1:24 PM EST

David Dreier, R-CA 26th

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to my good friend from Worcester, Mr. McGovern, pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of this resolution, all time will be yielded for debate purposes only.

GENERAL LEAVE

1:25 PM EST

David Dreier, R-CA 26th

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

House Resolution 491 is a closed rule, which, as we all know, is customary under both Democrats and Republicans for a measure that has emerged from the Ways and Means Committee. But we have chosen in this rule to expand the debate time so that both Democrats and Republicans will have an opportunity to be heard. So we have expanded the debate from 60 to 90 minutes, a 50 percent increase in the amount of time, because of the gravity of this measure, because there are Members who want to be heard.

We will have this hour debate on the rule itself, which clearly will get at the substance of the legislation, and then we will have an additional hour and a half, so a total of 2 1/2 hours.

Mr. Speaker, we all know what our job is here. Right now our job is jobs. Our job is jobs. We have a responsibility to put into place policies which will encourage job creation and economic growth, and that's exactly what this legislation is designed to do.

Our fellow Americans across this country are hurting. Part of the area that I represent in southern California has a 14 percent unemployment rate, substantially larger than the national average. We have people in my State of California and across this Nation who have lost their jobs, who have lost their homes, who have lost their businesses.

We, today, are dealing, very sadly, with a chronic unemployment rate. It has been sustained for a longer period of time than has been the case since the Great Depression. And it seems to me that, as we look at where we're going on this, we have to recognize what it is that gave us this positive number of a reduced unemployment rate from 9 percent to 8.6 percent. It was because, very sadly, hundreds of thousands of Americans decided to give up looking for work, and that's what allowed the unemployment

rate to drop. But we know that it is not acceptable; and especially as we go into this holiday season, Mr. Speaker, to have so many Americans who are suffering is not acceptable.

And that's why we are here today, to take steps to ensure that we, first and foremost, put into place job opportunities and, second, address the needs of middle-income working Americans and those who are struggling to make ends meet and don't have jobs. And that's why we have chosen to not only extend unemployment benefits--and we're doing so, I'm happy to say, with very important reforms, very important reforms that deal with things ranging [Page: H8749]

from drug

testing to encouraging people to qualify for their GEDs. It doesn't mandate it. It gives States an opportunity to in fact waive it if they choose, but it encourages people to move in the direction of seeking opportunities. Our goal, as we extend unemployment benefits, is to encourage reemployment of our fellow Americans who are having a difficult time trying to make ends meet.

This measure also, as we know, Mr. Speaker, puts into place a policy that will allow for the extension of the so-called holiday for the payroll tax. Now, I will admit that I am a supply-side, growth-oriented guy. I came here over three decades ago with Ronald Reagan, believing very strongly that we need to put into place pro-growth economic policies. The extension of the payroll tax holiday, based on analyses from economists from both the left and the right, is that it's not necessarily a pro-growth

measure. But, Mr. Speaker, as we look at where we're headed today, during difficult times, it's important for us to realize that anyone who opposes what we are doing here today is standing in the way and preventing us from moving ahead with providing that payroll tax holiday for our fellow Americans.

[Time: 13:30]

I know that there are a lot of people who will say--and as I look at my friend from Worcester, I recall last night in the Rules Committee when he said we've been doing everything under the sun here except for focusing on job creation and economic growth.

Well, Mr. Speaker, as I think everyone knows, Democrats and Republicans alike, our fellow Americans know, there are 27 pieces of legislation that have passed the House of Representatives, which happens to be for the Republican majority. And at this moment, all 27 of those measures sit in the United States Senate, and they have not passed. And the Senate, of course, has a Democratic majority.

Bipartisanship is what we want. That's what the American people want, and I'm happy to say that this measure is a bipartisan bill. One of the things that makes it a bipartisan measure, beyond extending unemployment benefits, beyond extending the payroll tax holiday, is this thrust towards creating jobs by proceeding with the Keystone XL pipeline.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we know that there has been some controversy around this earlier, but while we look at the imperative of expanding the payroll tax holiday and ensuring that the American people, who are struggling, have the benefits that they desperately need, we need to get at the root cause of the problem. And the root cause of the problem is that we have not put into place policies, we've not been able to pass out of both houses of Congress and get to the President's desk policies that can

immediately jump-start and get our economy growing.

I'm looking at my friend from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews) over here. He and I have talked on numerous occasions over the past several years about our shared goal of putting into place tax reform, reducing the top rate on job creators from 35 to 25 percent, while closing loopholes.

I know my friend from Worcester regularly talks about subsidies and loopholes that exist for the oil industry and a wide range of other areas. We want to do this in the context of overall tax reform, and I hope very much that we can get to the point where, in a bipartisan way, we can do that. That's a policy that both President Obama and former President Clinton have talked about, this dealing, as Mr. Andrews and I have discussed in the past, with this tax issue. These are the kinds

of policies that can enjoy bipartisan support, Democrats and Republicans working together to ensure that we can get this economy growing.

And I will say that this Keystone XL pipeline is one of those items, as we all know, that enjoys bipartisan support. It would immediately create jobs based on the projection of that construction. And while we look at our quest, I don't think we're going to gain total energy self-sufficiency in this global economy, but we would have greater energy self-sufficiency working very closely with one of our closest allies, our ally to the north, Canada, in ensuring that we can proceed with this. We know

that the question mark over whether or not we're going to proceed with the pipeline has raised an understandable quest of the Canadians to deal with the Chinese.

And so, Mr. Speaker, as we look at these challenges, this is a bipartisan measure. Let anyone stand up and start pointing the finger of blame at Republicans. But I will tell you that we have--90 percent of the items in this measure have enjoyed bipartisan support. Many of these are proposals that President Obama has made within his jobs package. So that's why we've got an opportunity to do this. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that we can do it.

Unfortunately, we can't simply legislate full employment in the United States. Legislating full employment is not an option. I know that some of my friends on the other side of the aisle might like to figure that we could legislate full employment. If we could do that, we wouldn't be faced with the difficulty that we have today.

What we can do is we can encourage America's innovators and entrepreneurs with pro-growth policies, and that's what we have repeatedly sent to the Senate. I hope that our colleagues in the other body will report those out.

And so, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to encourage my colleagues to support this very, very important, bipartisan legislation, get it to the other body so that our Senate colleagues can consider this, and get it to the President's desk so that the American people, who want to have a degree of confidence that they're not going to see a tax increase take place, and that they're going to, in fact, if they're struggling and don't have a job opportunity, have their benefits continue, and to ensure that we

get at the root cause of the problem by putting into place opportunities for private sector jobs to be created. I urge an ``aye'' vote.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY

1:35 PM EST

Jim McGovern, D-MA 3rd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this closed rule and to the underlying bill. This bill and this process is so lousy, I barely know where to begin today.

Let's start with the process. The bill, the way this bill was conceived, drafted and brought up may be the worst yet under this Republican-controlled Congress. Simply, this process is shameful. It's an embarrassment. This 369-page monstrosity was presented on Friday afternoon.

The gentleman says that this was reported by the Ways and Means Committee. It was presented by the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. It was not reported out of that committee. I use the word presented because it was introduced on a day when no committees met and we had no votes in the House.

It was referred to 12 committees, 12 different committees. That's more than half the committees in the House of Representatives. But not a single committee held a hearing or a markup on this bill. It never saw the light of day in any of these committees.

There are 348 Members who sit on the committees that have jurisdiction over this bill. That's 348 Members of the House who should have had an opportunity to offer amendments and question witnesses about this bill in committee hearings or markups. Not one of these Members had an opportunity.

And last night in the Rules Committee, Members came up, 12 amendments were offered. Every single one of them was rejected. [Page: H8750]

Mr. Levin, the ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee, asked for a Democratic substitute to be made in order. That was rejected too.

The gentleman from California says that it's traditional, when Ways and Means bills are presented, that they be done so under a closed rule. That's when it's a tax bill. This is a tax bill plus 1,000 other things that have nothing to do with tax issues.

And this lousy process, I will say to my colleagues, leads to bad legislating. Just look at this bill. It's long, and it's sloppy. The Republicans who rushed to put this bill together have already found an error which we're trying to correct in the rule. Who knows how many other errors there are?

Last year Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor, Whip McCarthy and other members of the Republican leadership rolled out their Pledge to America, their campaign pledge to run this House in a more open way. Yet all year long they have been chipping away at their pledge, and now we have this bill that flat out breaks their pledge.

In their pledge, the House Republicans promised to, and I quote, ``end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with 'must-pass' legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.'' That's what they said.

Yet we have three provisions--extension of the payroll tax cut, extension of unemployment insurance, and SGR, or doc fix--that are must pass by the end of this year. And do we have a clean bill that is free from unrelated provisions? Of course not. That would be logical and make too much sense.

No, Mr. Speaker, the bill we have before us is loaded up with goodies to mollify the extreme right wing that is in charge of this House. Along with the extension of the payroll tax cut and doc fix, this bill includes the following: Requires the approval of the controversial Keystone pipeline; requires millions of seniors to pay more for health care; increases taxes on working families by forcing large, end-of-the-year health care payments; slashes prevention funding that actually reduces Medicare

and Medicaid costs; undermines air quality, endangering the health of children and families by blocking mercury pollution reduction; cuts retirement programs for Federal workers; and extends the pay freeze for Federal workers.

Each of these provisions are different. They have nothing to do with one another. Why are they all bunched together in this one bill?

And these policies are bad for America. They are bad for the American people. Yet the Republican leadership continues to push these extreme and harmful policies.

And even though the unemployment insurance program needs to be extended, this bill actually erodes the support program by cutting unemployment insurance benefits for 1 million Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. And it imposes new limits on unemployment compensation by restricting benefits employees have paid for.

[Time: 13:40]

Why is it so difficult for this Republican-controlled House to help the middle class and those struggling to get into the middle class? Why do they throw roadblock after roadblock in front of middle class Americans who are trying to make their lives better? Why do they continue to make it virtually impossible for us to help average people, while at the same time they do everything in their power to protect subsidies for big oil companies and tax cuts for the Donald Trumps of the world?

Extension of the payroll tax cut, extension of the unemployment insurance program, and the doc fix should not be controversial. And these extensions should have been done a long, long time ago.

My friends on the other side of the aisle are playing a very risky game. We know this failure to extend the payroll tax cut will mean a $1,500 tax increase on middle class Americans. We know that 160 million Americans will see their taxes go up if we don't act before the end of the year. So why are Republicans bringing a bill to the floor that we know will not pass the Senate?

We know, by the way, the President will not sign it. I have a Statement of Administration Policy, which I would like to place in the Record, which basically makes it very clear that the President would veto this bill.

Executive Office of the President Office of Management, and Budget,

Washington, DC, December 13, 2011.

Statement of Administration Policy

H.R. 3630--MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT ACT OF 2011 (Rep. Camp, R-Michigan, and 5 others)

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3630. With only days left before taxes go up for 160 million hardworking Americans, H.R. 3630 plays politics at the expense of middle-class families. H.R. 3630 breaks the bipartisan agreement on spending cuts that was reached just a few months ago and would inevitably lead to pressure to cut investments in areas like education and clean energy. Furthermore, H.R. 3630 seeks to put the burden of paying for the bill on working families, while giving a free

pass to the wealthiest and to big corporations by protecting their loopholes and subsidies.

Instead of working together to find a balanced approach that will actually pass both Houses of the Congress, H.R. 3630 instead represents a choice to refight old political battles over health care and introduce ideological issues into what should be a simple debate about cutting taxes for the middle class.

This debate should not be about scoring political points. This debate should be about cutting taxes for the middle class.

If the President were presented with H.R. 3630, he would veto the bill.

So why are we wasting precious time?

The Republican leadership insists on playing chicken with the American people just to score cheap political points. This is not a time for political theater. This is the time for responsible leadership. It's time to do the right thing for the American people and drop these controversial provisions from this bill.

This is not the time to increase taxes on middle class Americans. It's time to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance and the doc fix.

Mr. Speaker, this House needs to get back to doing the people's business, and the people's business is jobs. It would be nice if my Republican friends would allow the President's jobs bill to come to the floor for a vote rather than bills that reaffirm our national motto or make it easier for unsafe people to carry concealed weapons from one State to another.

I say to my Republican friends, the American people are outraged. They're outraged at Republican indifference to the middle class. They're outraged by Republicans' callous attitude to the most vulnerable in this country. They're outraged that Republicans are playing politics with their lives.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my Republican colleagues to do the right thing, to pass a clean extension of the payroll tax cut, properly extend unemployment insurance and the doc fix. Do the right thing, and do it the right way. That's all the American people are asking for.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:38 PM EST

Jim McGovern, D-MA 3rd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this closed rule and to the underlying bill. This bill and this process is so lousy, I barely know where to begin today.

Let's start with the process. The bill, the way this bill was conceived, drafted and brought up may be the worst yet under this Republican-controlled Congress. Simply, this process is shameful. It's an embarrassment. This 369-page monstrosity was presented on Friday afternoon.

The gentleman says that this was reported by the Ways and Means Committee. It was presented by the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. It was not reported out of that committee. I use the word presented because it was introduced on a day when no committees met and we had no votes in the House.

It was referred to 12 committees, 12 different committees. That's more than half the committees in the House of Representatives. But not a single committee held a hearing or a markup on this bill. It never saw the light of day in any of these committees.

There are 348 Members who sit on the committees that have jurisdiction over this bill. That's 348 Members of the House who should have had an opportunity to offer amendments and question witnesses about this bill in committee hearings or markups. Not one of these Members had an opportunity.

And last night in the Rules Committee, Members came up, 12 amendments were offered. Every single one of them was rejected. [Page: H8750]

Mr. Levin, the ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee, asked for a Democratic substitute to be made in order. That was rejected too.

The gentleman from California says that it's traditional, when Ways and Means bills are presented, that they be done so under a closed rule. That's when it's a tax bill. This is a tax bill plus 1,000 other things that have nothing to do with tax issues.

And this lousy process, I will say to my colleagues, leads to bad legislating. Just look at this bill. It's long, and it's sloppy. The Republicans who rushed to put this bill together have already found an error which we're trying to correct in the rule. Who knows how many other errors there are?

Last year Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor, Whip McCarthy and other members of the Republican leadership rolled out their Pledge to America, their campaign pledge to run this House in a more open way. Yet all year long they have been chipping away at their pledge, and now we have this bill that flat out breaks their pledge.

In their pledge, the House Republicans promised to, and I quote, ``end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with 'must-pass' legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.'' That's what they said.

Yet we have three provisions--extension of the payroll tax cut, extension of unemployment insurance, and SGR, or doc fix--that are must pass by the end of this year. And do we have a clean bill that is free from unrelated provisions? Of course not. That would be logical and make too much sense.

No, Mr. Speaker, the bill we have before us is loaded up with goodies to mollify the extreme right wing that is in charge of this House. Along with the extension of the payroll tax cut and doc fix, this bill includes the following: Requires the approval of the controversial Keystone pipeline; requires millions of seniors to pay more for health care; increases taxes on working families by forcing large, end-of-the-year health care payments; slashes prevention funding that actually reduces Medicare

and Medicaid costs; undermines air quality, endangering the health of children and families by blocking mercury pollution reduction; cuts retirement programs for Federal workers; and extends the pay freeze for Federal workers.

Each of these provisions are different. They have nothing to do with one another. Why are they all bunched together in this one bill?

And these policies are bad for America. They are bad for the American people. Yet the Republican leadership continues to push these extreme and harmful policies.

And even though the unemployment insurance program needs to be extended, this bill actually erodes the support program by cutting unemployment insurance benefits for 1 million Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. And it imposes new limits on unemployment compensation by restricting benefits employees have paid for.

[Time: 13:40]

Why is it so difficult for this Republican-controlled House to help the middle class and those struggling to get into the middle class? Why do they throw roadblock after roadblock in front of middle class Americans who are trying to make their lives better? Why do they continue to make it virtually impossible for us to help average people, while at the same time they do everything in their power to protect subsidies for big oil companies and tax cuts for the Donald Trumps of the world?

Extension of the payroll tax cut, extension of the unemployment insurance program, and the doc fix should not be controversial. And these extensions should have been done a long, long time ago.

My friends on the other side of the aisle are playing a very risky game. We know this failure to extend the payroll tax cut will mean a $1,500 tax increase on middle class Americans. We know that 160 million Americans will see their taxes go up if we don't act before the end of the year. So why are Republicans bringing a bill to the floor that we know will not pass the Senate?

We know, by the way, the President will not sign it. I have a Statement of Administration Policy, which I would like to place in the Record, which basically makes it very clear that the President would veto this bill.

Executive Office of the President Office of Management, and Budget,

Washington, DC, December 13, 2011.

Statement of Administration Policy

H.R. 3630--MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT ACT OF 2011 (Rep. Camp, R-Michigan, and 5 others)

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3630. With only days left before taxes go up for 160 million hardworking Americans, H.R. 3630 plays politics at the expense of middle-class families. H.R. 3630 breaks the bipartisan agreement on spending cuts that was reached just a few months ago and would inevitably lead to pressure to cut investments in areas like education and clean energy. Furthermore, H.R. 3630 seeks to put the burden of paying for the bill on working families, while giving a free

pass to the wealthiest and to big corporations by protecting their loopholes and subsidies.

Instead of working together to find a balanced approach that will actually pass both Houses of the Congress, H.R. 3630 instead represents a choice to refight old political battles over health care and introduce ideological issues into what should be a simple debate about cutting taxes for the middle class.

This debate should not be about scoring political points. This debate should be about cutting taxes for the middle class.

If the President were presented with H.R. 3630, he would veto the bill.

So why are we wasting precious time?

The Republican leadership insists on playing chicken with the American people just to score cheap political points. This is not a time for political theater. This is the time for responsible leadership. It's time to do the right thing for the American people and drop these controversial provisions from this bill.

This is not the time to increase taxes on middle class Americans. It's time to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance and the doc fix.

Mr. Speaker, this House needs to get back to doing the people's business, and the people's business is jobs. It would be nice if my Republican friends would allow the President's jobs bill to come to the floor for a vote rather than bills that reaffirm our national motto or make it easier for unsafe people to carry concealed weapons from one State to another.

I say to my Republican friends, the American people are outraged. They're outraged at Republican indifference to the middle class. They're outraged by Republicans' callous attitude to the most vulnerable in this country. They're outraged that Republicans are playing politics with their lives.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my Republican colleagues to do the right thing, to pass a clean extension of the payroll tax cut, properly extend unemployment insurance and the doc fix. Do the right thing, and do it the right way. That's all the American people are asking for.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:42 PM EST

David Dreier, R-CA 26th

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds to say to my colleague that he has performed just as I had expected, pointing the finger of blame when we're trying to work in a bipartisan way to make sure that we get this done. We want the doc fix. We want to ensure that people who can't make ends meet and are looking for work have access to those benefits. We want to extend the payroll tax holiday.

We also feel it imperative that we get at the root cause of exactly what my friend just said, Mr. Speaker, and that is creating jobs. And everyone knows, Democrat and Republican alike, many leaders in organized labor focus on the fact that the Keystone XL pipeline is a job creator and can go a long way towards doing exactly what my friend and I share in common as a goal.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to yield 2 minutes to a hardworking new member of your class, Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Lawrence, South Carolina (Mr. Duncan).

1:43 PM EST

Jeff Duncan, R-SC 3rd

Mr. DUNCAN of South Carolina. There are but two points I want to bring up in support of the bill before us today.

Thomas Jefferson said this: ``A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.''

I believe that America works better when hardworking Americans keep [Page: H8751]

more of the money that they earn, keep more of their paycheck. That's why I support the payroll tax cut provision in this bill.

The second point, Mr. Speaker, is this: the administration can be for jobs, or the administration can support a radical environmentalist policy. Mr. Speaker, I believe that they are mutually exclusive and you cannot support both.

The Keystone pipeline is a segue to job creation in this Nation. You remember the jobs created in the 1970s with the Alaskan pipeline? I do. The Keystone pipeline will create both construction jobs and long-term jobs as our Nation refines the hydrocarbons into energy products here in American refineries. Failure not to do this means the possibility that this Canadian oil will be refined in and used by China.

Today, we can pursue North American energy independence by partnering with our closest ally and largest trading partner, Canada. Or we can continue the same failed policies of this administration which lead to higher prices at the pump for Americans and the continuation of sending dollars overseas for Middle Eastern oil.

This bill cuts taxes, it reduces spending, it ends the regulatory quagmire for American businesses and provides a path forward for American energy security.

I support its passage, and I ask that God will continue to bless America.

1:45 PM EST

Nancy Pelosi, D-CA 8th

Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding and appreciate his presentation on why we are here today and why the rule that is being brought to the floor is not the right one, because it does not allow for us to have options for the American people to be considered.

One of those options I want to talk about has been described by the President.

President Obama last week in Kansas made a glorious speech harking back to President Roosevelt's speech about the middle class and its importance to America's democracy, how it is the backbone of our democracy. President Obama said last week we are greater together when everyone engages in fair play, where everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share. This isn't about one percentage and another percentage. It's about all Americans working together.

President Obama put those words into legislative action with his proposal for a payroll tax cut for middle income families, as well as unemployment insurance for those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Democrats have a proposal today which we cannot take up on the floor because the Republican rule is perhaps afraid of the vote we might get because it does so much for America's working families.

I want to remind our colleagues that for a long time the Republican leadership did not support a payroll tax cut at all. Rhetoric coming from the Republicans was, We don't believe in extending the payroll tax cut; however, we do want to make permanent the tax cut for the wealthiest people in America--those making over $1 million a year.

So the President taking this to the public and the reinforcement of that message by our Democratic colleagues in the House and in the Senate has made the payroll tax cut an issue too hot for the Republicans to handle.

So they're bringing a bill to the floor today which says they're for a payroll tax cut, but has within it the seeds of its own destruction because it has poison pills, which they know are not acceptable to the President and do not do the best effort for the American people.

1:48 PM EST

Nancy Pelosi, D-CA 8th

Ms. PELOSI. I'm not going to yield to you because you make your points all day. I'm making mine now.

And one of the points I would like to make is about the Democratic substitute which the chairman of the committee said we could not bring to the floor. But it's important for the American people to know that it mirrors what the President has proposed.

The bill would cut taxes by $1,500 for the typical American family. It would secure a critical lifeline for those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It would ensure that seniors still get to see the doctor of their choice with a permanent doc fix that is contained in the bill. Our proposal would protect and extend the tax cut for 160 million Americans while asking 300,000 people, those making over a million dollars a year, to pay their fair share.

[Time: 13:50]

The Republicans not only said no to the bill; they said, no, your substitute cannot even be considered on the floor.

The President has said--and the Democrats in Congress agree with him--that we cannot go home unless we pass a tax cut for the middle class, that we cannot go home unless we pass the unemployment benefits for America's working families.

Across the country, families are sitting at their tables. Christmas is coming. I say it over and over that Christmas is coming. For some, the goose is getting fat, and for others, it's very slim pickings. Families are sitting around their tables, having to make difficult choices: Can we put gas in the car and still afford to put food on the table? As the holiday season comes upon us, can we buy toys for our children during the holidays and be able to pay the bills when they come due in January?

As families gather around those tables, making those decisions, Democrats have put our ideas on the table. We are willing and ready to reach across the aisle in order to complete our work and give 160 million Americans the gift of greater opportunity and security, of hope and optimism during the holiday season and the New Year. You cannot do this by saying, We're going to put something in the bill that the President says he will not sign.

It's hard to understand how you can say you're for something except you're going to put up obstacles to its passage. The macroeconomic advisers have said that the proposal the President has put forward will make a difference of 600,000 jobs to our economy. If we fail to do this, we are, again, risking those jobs and we're missing the opportunity. As the previous speaker said, let's put the money in the pockets of America's workers.

Welcome to the payroll tax cut, I say to our Republican colleagues--what you have long resisted but what the President has demonstrated there is public support for.

Let's reject this rule so that we can have a fair debate on the President's proposal, which is fair to America's workers and stronger in terms of the macroeconomic impact it will have to inject demand into the economy, which will create more jobs and make the holiday season a brighter one for many more Americans.

Let us put the Republican proposal on the table and the President's proposal on the table, which has the full support of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, as opposed to the Republican proposal they put forth in the Senate, which didn't even win the support of a majority of the Republicans. Let's come together; let's find our common ground; let's get the job done; but let's understand that we cannot leave Congress--that we cannot go home--until we meet the needs of the American

people.

I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the previous question and to fully support the best possible payroll tax cut for the middle class, unemployment benefits for our workers, as well as for our seniors to have the ability to have the doctors of their choice.

I thank the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin) for his leadership on this important legislation.

1:53 PM EST

David Dreier, R-CA 26th

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.

I'd be happy to yield to my dear California colleague, Ms. Pelosi, if she would want to respond to anything I'm about to say here as I was looking forward to getting to debate.

First of all, my colleague from California began by saying that there was no opportunity for Democrats to have a proposal that is considered. Members of the minority, the Democrats, are entitled to a motion to recommit. That is provided in this measure, although we often were denied that when we were in the minority. [Page: H8752]

Second, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern) did, in fact, propose that we have a substitute made in order; but, Mr. Speaker, since last Friday, when this bill was made available, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin), the ranking member of the committee, never came forward with a substitute for us in the Rules Committee. We only received one just a few minutes ago.

Then to the important point about the so-called ``poison pills'' that my California colleague mentioned, the distinguished minority leader: The idea of saying that we want to encourage those who are unemployed to move towards GED qualification does not seem to me to be a poison pill.

Mr. Speaker, the idea of saying that we should have drug testing--and that's, again, optional drug testing--so that people who are receiving these unemployment benefits are not using those resources to purchase drugs is obviously not a poison pill. Then the idea of having millionaires benefit from the program, which we eliminate in this proposal, should not be a poison pill.

So, Mr. Speaker, with that, I am very happy to yield 2 1/2 minutes to another hardworking member of the freshman class, the gentleman from Bryan, Texas (Mr. Flores).

1:55 PM EST

Bill Flores, R-TX 17th

Mr. FLORES. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about options for American middle class jobs and American energy security. In this regard, I want to talk about two real-world examples that highlight the differences between President Obama's plan and the GOP plan for America's job creators.

Option A is Obama's plan. Option B is the GOP plan. Here are the examples: Under option A, Solyndra. Under option B, the Keystone XL pipeline.

How many part-time jobs were created under option A? One thousand. They have come and gone. Under the Keystone XL pipeline, there were over 20,000.

How many full-time jobs from Solyndra? None. They're gone. How many full-time jobs from option B, the Keystone XL pipeline? Thousands.

What did option A do for America's improved energy security? Nothing. How about for option B? Yes, we get improved American energy security.

In reducing the demand for Middle Eastern oil, Solyndra provided none. The Keystone XL pipeline will offset Middle Eastern demand by 700,000 barrels per day.

The cost to American taxpayers for Solyndra? Over $1.5 billion wasted. For the Keystone XL pipeline? Nothing. Nada.

What was the taxpayer return on Solyndra? There was none. What is the taxpayer return on the Keystone XL pipeline? It's infinite.

Who benefited from Solyndra? The President's political contributors. Who benefits from the Keystone XL pipeline? The American middle class.

How do you get more information? Go to jobs.GOP.gov for more information about the GOP plan for America's job creators.

Mr. Speaker, we can't wait for more middle class, Main Street jobs, so I urge my colleagues to vote for both the rule and the underlying bill. H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011, is just the answer that we need at this critical time.

I also wish all Americans a very Merry Christmas.

1:57 PM EST

Jim McGovern, D-MA 3rd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from New York, the ranking member of the Rules Committee, Ms. Slaughter.

1:58 PM EST

Louise Slaughter, D-NY 28th

Ms. SLAUGHTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.

Mr. Speaker, there are no Democrats on this bill. I don't know what all this bipartisan talk is about. The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin) didn't even see it. None of us knew.

1:58 PM EST

Louise Slaughter, D-NY 28th

Ms. SLAUGHTER. No. If you don't mind, I'd like to get through my speech. We've heard this all day.

I understand that there is great hope for a number of Democrat votes--and I don't know how that will turn out--but, frankly, I don't think that this bill will ever see the light of day anyway. There is not much support for it in the Senate, and the President said he won't sign it. So what I am hopeful for is that, when we really get down to business here, we can have a bipartisan bill. It is possible to do that. Just invite the Democrats to take part in it.

Let me make it clear that you cannot call anything ``bipartisan'' when there is not a single Democrat on it. Also, a motion to recommit is nowhere near a substitute bill, which we were not allowed to do.

Instead of extending tax cuts to the middle class and giving assistance to the unemployed, this majority is holding the middle class hostage in order to extract concessions for their friends in Big Oil. Furthermore, instead of asking those with the most to help those with the least, which is what we are supposed to do, today's bill asks millions of seniors to pay more for health care. In exchange, the majority will graciously continue the Federal unemployment insurance programs, although they

are grievously cut; and 10 States will get waivers not to have to pay unemployment insurance at all. So that's a sort of Russian roulette idea.

They cut the maximum number of weeks as Christmas approaches, which is the time of goodwill toward men, women, and children who are out of work through no fault of their own. In a country where there are four persons applying for each and every available job, that gives us some idea of how dire it is to face this Christmas and the rest of this year without jobs.

[Time: 14:00]

Why can't the Grand Old Party help the middle class without demanding a quid pro quo?

2:00 PM EST

Louise Slaughter, D-NY 28th

Ms. SLAUGHTER. Why can't they serve the middle class without playing Secret Santa for special interests like the Keystone XL?

In addition to the misguided brinksmanship of the majority, today's bill flies in the face of regular order and makes a mockery of the majority's CutGo rules for all bills. We've seen in the Rules Committee the fact that it has been waived many times today. It is waived yet again. And it says to the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office that they count the savings in this bill but not the cost. If only middle class families could use that kind of accounting.

This is hardly the deliberate and thoughtful legislative process that the majority promised us when they assumed office almost 12 months ago. So because of the rushed process and the legislative acrobatics used to mask the true cost of the bill, I strongly oppose today's rule and the underlying legislation and urge my colleagues to vote ``no.''

2:01 PM EST

Robert Andrews, D-NJ 1st

Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding.

Ninety-eight days ago, the President of the United States came to this Chamber and proposed to create jobs by cutting taxes for middle class families by about $1,500 per year. For 98 days, the majority refused to take up legislation that would enact that jobs plan. So finally today we have their version of it, which unfortunately does not cut taxes for middle class people the way we proposed but at least avoids a tax increase on those families which is looming on January 1.

But I can't support this bill because of how it pays for that middle class tax relief. First let me say this: I agree as a general rule when we cut taxes here on anyone, we ought to pay for it, not increase the deficit. But the majority has never subscribed to that principle until today.

So when the wealthiest people in America got an enormous tax reduction in their tax rates in 2001 and again in 2003, there was no requirement that we offset that in order to pay for it. But now that middle class families are getting some relief, all of a sudden, there has to be.

Let's talk about what that offset is. One major portion of it essentially reduces unemployment benefits for Americans down the line. And as I understand this, there are some reforms that really ought to take place. When I hear about GEDs and drug testing, I think that is fairly sensible. But it [Page: H8753]

isn't sensible to say to someone, If you've been looking for work day after day and week after week and trying your best to find your next job, it's your fault

if you didn't find it. But that is essentially what this bill says. If you are unemployed, look in the mirror. It's your fault.

I don't think the authors of this bill know many unemployed people. I know they don't know that for every four unemployed people in America today, there is one job. For every one job that's listed as being open, there are four unemployed people for that job. I don't think they understand that even though there is a law against age discrimination in this country, age discrimination in this country is an everyday painful fact of life for a lot of people over about 40 years old in this country.

So I would say to all those who are about to vote to extend middle class tax relief by blaming the unemployed for their own plight that they ought to walk for just a day or a week or a month in the shoes of a 50-year-old man or woman who has been out of work for a year and a half, who has circled every want ad, gone to every Web site, taken every job interview he or she could get, and still cannot find a job. We should vote against this bill.

2:05 PM EST

Jim McGovern, D-MA 3rd

Mr. McGOVERN. At this time I would like to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan, the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee who was denied his right to have a substitute when he was at the Rules Committee, Mr. Levin.

(Mr. LEVIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

2:08 PM EST

David Dreier, R-CA 26th

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I am happy to yield 3 minutes to my distinguished colleague from the Committee on Financial Services, the gentleman from Fullerton, California (Mr. Royce).

2:08 PM EST

Ed Royce, R-CA 40th

Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this rule. This is a question, as it relates to this Keystone pipeline project, of whether we're serious about an economic recovery in this country. And frankly, it's a question about whether or not we're serious about our national security.

Now, we have a shovel-ready project here, the Keystone pipeline, that will create tens of thousands of jobs. By the Chamber's estimate and by the estimate of the unions involved in supporting this, it's actually hundreds of thousands in terms of the consequences of developing this resource and bringing it down from Alberta, Canada. These are good jobs, good jobs for men and women in this country that are involved in manufacturing pipe and earth movers.

And frankly, when you think about it, why, why do we keep delaying this at a time when unemployment is as high as it is? Because I can tell you, the Canadians aren't waiting. The Chinese are not waiting. Make no mistake about it, the Canadians will develop and export the oil they're developing in western Canada. The Prime Minister met with Hu Jintao of China, and the deal that they're talking about striking is one that accrues to the benefit of China at the expense of the United States. If this

energy does not transit the United States and go to refineries here, it will go to China, and it will fuel their manufacturing sector.

[Time: 14:10]

That is what we are concerned about. We are concerned about throwing away this opportunity. I don't know about you, but it sure bothers me to see China playing in our hemisphere and the administration does not seem to care.

Americans have been told about the importance of energy independence. We have been on the hook, my friends, to Middle East producers for decades now; and we're sending billions every year to that cartel. And these countries in that cartel are unstable. They all collude to control prices, and we have a chance instead to get this oil from our allies, and we're being told by this administration and by the other side of the aisle that despite the jobs that this would create, that this is going to

be stopped.

Well, today we have a chance to develop an energy resource in the Americas, working with our Canadian allies, creating good jobs, creating access to cheaper energy here. Energy in China is 20 percent higher than energy here in the United States. Why would we want to inverse that? Why don't we want the cheaper source of energy here? Yet the administration stalls and gives the advantage to China.

I just want to tell you, colleagues, support this rule, support the underlying legislation. Take a stand for jobs. Take a stand for American security and consider the fact that China has already advantaged itself in Africa and Latin America and elsewhere at our expense.

2:11 PM EST

Eliot Engel, D-NY 17th

Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.

I rise today in strong opposition to this act and in opposition to the rule. It's a shame that the majority is playing legislative chicken with middle class tax cuts on a bill that will never be signed into law.

I'm open-minded on the Keystone pipeline, but it has no place in this bill. It's mixing apples with oranges. It's a poison pill. It's designed to kill it. The President has already said that he won't sign a bill like this. So what do my Republican colleagues do? They give us more so they can score some political points with their base.

The American people want us to meet in the middle. The American people want us to approve things to move the country forward. We need to pass a simple extension of middle class tax relief. We need to pass a simple extension of unemployment insurance. This is what we should do. This is what the American people want us to do. Unemployment is hovering around 9 percent. People need help, and we're not helping them.

This bill also forces millions of seniors to pay more for health care while giving the 300,000 wealthiest Americans another free pass. That's not right. This is unacceptable. We cannot solve our debt problem on the backs of working families.

Mr. Speaker, I have always prided myself as a moderate and someone who wants to work across the aisle. The chairman knows that. We have spoken many, many times. I plead with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, I think the American people want us to do some good work in the closing days of this session. We need unemployment extension. We need a middle class tax cut extension. Let's not mix apples with oranges. Let's pass a clean bill and go home and say we did something good for the

country.

2:13 PM EST

David Dreier, R-CA 26th

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute, and I would be happy to engage my friend if he'd like to. Let me make a couple of comments.

First, I think that as we look at the issue of the Keystone XL pipeline, the notion of saying that somehow we're trying to appeal to our base when we [Page: H8754]

know the most outspoken and enthusiastic supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline happen to be the labor unions, organized labor in this country. We know because they want to create jobs, and they are supportive of this so that we can create jobs.

People throw around terms like ``poison pill,'' why are we using this issue. Because as we extend unemployment benefits to people who are unable to find jobs, and as we extend the payroll tax holiday, we feel that it's absolutely essential that we get at the root cause of the problem. We have protracted unemployment in this country. Very, very sadly. We know it has gone on for an extended period of time--the end of the last administration into this administration. We all know that we were promised

that if we passed the stimulus bill that the unemployment rate would not exceed 8 percent. Now it's at 8.6 percent. I'm gratified that it went from 9 percent to 8.6 percent. But why did it do that?

2:15 PM EST

Jim McGovern, D-MA 3rd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to insert in the Record a letter from William Samuel, the director of the government affairs department at the AFL-CIO, in strong opposition to H.R. 3630.

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations,

Washington, DC, December 13, 2011.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE: On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I am writing to urge you to oppose the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 (H.R. 3630), which would replace a modest surtax on income over $1 million with drastic benefit reductions for jobless workers, pay cuts for public employees, reduced premium assistance for low- and middle-income individuals buying health insurance, cutbacks in preventive health services, and higher premiums for many Medicare beneficiaries.

H.R. 3630 would cut the federal unemployment insurance (UI) program by more than half in 2012, reducing benefit eligibility by 14 weeks in every state and by 40 weeks in states with the highest unemployment rates. These benefit cuts would reduce economic activity by $22 billion and cost 140,000 jobs.

Even more troubling, H.R. 3630 would fundamentally change the nature of unemployment insurance and erode the unemployment safety net for the future. Unemployment insurance (UI) is a social insurance program, to which workers make contributions in the form of reduced wages. H.R. 3630 would change the nature of UI by allowing states to require jobless workers to ``work off'' their benefits, in effect allowing UI to be transformed into a workfare program. H.R. 3630 would further undermine social

insurance by introducing means testing, which would surely be used to restrict UI eligibility to fewer and fewer workers over time.

The authors of this legislation do not seem to understand that America faces a continuing jobs crisis, and they seem to think that jobless workers--rather than Wall Street--are to blame for high unemployment and the lack of jobs. In addition to cutting unemployment benefits, H.R. 3630 would allow drug testing of all workers before they can receive benefits; require workers without a high school degree to be enrolled in classes before they can receive benefits; and make jobless workers pay out

of their own pockets for reemployment services offered by the government.

In order to spare millionaires from having to pay one more penny in taxes, H.R. 3630 would also require federal employees to sacrifice even more than they have already. Not only would H.R. 3630 extend the current pay freeze for federal employees, but it would also raise $37 billion in revenues by increasing federal employee pension contributions and reducing their retirement income.

H.R. 3630 would also have a substantial negative impact on the health care of working families. It would impose daunting subsidy repayment requirements on families whose economic circumstances improve, which would deter 170,000 people from accepting premium assistance under the Affordable Care Act, according to the Joint Tax Committee. As a result, thousands of middle- and lower-income families would be unable to afford health insurance. In addition, H.R. 3630 would increase Medicare premiums

for at least 25 percent of all beneficiaries, requiring many in the middle class to pay substantially more, and would reduce federal support for new preventive services.

H.R. 3630 would protect the most privileged one percent of all Americans from having to pay one more penny in taxes, and it would do so by demanding still more sacrifice and pain from jobless workers, federal employees, and low- and middle-income families. The authors of H.R. 3630 obviously have more sympathy for millionaires than for the victims of the economic crisis caused by Wall Street. We urge you to vote against this cruel and selfish piece of legislation.

Sincerely,

William Samuel,

Director, Government Affairs Department.

At this time I would like to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Connolly).

2:16 PM EST

Gerry Connolly, D-VA 11th

Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, unrelated, partisan riders often have received scorn in the past. In 2008, for example, now-Speaker Boehner mentioned his strong distaste, stating: ``Attaching these riders is the sort of stunt that has made Americans extremely cynical about Washington.'' But when finally agreeing to vote on a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans, this bill is riddled with riders.

Preventative health care, for example, improves wellness and lowers costs. When provided the opportunity for free preventative services, 70 percent of Medicare recipients enrolled. But this bill cuts that care. Why? It's a rider.

What do payroll tax cuts and shipping more gasoline to China have in common? Republican Senator Lindsey Graham acknowledged this political gamesmanship saying: ``I think we should debate the Keystone pipeline, and we should debate tax policy separately.'' Sadly, it's another rider in this bill.

Finally, Republicans included a poison pill with actual poison--mercury, arsenic, and other toxins. What does gutting the Clean Air Act have to do with payroll tax cuts? Nothing. It's a rider.

I strongly support extending the payroll tax cut to help 160 million Americans; but first we need to cut the partisan riders.

2:17 PM EST

Danny Davis, D-IL 7th

Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the rule and to the underlying bill. This rule rejected all attempts to amend the bill, limits the general debate time, and contains egregious provisions which allow States to apply measures such as drug testing; you've got to have a high school diploma or be enrolled in a GED program. Well, I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that people who are addicted to drugs don't need testing. What they need is treatment. People who are sick need health care. People

who are unemployed need a job and the opportunity to work, or they need benefits until such time as they can receive it.

This bill goes in the wrong direction. I strongly oppose it.

2:19 PM EST

Lee Terry, R-NE 2nd

Mr. TERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I think coupling--putting the unemployment extension, the tax holiday, the doc fix, and a real jobs bill together--which is what the American people have been telling Congress for the entire year, that they want to see tangible job creation. There's no better job creator in the pipeline--pun intended--than Keystone XL.

[Time: 14:20]

It's a 1,700-mile, $7 billion, shovel-ready project--not the fake shovel-ready in the stimulus, but real, ready, earnestly ready to start digging right now. The only holdup for Keystone pipeline's permit is the politics of the 2012 election. The process sits in the State Department. [Page: H8755]

So what we say is in this bill, State Department, use the information that has been sitting on your desk collecting dust. You said you would make a decision by December 31. We just want you to make it 60 days after the permit's again requested, with the carve-out for the Nebraska exemption.

Why is it so important? Well, it really does displace 700,000 barrels of imported oil, almost the entire amount from Venezuela or about half from Saudi Arabia. It creates 20,000 jobs nearly instantaneously, 20,000 new jobs.

It seems to me that as we're talking about putting food on the table and Christmastime that this is meat and potatoes. The potatoes will sustain you like the unemployment insurance, but what people really want is the red meat of good, high-paying jobs, labor that they can go to. And I bet you that the AFL-CIO wants this Keystone pipeline built.

2:21 PM EST

Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts. I don't think anyone disagrees with my good friend who discussed the Keystone pipeline that it would create jobs. There's nothing that has been said that would suggest that at the appropriate time of review that that project would not go forward.

But what we're talking about today is a crisis in the American public dealing with two major issues: continuing a tax relief and tax cut for working and middle class Americans, number one; and, number two, to keep 6 million Americans from rolling into the street and falling on their own spear for lack of unemployment insurance being extended, disallowing them to pay their mortgage, disallowing them to pay their rent, and, in essence, saying to them there is no light at the end.

It is also about Republicans and their commitment to the American people. In their pledge to America, the GOP leadership indicated in September that they would end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with must-pass legislation. This is must-pass legislation. And look what they're doing besides the pipeline provision that has been supported in a bipartisan manner yet this in the wrong process; they have got broadband spectrum; they are ending jobless benefits to the extent that they are

requiring burdensome drug testing on college persons who can't find a job; they are suggesting that if you can't find a job, it's your own fault; changes to Medicare that are burdening senior citizens; and, on top of that, we've got an appropriations bill to deal with.

My friends, there is a simple way of doing this. The Payroll tax can be increased by the surtax on just the 300,000 top 1% of America for 10 years, allowing 160 million Americans to get payroll tax relief.

How do we help the 6 million persons who need unemployment insurance? We call it an emergency. It is an emergency.

How do we fix Medicare reimbursement for our doctors? We use the savings from the ending of the Iraq war. It's a simple, clean process, a simple vote to help Americans.

How can they violate their pledge, Mr. Speaker, of not putting everything under the Christmas tree on a bill that must pass on behalf of the American people? That's the challenge today.

I'm against the rule and the underlying bill.

2:24 PM EST

Carolyn Maloney, D-NY 14th

Mrs. MALONEY. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

The President has announced that we cannot leave Congress without passing an extension of the middle class tax cut and an extension of unemployment benefits.

Now, originally, the ``no new taxes'' folks in the GOP Republican Senate said that they couldn't do that, that they were going to let the middle class tax increase expire, they were going to let the taxes increase on the middle class, but they were going to refuse to raise taxes on the superrich. Now, if you were not superrich, this was bad news for 99 percent of all Americans; and they spoke out, and they said they would like this tax cut.

Now the Republicans have come back with all types of riders that the President does not support. We need a clean bill.

The payroll tax cut that the Democrats are supporting would mean that a typical middle class family would have 1,000 extra dollars to spend.

2:26 PM EST

Chaka Fattah, D-PA 2nd

Mr. FATTAH. I thank the gentleman and I thank the House.

There is a time, a place, and a season for everything. I would argue to the House that this is not the time for us to be playing around with the financial fortunes of 160 million Americans that are enjoying a tax cut today that we'd like to extend and the President would like to extend going forward over the next year.

Now we've had some 21 consecutive months of private sector job growth in this country. Now, I know that the President has almost had to lift this economy single-handedly since the GOP has decided they don't want to do anything to help move the American economy forward; but the idea that you would actually stand in the way of, at a minimum, keeping this tax cut in place, and to do it in the holiday season--as we prepare our Christmas tree at home and my wife and daughters have been decorating

it--we all need to understand that in this Christmas season that it is wrong for us to approach the holidays and to create this uncertainty.

We've got so much concern about uncertainty in the business community but no concern about uncertainty in the homes of 160 million Americans.

Now, if we want to pass any bill on any day, you have a majority, you can do it. You don't have to merge the pipeline with this tax cut. You don't have to tie the fortunes of 160 million Americans' economic fortune together with the pipeline.

We could move this today. The President is prepared to sign it. I would urge my colleagues, let's do this in the appropriate way.

2:28 PM EST

Jim McGovern, D-MA 3rd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to place in the Record an article from Politico entitled, ``GOP takes packaging path,'' talking about how my Republican friends have broken their Pledge to America.

2:31 PM EST

Jim McGovern, D-MA 3rd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I will just close again by urging my colleagues to stand with working people in this country, to stand with those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. I mean, it's so easy for the other side to stand with big oil companies and protect tax breaks for the wealthiest in this country. Let's have a little justice in our tax system, a little fairness.

I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' and defeat the previous question so we can amend this bill and make it actually address these urgent issues in a thoughtful and reasonable way, I urge a ``no'' vote on the rule, and I yield back the balance of my time. [Page: H8757]

2:31 PM EST

David Dreier, R-CA 26th

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the rule and the underlying legislation.

There is a way to ensure that President Obama will sign this legislation. There is a way to ensure that he will sign this legislation, and that way is if we have Democrats join with Republicans in an overwhelming bipartisan vote.

Now, the message that we've gotten is that they're poison pills--``hostage'' is the term that both the President and my colleague have just used in trying to move forward the important provisions of expanding the payroll tax so that working Americans can keep more of their own money, and the doc fix to ensure that doctors are reimbursed and that Medicare beneficiaries are able to have access to the health care that they need. And of course for those at this time of year who are struggling and

need their unemployment benefits expanded, there is a way to get that done. Our goal is to get at the root cause of the problem.

As I said in the opening, Mr. Speaker, right now our job is jobs. Our job is jobs. And that's exactly what we're trying to do. Tragically, tragically we are dealing with a protracted unemployment problem in this country. You know it's been going on for an extended period of time. The only reason that we saw the unemployment rate drop from 9 percent to 8.6 percent is that hundreds of thousands of Americans have given up looking for work.

Now, as we listen to people say that at this time of year we need to make sure that we create jobs, we have to make sure that there are opportunities out there. My friend from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews) was talking about the fact that there are four people looking for one job. Let's put into place the kinds of policies that will allow us to see the private sector create jobs. We cannot legislate full employment. We cannot legislate full employment, but what we can do is we can pass legislation

that will lay the groundwork for America's entrepreneurs, for America's innovators to have success by creating job opportunities.

There are 27 pieces of legislation that we have passed from this House that is in the Republican majority that are now sitting in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Those measures--increasing access to capital for small business men and women to create opportunities, making sure that we decrease the regulatory burden, which we all know has undermined job creation and economic growth in this country--these are the kinds of measures that are out there that we hope very much will be considered in

the Senate.

Now, as we look at the issue of so-called ``poison pills,'' which my California colleague, Ms. Pelosi, the distinguished minority leader, talked about--and I tried to engage in a discussion with her on the House floor. I yielded to her and she chose to walk off the floor rather than engaging in a discussion. I guess the reason is that it's sort of hard to claim that encouraging an individual to move towards GED qualification is a poison pill. Isn't it kind of hard to claim that saying

that we should allow States to engage in drug testing for people who are on unemployment is a poison pill? Making sure we reimburse for overpayments to recapture those hard-earned tax dollars, how can that be a poison pill? These are commonsense proposals to deal with the fact that we have a $15 trillion national debt.

And the American people know that Big Government is a problem. Just this morning I read the Gallup poll which shows that we are at near-record levels with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents being suspicious of Big Government. What we need to do is we need to unleash this potential that is out there, and this measure will do that.

Now, we keep hearing that politics is being played with this. Well, Mr. Speaker, we've gotten the word today that the majority leader of the United States Senate, Mr. Reid, has chosen to prevent Members from signing the conference report for the absolutely essential spending bill that is out there, the minibus spending bill, because of this issue that's before us right now. If that isn't playing politics, I don't know what is.

Right now we're faced with the threat of a government shutdown on Friday. If the Democrats don't sign that appropriations conference report--which has been negotiated in good faith again between both Democrats and Republicans with the House and the Senate--we're going to be faced with a government shutdown that Leader Reid will in fact have created by preventing Members from signing that conference report.

We need to come together and do that, sign that conference report, get that work done. This measure, this measure, once again, Mr. Speaker, will get at the core problem that we face, and that is the lack of jobs that exist.

The Keystone XL pipeline will create, as has been said, 20,000 to 25,000 jobs, if not more, immediately--immediately--and it will allow us to decrease our dependence on overseas oil. And it will allow us to work closely, as my friend Mr. Royce said, with our close ally to the north, Canada, rather than see them--understandably--engage in a stronger relationship with China.

There are so many benefits to this, so many benefits all the way across the board that I believe that, since roughly 80 to 90 percent of the provisions in here have been proposed by President Obama--many of which were discussed in his jobs bill that 98 days ago he proposed here in his address to the Joint Session of Congress. We are bringing these items up. We keep being told, bring up the jobs bill, bring up the jobs bill. This measure does just that.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my Democratic colleagues to join with Republican colleagues so that we can do what the American people want us to do, especially at this time of year. As we go into the holiday season dealing with these issues, it would be a very important message to send around the United States of America and throughout the world.

I began, as we were debating the point of order, by raising the famous quote of William Shakespeare, and I'll close with that, Mr. Speaker: ``In such business, action is eloquence.''

The material previously referred to by Mr. McGovern is as follows:

AN AMENDMENT TO H. RES. 491 OFFERED BY MR. MCGOVERN OF MASSACHUSETTS

(1) Strike ``The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill, as amended, to final passage without intervening motion except:'' and insert the following:

The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill, as amended, and on any amendment thereto, to final passage without intervening motion except:

(2) Strike ``and (2)'' and insert the following:

(2) the amendment in the nature of a substitute printed in the Congressional Record pursuant to clause 8 of rule XVIII and numbered 1, if offered by Representative Levin of Michigan or his designee, which shall be in order without intervention of any point of order, shall be considered as read, and which shall be separately debatable for 30 minutes equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent; and (3)

(The information contained herein was provided by the Republican Minority on multiple occasions throughout the 110th and 111th Congresses.)

THE VOTE ON THE PREVIOUS QUESTION: WHAT IT REALLY MEANS

This vote, the vote on whether to order the previous question on a special rule, is not merely a procedural vote. A vote against ordering the previous question is a vote against the Republican majority agenda and a vote to allow the opposition, at least for the moment, to offer an alternative plan. It is a vote about what the House should be debating.

Mr. Clarence Cannon's Precedents of the House of Representatives (VI, 308-311), describes the vote on the previous question on the rule as ``a motion to direct or control the consideration of the subject before the House being made by the Member in charge.'' To defeat the previous question is to give the opposition a chance to decide the subject before the House. Cannon cites the Speaker's ruling of January 13, 1920, to the effect that ``the refusal of the House to sustain the demand for the

previous question passes the control of the resolution to the opposition'' in order to offer an amendment. On March 15, 1909, a member of the majority party offered a rule resolution. The House defeated the previous question and a member of the opposition rose to a parliamentary inquiry,

asking who was entitled to recognition. Speaker Joseph G. Cannon (R-Illinois) said: ``The previous question having been refused, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Fitzgerald, who had asked the gentleman to yield to him for an amendment, is entitled to the first recognition.''

Because the vote today may look bad for the Republican majority they will say ``the [Page: H8758]

vote on the previous question is simply a vote on whether to proceed to an immediate vote on adopting the resolution ..... [and] has no substantive legislative or policy implications whatsoever.'' But that is not what they have always said. Listen to the Republican Leadership Manual on the Legislative Process in the United States House of Representatives, (6th edition,

page 135). Here's how the Republicans describe the previous question vote in their own manual: ``Although it is generally not possible to amend the rule because the majority Member controlling the time will not yield for the purpose of offering an amendment, the same result may be achieved by voting down the previous

question on the rule. ..... When the motion for the previous question is defeated, control of the time passes to the Member who led the opposition to ordering the previous question. That Member, because he then controls the time, may offer an amendment to the rule, or yield for the purpose of amendment.''

In Deschler's Procedure in the U.S. House of Representatives, the subchapter titled ``Amending Special Rules'' states: ``a refusal to order the previous question on such a rule [a special rule reported from the Committee on Rules] opens the resolution to amendment and further debate.'' (Chapter 21, section 21.2) Section 21.3 continues: ``Upon rejection of the motion for the previous question on a resolution reported from the Committee on Rules, control shifts to the Member leading the opposition

to the previous question, who may offer a proper amendment or motion and who controls the time for debate thereon.''

Clearly, the vote on the previous question on a rule does have substantive policy implications. It is one of the only available tools for those who oppose the Republican majority's agenda and allows those with alternative views the opportunity to offer an alternative plan.