Mr. ARCURI. Madam Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Ms. Foxx). All time yielded during consideration of the rule is for debate only. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. ARCURI. Madam Speaker, H. Res. 1721 provides for consideration of the Senate amendment to H.R. 1722, the Telework Improvements Act of 2010. The rule makes in order a motion offered by the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform or his designee that the House concur in the Senate amendment to H.R. 1722. [Page: H7554]
The rule provides 1 hour of debate on the motion equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The rule waives all points of order against consideration of the motion except those arising under clause 10 of rule XXI. The rule provides that the Senate amendment shall be considered as read. Finally, the rule allows
the Speaker to entertain motions to suspend the rules through the legislative day of November 19, 2010. The Speaker or her designee shall consult with the minority leader or his designee on the designation of any matter for consideration pursuant to this resolution.
This is the third time this year that the House has debated and considered this bill. Each of the previous two times, a majority of the Members voted for the bill.
I have often heard my colleagues on the other side of the aisle speak eloquently of how much more efficient the private sector is and about the need for government to take more cues from business. Telecommuting could not be a better example of this. There is no reason that the Federal Government should not make full use of the perpetual advances being made in mobile technologies to ensure that our government's workforce functions as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
Telework policies are even more important during times of emergency. The Office of Management and Budget, OMB, has estimated that for each day the Federal Government was shut down during the mega-snowstorms that hit the Capital Region last February, we lost $71 million worth of productivity. It is important to point out that OMB also concluded that without employees at some agencies being able to telecommute, the cost of lost productivity would have been easily beyond $100 million.
The Telework Improvements Act will provide a framework to expand the current telecommuting program so that all Federal employees can take advantage of these opportunities.
Telecommuting also helps to reduce traffic congestion. Not only does this save gas and emissions, but it decreases rush-hour traffic for all residents of the D.C. metro area, whether they work for the Federal Government or in the private sector.
In the past, some have argued that telecommuting just allows lazy government employees to sit at home and pretend to work. That's simply not the case. This bill requires agencies to establish a telecommuting policy that authorizes employees to telecommute to the maximum amount possible only to the extent that it doesn't diminish employee performance or agency operations.
The Senate amendments to H.R. 1722 also require agencies to maintain a telework database for various research and reporting requirements, including a confidential hotline and email address to report abuses, and require agencies to submit a summary of abuse reports to the Government Accountability Office, the GAO. These measures will ensure that telecommuting workers are efficient and accountable.
I urge all Members to support the rule and the Senate amendments to H.R. 1722, and I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. FOXX. I yield myself such time as I may consume, and I thank my colleague from New York for yielding me the time.
Madam Speaker, if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound?
After their thorough drubbing on Election Day, it makes sense for the Democrats to revisit this metaphysical question. Despite the abundance of evidence and warnings from pollsters, from authorities across the political spectrum and from the American people, the liberals maintain their losses were due to miscommunication and voter ignorance, all resulting from the sour economy and nothing more.
They refuse to acknowledge the reality that voters rejected the liberals' government takeover of health care and the process that accompanied its passage. They refuse to recognize that their endless bailouts of megabanks, automobile manufacturers and unions could have possibly led to the historical election results. Stubbornly clinging to their failed prescription of bigger government and ever-increasing taxes, the liberals continue to defend the stimulus and their extravagant spending as cornerstones
of their futile efforts at healing the economy.
So perhaps the question should now become: If American voters roundly reject the failed liberal agenda, will any Democrats notice? By continuing to spend hard-earned taxpayer money in an irresponsible fashion, it appears obvious that the answer is ``no.''
Republicans have been listening to the American people and warning the ruling liberal Democrats of the consequences of their Big Government overreach. However, those who think of themselves as liberal elites in Washington seem to have been the only ones in the country to have missed the writing on the wall and the message of November 2. The ruling Democrat regime ignored the clear evidence of voter discontent, and they continue their march lockstep with a liberal agenda which would embarrass
many European states.
Their minions blindly followed further expanding government with nearly every bill they passed. Then, on November 2, the voters showed their feelings by removing the gavel from the grip of San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi. The liberals' response to an election of such historic proportions: Blame voter ignorance and the marginalized minority congressional Republicans. Voters rejected unconscionable spending and deficit increases. They rejected a government takeover of health
care. They rejected the Federal ownership of any industry deemed too incompetent to fail, but they also rejected the heavy handed, autocratic rule of congressional liberals.
If we accept as truth liberal claims that unemployment is the exclusive issue of concern to all voters, one must wonder what the liberals plan to do about the stalled economy now that the voters have forced them to refocus.
The answer to reducing the unemployment rate: Pass flawed legislation that makes it easier for Federal employees to stay at home and get paid for work.
There it is, folks. The liberal Democrat elites have found the solution that has evaded them for so long. It is not to keep tax rates for small businesses from rising. It is not to look at ways to cut spending so that more capital is available to the private sector. It is not pushing for improved trade agreements that will increase exports and help restore our balance of trade. It is not to shrink the size and number of Federal regulations that are slowing job creation in the private sector.
No. Madam Speaker and ladies and gentlemen, they bring us an opportunity to reinvigorate America's strength by spending $30 million more to make it easier for Federal employees to work from home.
On September 30, 2010, the Senate passed H.R. 1722 with an amendment--adopted by unanimous consent--stripping out almost all of the provisions added to the bill by the House under a successful motion to recommit offered by Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Issa. The bipartisan House MTR provisions that were stripped out by the Senate are provisions which would:
require each agency to certify that the telework program will save money before authorizing any employees to telework; prohibit employees from engaging in any union or collective bargaining activities while teleworking; require employees of the executive office of the President to carbon copy their official email accounts on any official business communications that are made on personal email and social media accounts; make employees ineligible for telework if they have fraudulently applied for
and received low-income home energy assistance payments for which they are ineligible or have seriously delinquent tax debts.
The removal of these provisions by the Senate will raise the cost of this legislation and will provide a teleworking benefit to individuals who clearly should not be entrusted with increased latitude and autonomy. Absent these provisions, telework becomes another perk for Federal workers whose salaries and other compensation already surpass those of their private sector counterparts.
The American people have grown tired of waiting for real solutions to [Page: H7555]
their problems. Fortunately, help is on the way. In January, this House will set a new course towards protecting individual liberties and shrinking the unending expansion of the suffocating Federal bureaucracy. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this rule and ``no'' on the underlying bill.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. ARCURI. Madam Speaker, I guess, after the last election, I had naively thought that we could come back and get away from the political sniping and focus on governing, but it sounds like that is not the case, and that's unfortunate.
This was a bill that was passed in the House with strong bipartisan support. It certainly was not anything that was political but was something that was needed and necessary. Unfortunately, I think that we are going to continue to hear about politics rather than about governing.
With that, Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer).
Mr. BLUMENAUER. I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy in permitting me to speak on this bill as I appreciate his insightful comments about where we are and where we are going.
Madam Speaker, I, too, listened to what was not a debate on this bill but a continuation of the political rhetoric that the American public has enjoyed over the course of the last 3 or 4 months. Actually, I don't know that they enjoyed it, as the people I heard from back home actually got rather tired of it.
It was ironic that I heard my good friend Ms. Foxx talking about the government takeover of health care after I had just been visited by representatives of one of the largest health insurance companies in America, who was talking about their role in health care reform. They saw it as making a path towards better health care and that they'd have to do some things differently but that they were working on the implementation of it. I met with these representatives back home after the election.
I met with a wide variety of people from health care, who were talking about how we move forward in this partnership that has been focused and in terms of how we improve Medicare for our seniors.
The notion that somehow this is a takeover is lost on the people who are actually in the health care arena, and the American public will find that out. We will be able to hear their suggestions going forward.
With regard to the notion of the failed stimulus, I just left a group of eight large corporate representatives, who were talking about moving forward on some of the infrastructure and energy items that were important to them. Yesterday, a dozen energy executives who thought it was important, as well as creating and saving jobs. The disconnect between the political rhetoric and what any American can verify by talking to the health care businesses that are involved will show that it's rather hollow.
But that is why the legislation before us got bogged down, because there were extraneous provisions in it that looked good in a sound byte but actually had little to do with the legislation. For instance, the provision that would have required denial of the ability to telecommute to people who were delinquent in their taxes was actually unenforceable. There was no way that the IRS could do what they wanted to do, and so they were willing to deny the ability of the Federal Government to be able
to have the efficiencies that people back home in Oregon have with telecommunication in the private sector, rather they would continue to bog it down.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. We in Congress can telecommute. It makes me available to be able to work 7 days a week whether I'm in Washington, D.C., or I'm in Portland. Our staff does it routinely, but they would deny the ability of Federal employees.
This is, as my friend from New York pointed out, bipartisan legislation. It's always had Republicans and Democrats supporting it. It's received strong majorities. I'm sure it will pass today. But I'm hopeful that we can focus on the business at hand, not hang up important work.
I want to make sure that any Federal employee who is delinquent in their taxes pays up. I'm happy to work with my friends on the other side of the aisle to focus specific legislation in that regard, and as a member of Ways and Means, I'm happy to work with them to do that. But for heaven's sake, let's deal with important things here, perhaps not repeat all the political talking points. Let's get down to some serious business.
Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I just point out to my colleague from Oregon that telework already exists. Federal employees can do it already. What this bill does is allocate $30 million and create more bureaucracy. We're not stopping telework. We're not creating telework. We're expanding it and spending more money.
Madam Speaker, with that, I yield 3 minutes to my colleague from Colorado (Mr. Lamborn).
Mr. LAMBORN. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to the previous question and in support of this week's YouCut item, the elimination of taxpayer subsidies to National Public Radio.
National Public Radio's recent firing of longtime news analyst Juan Williams was a wake-up call for many Americans to political correctness and liberal bias at NPR. However, it's not the liberal bias that offends me so much as that American citizens are forced to subsidize it with their hard-earned tax dollars.
Long before the Juan Williams fiasco, I sponsored legislation to pull the plug on taxpayer funding for NPR. I enjoy some programs on NPR, but I have long believed that it can stand on its own.
The question is not the quality of programming on NPR. The question today is whether government programs and services that can be funded privately should be subsidized by taxpayers. As a country, we no longer have this luxury, if we ever did. With the national debt over $13 trillion, the government simply can't afford to continue funding nonessential services.
Americans voted through the popular Web site YouCut to place this proposal on the House floor for a vote today. The selection of this measure shows the American people desire to rein in unnecessary spending. My proposal would prohibit Federal dollars from going to NPR through any of the various Federal grants they now access. I myself enjoy NPR programming, but why should Americans foot the bill for this when we have to borrow about 40 cents on every Federal dollar?
NPR local radio stations directly receive congressionally appropriated funds that reached over $65 million in 2010 alone. Plus, local stations directly receive grants from other Federal sources such as the National Endowment for the Arts. NPR stations then use these taxpayer dollars on licensing fees for NPR programming, which are then funneled back to NPR headquarters here in Washington, DC. Taking this indirect funding into account, Federal funds now make up an estimated 20 percent of NPR's
Let me be clear, this measure will not prohibit local stations from receiving any other funding. It will just prohibit them from using taxpayer money to acquire NPR programming.
Unsustainable Federal spending is a serious threat to the United States economy and to the future prosperity of the American people. Americans know this. We shouldn't wait until the 112th Congress to start solving this problem. Cutting spending begins now. We must begin the hard work of eliminating these deficits and creating jobs by making tough choices on spending today.
The American people have asked Congress to put a stop to out-of-control spending. Millions of them have voted through YouCut that prohibiting Federal funding of NPR is a good place to start. I urge my colleagues to heed the will of the American people to get Federal spending under control and vote for a sensible reduction of spending by opposing the previous question.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you.
I was on my way out of the Chamber and I heard my friend from Colorado [Page: H7556]
talk about attacking out-of-control Federal spending by making sure that there's no direct or indirect ability for resources from the Federal Government to go to NPR. Madam Speaker, I find that really a sad reflection on the current state of affairs.
National public broadcasting is one of the few areas where the American public can actually get balanced information. It's not the bloviators on the right or the left. Public broadcasting, because it is not taking commercial advertising, because it has a commitment to public service and balanced information, has been the most important, unbiased source available to Americans from coast to coast.
The Federal investment in public broadcasting is relatively minor. It is 10, 15 percent, when you add everything up, but it is an important portion because it leverages vast amounts of money that otherwise would not be available.
I, like my friend from Colorado, participate. I go to the telethons. I contribute every year from my family, and I'm glad to do it. You know, but if this agenda, which is where the Republicans who took over last time were trying to go, to defund public broadcasting, is picked up even before they take control is successful, it's going to have very serious consequences. It's not going to affect Denver. It's not going to affect Portland, Oregon, or San Francisco or New York except that the quality
of some of the programs will erode, frankly, because these are tough times and sponsorship from the business community is down and individuals are having to stretch to be able to contribute. These services are more important than ever, when we've got all these screaming heads on the air giving forth information that is hardly balanced and accurate.
But what will happen? Not only the erosion of quality and some of the programs for culture and education that are not going to have a commercial base will be eroded. What is going to have the biggest impact, if they have their way, will be the areas of America that don't have the population base. Rural and small town America will pay the price.
Oregon public broadcasting is one of the finest public broadcasting systems in the United States, but the most expensive persons to serve are the people in the far reaches of our State, where we put up expensive translators to be able to get the programming out there. We have programming that is designed to reach to the furthest extent of our State, and that is subsidized. If we are going to lose the modest amount of Federal subsidization, it will not only affect the quality in Denver and Portland
and Charlotte, in Atlanta, in Ithaca, but it's going to make it harder for rural and small town America to be able to get this vital service.
You look at the costs that they bear, that will be an area that will suffer the cuts if we're not able to maintain funding. I think that's a tragedy. I think it is a tragedy to try to politicize NPR.
I'm not going to comment on the handling of the Juan Williams episode. There are others that have talked about it endlessly. The head of NPR indicated she would have handled it differently.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. When you mix NPR and FOX News and you go back and deconstruct that, they have rules of journalism that they follow, that people are supposed to follow, and Mr. Williams had trouble following those rules before.
But notwithstanding that, the point is we need to have the public in public broadcasting. The Federal minuscule dollars that are invested in that compared to the amount of money that is wasted in defense, in agriculture subsidy pales by comparison. And I think we are going to be able to work with some of the new Members of Congress to deal with things that have defied reform in the past. I am looking forward to some of what they say.
But public broadcasting is a resource, is a treasure for Americans from coast to coast. It is trusted by more Americans than any other resource in terms of the news, and it is far more than just news. It is education. It is culture. It is history. And it would be a tragedy to eat away at NPR to make it harder to serve the difficult-to-reach areas of our country.
Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, our colleague from Oregon has just given us another example of how out of touch our colleagues across the aisle are. If he thinks that public radio is balanced and unbiased and our taking away that funding will have serious consequences, he is obviously not in touch with the American people. Republicans are in touch with the American people. That's why we're making this proposal. I live in a rural area, and I understand that.
Again, you're blaming the victim. You're blaming the voters. Please, don't blame the voters. That's not what they're looking for.
I now would like to yield 1 minute to my colleague from Kansas (Ms. Jenkins).
Ms. JENKINS. Madam Speaker, folks back home in Kansas have been forced to tighten their belts and rein in family budgets to weather tough times, and we don't understand why Washington isn't willing to do the same. The Federal Government should have only a few foundational duties. Among those are protecting our citizens, maintaining a strong infrastructure, and upholding our rights as outlined in the Constitution. Notably missing from this list is the funding of political radio shows, particularly
those that operate with a litmus test.
The Federal Government is leaking money left and right, and it's time to plug some holes. Today's YouCut proposal will save the American taxpayers over $100 million and will be proof that Congress is ready to shrink the size and scope of the Federal Government.
I urge your support. Please oppose the previous question.
Mr. ARCURI. Madam Speaker, I would like to take a moment to remind my colleagues about the true purpose of this bill, which is to make sure that the Federal Government is taking the steps necessary to increase its ability to function, even in times of national emergencies, because that is what we are here in Congress to do--to make sure that the government continues to function, especially in times of national emergencies.
The bill requires Federal agencies to implement policies and practices to allow employees to telecommute. It requires them to train their employees about how to do their work remotely so that the Federal employees can continue to do their jobs, even if they can't get to work because of a natural disaster or other emergency.
There has been some discussion about the need to police telecommuting employees, so I want to talk about some of the oversight and accountability measures that this legislation contains.
This bill requires the Office of Personnel Management to provide teleworking assistance and guidance to agencies, to maintain a telework database, and to establish various research and reporting requirements.
The bill sets up a confidential hotline and email address to report abuses and requires the OPM to report to the Government Accountability Office about any abuse reports it receives.
Finally, the Senate amendment to H.R. 1722 also requires OPM to consult with the National Archives about how to manage and preserve all records from telework, including Presidential and Vice Presidential records, something that was raised by the Republicans in their motion to recommit back in July.
So, you see that there are oversight measures built into these telework policies. This bill doesn't just say to agencies, ``Send your employees home.'' No. It directs the Federal agencies to set up policies and trainings so that their employees know how to work just as efficiently outside the office as they can at their desks in times of emergency, and those employees know that there is oversight by the agency of the work that is being done.
Those protections are included in this bill, just as they are in the telework policies used by companies in the private sector. That is why this bill makes common sense, because the Federal Government should be adopting policies like this that are commonly used in the private sector to make sure that our government functions efficiently and effectively, even during emergencies that prevent employees from coming into the office.
I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
You know, before we took our recess to be at home for the elections, every bill that was brought here was about jobs. That didn't work, obviously, because our unemployment rate is still very high. Now, are we to believe that all the bills are going to be about national security? I hope that Osama bin Laden has been put on notice: This is going to improve our national security, and he'd better watch out.
Madam Speaker, the underlying bill here spends $30 million to create additional opportunities for Federal employees to work at home. The American people are suffering because of our unemployment rate. Because of the failed policies of this Congress and this administration, the American people are learning to do more with less. Why can't Federal employees learn to do that? They are soon going to have to do that.
This is a travesty, to come here with our economy in the situation that it's in and say, We're going to appropriate $30 million more in order for Federal employees to stay at home. H.R. 1722 requires each Federal agency to create a teleworking managing officer, even though some agencies may not be big enough to warrant such a position.
So, again, the Democrats' answer to the 9.6 percent unemployment rate that has persisted for almost 2 years and the $1.3 trillion deficit is to create more Federal jobs and require that some of those Federal Government workers be allowed to work from home. Give me a break. The nearly 4 million Americans--3.811 million--who have lost their jobs since President Obama took office and over 6 million who have lost their jobs since Nancy Pelosi became Speaker in January 2007 continue
to ask where are the jobs that they were promised.
The Congress is pushing this initiative to make it easier for Federal employees, who already have it much better than the rest of the country, to avoid the office. So why is this bill so popular with the ruling liberal Democrats? Perhaps it has something to do with their longstanding subservience to labor unions. According to the latest figures available on OpenSecrets.org, big labor donated $49,710,561, or 93 percent of its total campaign contributions, to Democrats and $3,444,042, or 6 percent,
to Republicans in the last election cycle. Surely money like that isn't going to be wasted pushing legislation good for private sector employees.
It's true that a majority of American union members now work for the government, as 52 percent of all union members now work for the government, representing a sharp increase from the 49 percent in 2008. A full 37.4 percent of government employees belonged to unions in 2009, up 0.6 percentage points from 2008.
These changes in union membership are certainly not surprising, as unionized companies do poorly in the marketplace and lose jobs relative to their nonunion competitors. Government employees, however, face no competition as the government never goes out of business.
The recession has left union bosses looking for new membership targets, and where better to look than in government, which they see as having the deepest of all pockets and a host of sympathetic liberal Democrat politicians eager to please their political base.
In fact, according to the Heritage Foundation, when accounting for wages and benefits, the total average annual compensation for a private-sector worker is $60,078, as compared to $111,015 for the average Federal worker, representing an astonishing 85 percent compensation differential.
A March 26, 2010, Wall Street Journal editorial entitled ``The Government Pay Boom'' reveals that: ``Nearly this entire benefits gap is accounted for by unionized public employees. Nonunion public employees are paid roughly what private workers receive.
``The union response is that government workers deserve all this because they're more educated and highly skilled. That may account for some of the pay differential, but not the blowout benefits. The unions also neglect one of the greatest perks of government employment: job security. Short of shooting up a Post Office, government workers rarely get fired or laid off.''
The Republican Study Committee released a policy brief recently indicating that the number of Federal employees making over $100,000 has increased by almost 15 percent since 2007. Currently, there are more people in the Federal Government making in excess of $100,000 than those making $40,000.
Since the recession began in 2007, public worker pay has risen 7.8 percent. While private-sector wages remain stagnant, the 2010 pay increase for Federal civilian employees was 2 percent. In 2009, the average Federal employee received a pay increase of 3.9 percent, and an average pay increase of 3.5 percent in 2008.
The average Federal salary, including benefits, is set to grow from $72,800 in 2008 to $75,419 in 2010.
In 2007, when the Democrats took over the Congress, the Department of Transportation had only one employee making over $170,000. At the end of last year it had 1,690 employees making that amount.
The Federal pay premium exists across all job categories, white collar, blue collar, management, professional, technical, and low skill.
Again, the public is asking, where are the jobs? Why aren't the Democrats who are in charge of the Congress doing something about private-sector jobs instead of focusing on creating more perks for Federal employees?
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. ARCURI. Madam Speaker, my friend from North Carolina talks about passage of this bill being a travesty. I couldn't disagree more. The travesty would be if there were a national emergency and we were ill prepared for it because of the fact that we didn't act today, because of something that we could have done that we didn't do. That would be a travesty.
Additionally, the travesty is that she talks about this in political terms, when this is about governing. The days of the politics have to end. The days of governing need to begin. That's what this bill is about. It's about working together, in a bipartisan way, to govern, to make government run more efficiently in a time when we need it most, in a time of emergency. That is the travesty, not to act on it. Not to sit here and talk about the politics of it, but rather to talk about how, together,
we can make this work so that government functions better for the people that we represent.
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. CANTOR. Madam Speaker, the issue is about spending. It is about stopping the rampant spending in Washington. And on November 2, Americans spoke decisively and sent an undeniable message to Washington to end wasteful spending.
In the new Republican majority next Congress, Madam Speaker, the YouCut program will be an integral part of our efforts to transform the culture of spending in Washington into one of savings. More than 2.4 million YouCut votes provide us with a clear mandate to rein in spending and make the tough choices to get America back on the right path.
This week's winning item, Madam Speaker, is a proposal developed by the gentleman from Colorado, Representative Doug Lamborn. This proposal would eliminate taxpayer funding for National Public Radio. When executives at NPR decided to unfairly terminate Juan Williams for expressing his opinion and to then disparage him afterwards, the bias of the organization was exposed.
To be clear, it is not the government's job to tell a news organization how to do its job. But what's equally as certain is that it should not be the taxpayer's responsibility to fund news organizations with a partisan point of view. Eliminating taxpayer funding for NPR is precisely the kind of commonsense cut that we have to begin making if we want to fundamentally alter the way business is conducted in Washington.
Over the past 2 years, Americans have become exasperated as they've watched the Federal Government grow [Page: H7558]
to an unacceptable level of spending, by spending record levels of money it simply doesn't have. In order to get America back to opportunity, responsibility, and success, Republicans and Democrats must come together and begin making tough choices. Today's YouCut vote is an opportunity for both parties to come together and to tell the people that have
sent us here--message received.
Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, the evidence is in. The liberal Democrat agenda has failed. They need to go back to the drawing board and come back to the American people with real solutions to their real problems. This isn't the time to dither and blame the Republican minority for the disappointing collapse of governance we've seen since the liberal majority seized control of Congress in 2007.
I urge my colleagues to take this opportunity to force the ruling liberal Democrats to rethink their misguided proposals by rejecting this rule and underlying bill to protest the liberal agenda that continues to distract from private-sector job creation and getting the economy back on its feet.
Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the amendment and extraneous material be placed in the record prior to the vote on the previous question.
Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I am going to urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the previous question so I can amend the rule to allow all Members of Congress the opportunity to vote to cut spending.
Republicans recently launched the YouCut initiative, which gives people an opportunity to vote for Federal spending they would like to see Congress cut. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have cast their votes, and this week they have directed their representatives in Congress to consider H.R. 5538, which is a bill that would prohibit Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the parent organization of National Public Radio, after fiscal 2012.
According to the Republican Whip's YouCut Web site, National Public Radio's recent decision to terminate commentator Juan Williams' contract because of comments he expressed on another station have brought newfound attention to NPR's receipt of taxpayer funds.
NPR receives taxpayer funding in two different ways. First, they receive direct government grants from various Federal agencies, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of Commerce, Department of Education, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Over the past 2 years, this direct funding has totaled approximately $9 million.
But NPR also receives taxpayer funds indirectly. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting makes grants to public radio stations. While some of these grants can be used for any purpose, some can be used only to acquire and produce programming. Often this programming is purchased from NPR. Indeed, programming fees and dues paid by local public radio stations to NPR accounts for approximately 40 percent of NPR's budget, or about $65 million last year. A portion of these funds were originally Federal
tax dollars provided to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to the local public radio stations.
NPR receives a significant amount of funding from private individuals and organizations through donations and sponsorship. For example, in 2008, NPR listed over 32 separate private donors and sponsors who provided financial support in excess of half a million dollars that year.
NPR officials have indicated that taxpayer funding makes up only a small portion of their overall budget. Therefore, eliminating taxpayer support should not materially affect NPR's ability to operate while at the same time saving taxpayers millions of dollars annually.
In order to provide for consideration of this commonsense legislation, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the previous question.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. ARCURI. Madam Speaker, as I said in my opening, this is the third time this year that the House has debated and considered this bill. Each of the previous two times, a majority of members voted for the bill.
When the bill passed the House in July, the Republican motion to recommit was adopted on a bipartisan vote of 303-119. I know that some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are greatly upset that a number of the provisions that were adopted as part of the motion to recommit were removed by the Senate. I understand your frustration. The number of worthy measures that this body has sent to the Senate during this Congress is staggering. However, we must not let that frustration prevent
us from sending this bill to the President, because the version of the bill in front of us today will ensure that our government continues to function efficiently and effectively--even during times of national emergency.
For this reason, I urge all members to vote ``yes,'' to avoid the politics, and get back to the governing that this Congress promised to do, vote ``yes'' on the previous question, vote ``yes'' on the rule, and vote ``yes'' on the Senate amendment to H.R. 1722.