, as much as I would like to stand in its way, represents by some accounts another 15 percent of our economy. So now we're up to 66 percent of our economy swallowed up if the financial package gets to the President's desk.
Behind that, cap-and-trade or cap-and-tax, a tax on everything that moves in America. It takes energy to move anything. It takes energy for me to raise my hand, so many calories burned up per pushup. I suppose somebody knows that number, Madam Speaker. But some say that cap-and-trade is about 8 percent of our economy. I think it's larger. I think it grows into being larger. It may well start out at 8 percent. So 66 percent that we're at now, the total, and we add 8 percent, the cap-and-trade.
If the President is successful in what he would like to do, we will have seen 74 percent of the private sector economy swallowed up and being under the ownership, management or control of the Federal Government, 74 percent of our economy. That leaves--bright math students--26 percent of the economy left over.
The engine of our economic growth is free enterprise capitalism, this little simple thing that you can't pass the [Page: H4627]
test to be naturalized as an American citizen without at least the risk of having that being one of the questions on your test. We want everybody in America to understand free enterprise capitalism is our economic system that we have here in the United States, but our free enterprise is being swallowed up. The margins that are left are 26
percent, if this falls in the way the President is driving it, and we're going to expect that 26 percent to provide the taxes and the growth and the economic foundation to support all of this government on the other side.
Meanwhile, we're watching irresponsible spending out of this Congress to the tune of trillions of dollars. Let me just say that I believe I could pull out of the top of my head $2.34 trillion in irresponsible spending that's taken place in about the last year-and-a-half or a little more. That would be wrapped up in the $700 billion in TARP spending, the $787 billion in the
economic stimulus plan which 6 percent of Americans think works out for the positive, 96 percent of Americans think it didn't work and better off if we hadn't done it. There are other components out there with the Fed rolling out funds, et cetera, that rolls it up to that number of $2.34 trillion.
And I listened to and submitted to debate after debate that came out of this side of the aisle over the last several years of Democrats, and many of them self-professed Blue Dog Democrats, that said we've got to have PAYGO rules, we're going to be PAYGO, we're going to pay as we go. If we have to increase spending in one area, we'll have to go find someplace to pay for it by decreasing spending in another area. That's a philosophy that I agree with and I endorse. In fact, I'd go a little further
than that if there's a way to do it.
But the Blue Dogs have essentially dropped out of sight. They're not standing there fighting on a budget. They may be fighting behind the scenes because what we're finding out is this Speaker is not going to bring a budget to the floor of this Congress. Since we've had budget rules that began in 1974 this Congress has always passed a budget, always brought a budget to the floor. As difficult as it is to pass it, it is a framework, a spending constraint, that at least you can point to those line
items in that budget and argue that an appropriations bill that spends money beyond that breaks our budget, but if you don't have a budget, any kind of irresponsible spending works just as good, and that's what's going on.
There's not a conscience, there's not a challenge, there's not a means to try to figure out how to get us back to a balanced budget. There is no path to do that. In fact, the President has driven this. He's advocated for trillions of dollars of spending. He has signed trillions of dollars of spending. He has said that in order to grow out of this to solve our economic problem we need people spending money, and he is a Keynesian economist on steroids. This is a guy who didn't see it Adam Smith's
John Maynard Keynes was the economist that believed that you could take Federal money, the greenbacks, cash, and put it into the hands of the American people and they would take it out and spend it, and that would stimulate the economy, and you could grow out of an economic crisis just by simply spending government money. Well, I've always thought that that was a ridiculous proposal. I think you have to produce things that have value and market them for a competitive price and build your efficiencies.
I believe this is an economy that's built on production, not on consumption. And if that's all it was, we could embrace John Maynard Keynes' idea who actually spoke and wrote about how he would solve the economic problem in the United States this way.
Keynes said, I want to find an abandoned coal mine. He said, I can solve all of the unemployment in America. I just go to an abandoned coal mine and drill a whole series of holes into the ground in that abandoned coal mine, and I would put American dollars, cash money, down the holes, fill the holes up with cash, and fill the coal mine up with garbage, garbage, fill the coal mine up with garbage, and then just turn America's entrepreneurs loose. They would go to work digging up that money through
that garbage. That would give them jobs, that would keep them busy, and they would have cash to spend, and they would go out and spend it. That was Keynes.
It may have been tongue-in-cheek, in all fairness. I hope it was tongue-in-cheek, but it accurately reflects Keynes' economic theory, and the President of the United States told me and others a year ago last February 10 that he believed that Franklin Delano Roosevelt lost his nerve and didn't spend enough money. If he had spent enough money, he would have, according to the President, spent our way out of the Great Depression and we wouldn't have had to wait for World War II to come along to be
the largest stimulus plan ever. It's pretty close to verbatim.
So FDR lost his nerve in spending. Today's President has not lost his nerve. He has spent money way beyond any previous President. I think that the cumulative total of it all would be more debt and deficit that has been accumulated by all the Presidents put together all the way back to George Washington. Someone said that here on the floor. I'm not going back to read the source of it. I expect it's true, and I think I should have to verify it before I tell you I know it's true.
But huge debt that's been run up by this President and this Pelosi House and the Reid Senate down that hallway without regard to how we ever get back from it. And the argument was that we needed to get money spent into the economy, the stimulus plan, remember $787 billion rolled up, over $800 billion in reality. Now, they're coming back and asking for another few dozen billion dollars, whatever that might be. Two score and $10 billion perhaps is what their target money is to stimulate the economy
But the President said a year-and-a-half ago spend money, spend money, spend money, that's what will help the economy. People are hanging onto their dollars because they don't have confidence. You've got to spend money.
Some months later, the President said, No, now we're going to have to be careful, we can't overspend. We're going to have to be frugal, as if we could--one time borrowing a lot of money and giving it to people and getting them to spend it was going to stimulate the economy and solve the problem. And then, according to who, I don't know, the navel gazers in the White House, then you shift gears, and at a certain point, you spend less. But whenever you feel the urge to spend more, go ahead. ``If
it feels good do it'' seems to be what's going on with the economic strategy of the White House.
So now we have these multiple trillions of dollars, the interest of which right now consumes 10 percent of our budget. The interest on these deficits that are projected today under the proposals of the President by the year 2020, 10 years from now, will not be 10 percent; it will be 20 percent of our overall budget.
Now, can we understand what this means? When we start tapping into that--it's the pie chart we're talking about here. A 10 percent slice is our interest today; a 20 percent slice of the pie chart becomes the interest in 2020; and if interest rates go up and double, you will see an economic decline that's brought about because of higher interest rates, and you will see a bigger chunk right away. If interest rates double today, our 10 percent slice would be at least 20 percent, and that could happen
in a matter of a few weeks or months.
So this is serious business, passing this debt along to our children. We need to figure out how to recover from where we are today. All of this toothpaste can't be put back in the tube; some of it can. Many of the things that have been passed and signed into law need to be repealed right down to their roots. Much of the money that has been spent is gone, we can't get it back, but we're going to have to figure out how to service the debt; that means pay the interest and pay the principal down
and pay the principal off.
This Nation shouldn't be carrying debt, debt that meets or exceeds that which we see in countries like Greece or Spain or Ireland or Italy. The European Union threatens to collapse under the financial stress that they have because they have loaned money; it's almost like they're sitting at a poker [Page: H4628]
table playing for chips and writing each other IOUs around the table. At some point, you have to pay for the drinks and the food that's coming along. Those
chickens are coming home to roost in Europe.
We don't need to be there in America. We're a different kind of people. We have a unique vitality in our character, in our soul. One of the things that is part of that vitality is that we've skimmed the cream off of the crop of every donor civilization in the world. Everybody that sent their immigrants to the United States, they didn't go out and get the people that were sitting out there on the porch that didn't go to work; these were the industrious ones. These were the entrepreneurs, the creative
ones, the ones that had a dream, that were frustrated because they had the shackles of a dictator that kept them from using freedom to grow their own lifetime success.
Can you imagine if you couldn't worship freely, if you couldn't go out and get a job, if you couldn't start a business, if you couldn't even put money in a bank and trust that you could go get it when you needed it? If you couldn't trust the rule of law? If you had to think that there was a different form of justice for one person because they were connected better with government than another person, wouldn't you look at America? Even though they advertise the streets are paved with gold, some
of them didn't realize that that was figurative, not literal; some of them came here and were a little disappointed to find out our streets aren't paved with gold. But in a way they are, Madam Speaker, they're paved with gold because we have the rule of law. You can pretty much count on the law treating you the same regardless of who you are, what
you look like, or what your particular net worth might be or who you're connected to. Lady Justice is blind. If you remember her standing there with her hands out holding the scales of justice, weighing the justice with a blindfold on. In this country, Lady Justice is blind, the rule of law has to apply, and we must defend and uphold the rule of law.
You've got to give everybody an opportunity to compete in the marketplace for a job or start a business, and we need to hold them accountable to produce and earn and carry their own weight. We've drifted over into a society now where--when my grandmother came here over a century ago by now, she arrived in a meritocracy, where they rewarded smart, hard work, and people could succeed without penalty. In fact, when she walked across the floor of the great hall at Ellis Island, she would have been
one of those arriving immigrants where they took a little hook and peeled her eyelids back to look and see if those little white spots were in there to indicate an eye disease. They looked people over and checked them to see if they were good physical specimens. If they had a limp or a bad arm, or even if they came in and they were obviously pregnant, they put them back on the ship and sent them back to Europe.
And this isn't Steve King that is telling you these narratives, except that these came directly from the park officer at Ellis Island the day that she did the tour for us. About 2 percent of those that arrived at Ellis Island got back on the ship, and they were sent back to their home country because they didn't meet our standards. Even when they met our standards, there wasn't a welfare program for them; they either needed to have some family or some friends to take them in and get them started,
or it was simply that you have to survive on your own. Go out and get a job, go to work, start a business. Offer yourself to do anything, wait tables, sweep the floors, clean out the sewers, grab a hammer, or whatever it might be, and go to work and help build America. And they did.
But we got the dreamers. We got the passionate ones. We got the smart ones that could understand what America was and is and is to become yet beyond this point where we are today. And that vitality and that vigor that beat in the hearts of the willing immigrants that came here legally is a great big reason for American exceptionalism. It's almost unwritten, it's almost unspoken about, but it is a characteristic that is an essential component in American exceptionalism, coupled with free enterprise,
capitalism, and the rule of law and religious freedom, and a moral society that is built on Judeo-Christian values--yes, that's our history and our culture and our heritage. It's our modern reality, too, perhaps to a smaller degree, but the core of the character of who we are is based on our religious faith.
And so we have a rule of law and a people that respect God's laws, so you don't need as many law enforcement officers. We can use our labor to produce more that has value because we pay fewer people to put on a badge and a gun and go try to control folks that are not willing to abide by the law. It's another one of the reasons why America has risen up and another one of the reasons why we've been more successful.
And so the vigor that we are in America is being challenged today. Two hundred years ago, you had free enterprise capitalism; you had these freedoms. And by the way, it was the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. We had the transfer of the Age of Enlightenment that arrived here in the new world at the dawn of the
Industrial Revolution. And remember that from the Greeks, we got the Age of Reason, which flowed from Europe. It had to go over to Ireland where the Irish could save civilization by being the scribes that actually copied and preserved the classics that came from Greek and Roman literature. We know something about the Greeks and the Romans because the Irish monks and scribes made sure that they gathered all of that data and reproduced it, copied it over, and stored and saved it during the Dark
Ages, when nothing happened.
Madam Speaker, I sometimes tease my family on the Irish side of the family--which actually seems to be my wife and my side--I ask, what is it that the Irish are so proud about? What is good about being Irish? Why is it that on St. Patrick's Day, everybody's Irish? They didn't have very many good answers for me, and so I would tease them a little bit and say, well, I know what they did. I know what the Irish did that was unique that no one else did. A people that, according to Freud, couldn't
be psychoanalyzed, but the Irish did something nobody else did. They're the only ones on the globe to record history during the Dark Ages when nothing happened. Now that diminishes their contribution.
Their contribution is great because we received, through their contribution of being the monks and the scribes and collecting that data and reproducing it and storing it and saving it from the barbarians who burned the books and burned the writings when they could, they saved the knowledge base that came out of Greek and Roman civilization. That knowledge base is rooted back--out of the Greeks is the Age of Reason, the foundations for our science and our technology today, the theorem, the hypothesis,
the axiom, the list of those Greek foundational thoughts where Socrates and Plato and Aristotle and others sat around in the square in Athens in their togas and analyzed and used the version of knowledge that they had to test each other's ability to be logical and to be able to reason. That foundation of reasoning was preserved by the Irish.
And as they deployed back across Europe with that message, they actually taught Western Civilization how to think again, how to think beyond our emotions and our reactions, and how to take empirical data and crunch that data and turn it into something that could follow a logical thought and we could act and react according to actual facts rather than the high blood of emotion. It seemed like an odd thing for the Irish to contribute, to overcome your emotions and use reason, but they did.
And from the Romans--and thanks again to the Irish scribes--we had the Roman rule of law. Roman law had spread over most of Western Europe. It spread through Great Britain, through England, and it spread into Ireland. Even though the Irish had been conquered a number of times, they never really changed their character very much, but they helped preserve Roman law, which was reestablished in England as old English common law. So the common law that we use today to evaluate--and the case law that's
being decided by our courts across this land is rooted back in old English common law, which is rooted back in Roman law. And the Age of Reason from Greece arrived, coming the same way, [Page: H4629]
but arrived here in the new world with the English-speaking side of the Age of Enlightenment.
I also have to couple with that, in these foundations for American greatness, Madam Speaker, two more very profound things that took place: The birth of Christ, where his teachings transformed the civilized world as we knew it then. And we know that faith and those core values are in our culture and our civilization today. And the Catholic Church might not have been--the Roman and Eastern Orthodox, but the Roman Catholic Church that is today might not be and likely would not be what it is today
if it had not been for the Protestant Reformation, from Martin Luther, who taught us the Protestant work ethic. And the Catholics competed very well with that in this country.
So I couple the Age of Reason with the Roman law, and pass that over to Ireland and spread it back across all of Western Europe. And we have the Age of Enlightenment, which began in France, but the sister to it was the English-speaking side of it in England where free enterprise capitalism emerged and came to this country at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, arriving in a country that had low or no taxation, no regulation, unlimited natural resources as far as they could comprehend them
at the time, a continent to settle from sea to shining sea, and a vision of manifest destiny for this country.
And look what's been accomplished in this giant petri dish of freedom and liberty with the components in that giant petri dish that I've talked about. We have become the unchallenged greatest Nation in the world with a vigor and a vitality and a character all our own.
There is something unique about being an American, we need to understand that; it's not something to apologize for. We have an extra blessing here, and that comes about because of the things that I've talked about and others that I haven't mentioned yet tonight. We have an extra blessing, an extra vigor.
There is something about us. Maybe there is a little bit of an American attitude. You know, I don't know. It may be Muhammad Ali who said, If you can do it, it ain't bragging. We should be ebullient of our character and of the things that we do. We should also have confidence.
I have a constituent who has since passed away, who was a man of high values and faith and character--World War II veteran Arrie Oliver. I got to know him well. I interviewed him on his World War II experience in a video that, I believe, we have now stored over at the archives in the Library of Congress. He served in Germany in World War II for the United States Army.
At the end of the invasion of Berlin, he was there in the American sector where he was taken captive by the Russians. The Russians put him and three others into their Russian prisoner of war camp, American soldiers. They had to eat, and they had to peel the potatoes for the Russian soldiers. Then they got to eat the dirty potato peelings while the potatoes went to the Russian soldiers. There were some stories there that told me how poorly he was treated.
I said to him, Tell me the circumstances by which you were taken captive.
He said, Well, you know, the war was over. The German soldiers were gone. We were walking down the street in Berlin, and the Russians came and picked us up and arrested us. This was he and three others.
As he told the story, he said that the Russians claimed that there were women in one of the adjacent houses and that no soldier was to go near the women. Well, that wouldn't be the history of the Russian soldier, or of the American for that matter, but that was the pretense for picking them up. He pointed out that they were all in civilian clothes.
So I asked, How did the Russians know you were American enough to pull you over and arrest you?
Now, I thought he might say it was because of our clothes. I thought he was going to say it was because of the uniform, actually, but his answer was really interesting.
It was, Well, they knew us by our walk.
They know American soldiers, even from a distance, because of the way we walk, the way we carry ourselves. When you think about that, you know, if you see a shadow of a bird hopping out on the grass, you know that a robin hops differently from some other kind of a bird. If you watch them in flight, you see their gait, and you know. Yet you would think that human beings would have a similar gait. Americans have a distinct gait about the way we handle ourselves and especially during that period
of time when America had complete confidence in everything that we were doing.
So there is something unique about being an American, and we need to keep these precious gifts that we have. We've got to do our work. We've got to take our responsibility. We've got to bring this country away from the welfare state that we have become. We've got to hold people accountable with the rule of law and apply the law equally to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin or any other privilege that there might be--the O.J. version of justice, as we see it, if you juxtapose
the criminal case versus the civil.
I think most of America knows the facts of what happened; but to me, there appeared to be a different version of justice for O.J. Simpson in the criminal case than he might have gotten if he hadn't had the money, the notoriety or the fame as compared to the civil case where he pretty much lost everything that he had.
I think there was justice delivered at least once there, Madam Speaker.
So we want equal justice under the law. We want all of these foundations, these pillars of American exceptionalism, refurbished and built back up again because America is not done. We've not reached the apex of our flight. Even though we may have had the malaise II speech a couple of nights ago, that's not the American spirit. We don't apologize for who we are, nor do we back up from people who challenge us.
We look down at the Gulf of Mexico, and we see an environmental disaster, a mess down there. It is a tragedy. It is a tragedy especially for the people who live in that gulf area and any place that that oil might drift. Boy, do we all feel bad, especially for those in Louisiana and beyond, but something went wrong 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean and 18,000 feet below that which caused that well to blow out.
The spill that is coming now will be stopped one day. Going into last weekend, they were down to 13,800 feet with their relief well, and if they hit the column right, they will be able to shut off the leakage in that well. They are drilling day and night. There is no question about that. I expect they're drilling two holes simultaneously with the Discovery Enterprise, which is the drill ship that is sitting there to drill the relief wells that they're doing. They'll get it shut off.
There is a lot of oil out there on the surface, and a lot has drifted into the marshlands and onto the beaches. We will get it cleaned up. I don't know how long it will take, nor what it will look like. But I do know this, that in 1979 there was a massive spill of an oil well, a blow-out down off the Yucatan Peninsula. That well spilled about three-and-a-third million gallons of oil. Now, as of a few days ago, the calculus was about one-and-a-quarter million gallons of oil that had come out of
this hole down off the gulf. Now we're seeing numbers that are way beyond that, and no one knows who to believe, whether it's BP or the government or somebody who is looking at those numbers.
Though, I can tell you this: it has been a decade or two since people have worried about going down to the Yucatan Peninsula because of that oil leak. They've gotten it cleaned up. The impact of it has been minimized dramatically. We will get Louisiana cleaned up. We will get our coasts cleaned up. We will look back on this time.
What I'm interested in is stopping the leak and, yes, in cleaning up the mess. I want to bring every ship in here that can go out there and set up a sweep system, and I don't see any reason for the President not to suspend the Jones Act and to go around and do a mea culpa to America and bring in every ship we can to recover as much oil as possible off the surface of the [Page: H4630]
ocean rather than having to vacuum it up out of the wetlands and to clean it and
take it out of the sand on our beaches. We need to get it while it's on the surface of the water, and that means surrounding the oil slick in the plume and starting to herd that back in.
Maybe you'll remember the comedy routine that Emmett Kelly did, the circus clown, where he went out--and many of us have seen the movie--and he didn't know what his show was going to be or what he was going to do. He walked out into the spotlight under the big top at the circus, and he took a broom, and he began to sweep the edge of the spotlight in. The person running the spotlight figured out what was going on, and he cut a cardboard cutout, and put it over the light, way up on top of the big
top, and he began to shrink that light up on the inside where it was emitted, and he shrunk it as Emmett Kelly swept the circle. When it was done, they were able to coordinate where he swept the light under the rug and eliminated it.
That's what we need to do with this oil spill. We need to take that oil spill and start on the outside and start bringing that together and bring enough rigs in so we can get it done and so we can recover the oil that can be recovered from the surface. We need to take it off of the surface of the ocean. If we don't have every ship there, doing that that we can do now, we need to bring them.
If the Jones Act stands in the way, the White House, of course, is going to be protective. They're less inclined than President Bush to waive the Jones Act. I think there needs to be a powerful call for the President of the United States to waive the Jones Act.
So we have some things to do to fix up America--free enterprise, lower taxes, lower regulations, and more inspiration for people to have opportunities to go out and earn, save, invest, and succeed. People need to be held accountable for their actions. People need to be rewarded for the things that they do well and punished for the things that they do bad. That's the America we need to be in. Today, we are in a welfare state. It is a fact.
This is a report that was done by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. He studied families, families of four, that were headed by high school dropouts. This is without regard to their immigration status. So they could have been legal, illegal, natural born or naturalized; but they were high school dropouts. They would, on average, draw down $32,000 a year in public benefits--a family of four, headed by a high school dropout. They would on average pay $9,000 a year in taxes. The difference
to the dollar, I remember, is $22,449 a year as the net cost to a taxpayer for a household headed by a high school dropout, because, at their skill levels, no matter how hard they work, they can't earn enough money to sustain themselves in this society.
This is a society that we've built. We have poured millions of people into this country illegally who have suppressed the wages of the lower skilled so that the high school dropouts can't find places to punch the clock to earn enough money so that they don't have to go on some type of public assistance. There will be food stamps there. There will be a rent subsidy. There will be a heat subsidy. There will be at least 69 other Federal programs. We thought that we reformed welfare here in the mid-1990s.
It only brought things to a plateau. Then the welfare spending started to grow again.
So we are a dependency society. The President of the United States and the members of his party know full well that expanding the dependency class in America expands their political base. They are cynically growing the dependency class in America so that they have a stronger political foundation so that they can stay in power--so that the elitists can stay in power.
Well, I happen to have a good friend on the floor of the House right now who is anything but an elitist, unless there happens to be some kind of company that would be made up of smart people, well-educated judges from Texas who will stand and fight, who are naturally born with a spine, who have been refurbished by education and life's experiences and, hopefully, a little bit by the friendship of mine.
So I offer as much time as may be consumed by the gentleman of Texas, Judge Gohmert.
Mr. GOHMERT. Well, I thank my friend from Iowa so much. In fact, I had some dear friends--and I, actually, have them here present--one whom my wife and I taught in Sunday school 20 years or so ago and who is here with her mom. Anyway, she was saying she really enjoyed Steve King's Special Orders, and so I thought I might pass that on.
I also had heard my friend mention the Jones Act and how President Bush was able to suspend it. It's interesting, when you put things in perspective, how sometimes they appear different. Back at the time that Hurricane Katrina hit, some people thought he waited too long. Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005. On September 1, President Bush suspended the Jones Act so foreign ships could come in and help. They helped put people up. They helped bring things that people could use to help clean
up. So there was Katrina on August 29. On September 1, he suspended it through September 19. I know there are some who say, well, it probably takes a lot of things. Actually, it has to be signed off on by Customs and Border Protection, by the Department of Energy and by the Maritime Administration.
But guess what? Those are all White House appointments, so it's just getting the people who work for him to sign on. That's no big deal.
Apparently, the Netherlands offered within a few days of the disaster, of the big blow-out, to bring in equipment, to dredge up and set up, and to create barrier islands. Yet this administration said, No, thank you. Not only didn't he suspend the Jones Act. He said, No, thank you, and sent them on their way. No, we don't want you coming over here.
The truth is the Jones Act would be so easy to suspend. Back during these past months, it would have been so easy to suspend. All you'd have to do is to make one phone call; get your staff to have DOE, Customs and Border Protection, and Maritime sign off. Then they could bring it to you, and you could have it right there on the golf course so that when you'd finish the ninth green putting, you could just sign off on suspending the Jones Act before you'd tee off on the tenth tee. It would be that
easy to do.
In the meantime, if that had been done early on when the Netherlands and England and others volunteered, it would have meant the saving of the livelihoods of thousands upon thousands of people on the gulf coast. It would have meant the saving of wildlife all through those marshes where oil is getting up in there. It would have been a terrific and a tremendous help had they been willing to just tell the unions, Look, we know you don't want the Jones Act suspended. It won't be for long, but we're
talking about saving countless lives of wildlife in the area as well as the livelihoods of so many.
I don't know if my friend from Iowa has heard, but I read here on the floor an article regarding British Petroleum's relationship with the global warming bill. It makes sense why they would have waited so long to jump on BP, to get mad at them and to say, We've got our feet on their neck, and all this stuff, because it turns out that BP was the one Big Oil company that was signing on to all the global warming stuff.
I'm sorry. I say ``global warming,'' but we know, since apparently the planet has started cooling, they've changed the name and have said, Please call it ``climate change,'' because it doesn't do to be pushing global warming bills when it turns out the world may be cooling, as South Africa found out this week with the snow down there.
But, anyway, turns out that on April 22, Senator John Kerry, Democrat from Massachusetts, was on the phone with allies in his push for climate legislation and telling them he was rolling out the bill that very day with three oil companies, including British Petroleum. They were supporting him on his climate change, global warming bill, and they were supporting the White House. And so, of course, they were reluctant to jump on the oil company that was being such a big help to them. But
what we found is once they saw that the United States was angry and [Page: H4631]
that this was going to be nothing but trouble, well, they were willing to throw their friends under the bus and then talk about boots on their throat and wanting to kick some rear ends.
We had a hearing today in our Natural Resources Committee and we had the new Acting Director of Minerals Management Service. We had the new Acting Inspector General of the Department of the Interior, and I was asking that, since we'd had hearings a few years ago on why the price adjustment language was pulled out of the offshore leases in 1998 and 1999--this was a few years ago, the prior Inspector General--the Inspector General said, Well, we can't get to the bottom of why the price adjustment
language was pulled out, but clearly, at the time, it had cost our country hundreds of millions--and I'm informed now that that's billions and billions of dollars--that should have gone as revenue from the offshore rigs but has gone into the pockets of some of the big oil companies that
executed those lists in 1998-1999. And it turns out, the Inspector General said, But I haven't been able to question the two people with the most information--because they could probably explain this--because they're no longer with the government. And I said, Well, where are they?
They're not with the government.
Well, why can't you call them?
They're not with the government.
When you're talking about hundreds of millions and now billions of dollars, you would think they would want to know their version of what happened. Because if there's billions and billions of dollars that have gone to Big Oil that should have gone in our Federal Treasury because it should have been royalty if these people had not pulled that language out of those leases, then you would figure somebody would want to know if they got something in return for that. What made you pull that language?
Because the best we could tell from hearing a few years ago, it appeared they were given information that, Look, the language is not in here on price adjustment. Don't you want that in there? And they never talked to them. They weren't with the government anymore.
Well, it turns out one of the two had gone to work for a company--perhaps you've heard of them--called British Petroleum. Went there in 2001, when the Clinton administration left, and served in different positions; one as director of British Petroleum Shipping Limited in London, vice president for British Petroleum North America in L.A., and also one other position with BP before she came back.
So I asked the Acting Inspector General, Now that we have found out that Ms. Baca is back with the Interior Department, now you surely have asked her why that language was pulled out. What did she say?
Oh, I didn't know she was part of any of that.
And what struck me, and call me cynical, but we found the press release from Interior, June of 2009. How ironic. That's 10 years after the 1998-1999 leases during the Clinton administration had that language pulled out. Ten years later, she comes out from British Petroleum and goes to work for the Interior Department for Minerals Management. It's really interesting because, well, 10 years. That always rings a bill. Oh, yeah. Unless it's murder, the statute of limitations is normally a maximum
of 10 years, unless anything.
So that's probably good news if there was anything that went wrong back there, that was done that shouldn't have been done. Ten years.
So just answer the question. Why did you pull that language out before you went to work for British Petroleum and helped big oil companies make so much money? So that's a matter of concern, continues to be a matter of concern.
I did ask the Acting Director of MMS, since we know that the only entity within Minerals Management that is allowed to be unionized is the offshore inspectors, I asked, Now, we know you're dividing MMS up into three groups, three parts. The prior Director had indicated that she didn't know if they might all unionize or not, didn't really know. So I asked the new Acting Director. He didn't know. That may happen. Now, there's only one little part of MMS that's unionized--the offshore inspectors.
Now they may unionize all of those, and they'll have three different agencies to do it with. So that was interesting to find out today.
And when I asked if he thought it was a good idea that a father and son team were the last two inspectors to go out to Deepwater Horizon before the blowout, he said he didn't seem to see anything wrong with it being a father and son. I'm going, This is your check and balance. This is what we were told. This ensures that both inspectors are doing their job, because they know the other is watching them and will report them if they don't do their job. And he didn't have a problem with that being
father and son, didn't see that that was a problem.
I'm telling you, Mr. Speaker, when the heads of these agencies don't see a father and son as a problem being the last two inspectors to go to Deepwater Horizon and they are their own checks and balances to make sure that those inspections are properly done, we've got a problem. And it's not British Petroleum. They're one problem, and they need to be dealt with--and should be. Because we've already seen the administration now willing to throw their good friends under the bus. But we do need to
clean up this cozy relationship that the President's talked about and that he helped create in the Minerals Management Service.
I yield to my friend from Iowa.
Mr. KING of Iowa. I thank the gentleman from Texas.
I am standing here thinking that I started down this subject matter, and a statement that I needed to make was this: I'm looking forward to the interception of the hole in the relief wells that are being drilled down almost 14,000 feet, just going into last weekend when I last went back and checked, so I presume that they are approaching their goal. But it's very difficult to thread that needle and be 4 miles away and hit that. It's a very difficult thing to do. But when they do get it done,
when they cap this well off and get the relief well drilled and successfully seal this off, doing what they actually did in 1979 when they had that huge oil spill when they had the blowout in the well off the Yucatan Peninsula down in southern Mexico, when they shut that off, then I expect--and I haven't had a conversation with anybody in BP or anybody that's more knowledgeable
than me, but I expect then we will be able to go down with robotics and cut the casing off and recover the blowout preventer. If that can come, if we can bring the blowout preventer up to the surface and then test that BOP, at that point we will at least be able to have a more effective theory on what went wrong. That's what I am interested in more than anything else.
I want the well shut off. I want it cleaned up. But I want to know what went wrong. And the President has frozen and issued an order to stop all drilling offshore for 6 months. Even if we find out what went wrong and find out it was human error, mechanical error, they still seem to be determined that they're going to crush the economy in that part of the country.
The economic damage of oil drifting to shore is a heavy load economically, and environmentally it takes a long time to recover, but also the economic damage of shutting off all of those jobs that are supported by the drilling is a painful thing to watch that kind of judgment from the President of the United States.
Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge that we must have run out of time. For that cause, I will be happy to yield back.