2:00 PM EDT

Jim Jordan, R-OH 4th

Mr. JORDAN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I offer this motion to recommit with instructions.

This motion to recommit is simple and straightforward, one of these important issues that I think we can all agree on, and, frankly, an issue I would have brought as an amendment in committee if I had thought about the idea then. It says that people who are not compliant with their court-ordered child support arrangements, deadbeat dads, are not eligible for the expanded Federal benefits included in the bill.

This motion sends a clear message to the American people that we have respect for their hard-earned tax dollars they send to Washington, DC. The underlying bill, however, sends a far different message about the priorities of the majority party in Congress.

Think about it: American families are paying more than $4 a gallon for gasoline, but are we acting to bring more energy to this country? America faces unprecedented terrorist threats from abroad, but are we renewing legislation to help better secure the homeland? Are we addressing out-of-control Federal spending? Are we acting to better secure our borders? We are approaching a $10 trillion national debt, a problem that threatens our Nation's economic future, but are we cutting spending or reforming

the out-of-control earmark process?

Here is what Congress is doing, Mr. Speaker. Congress is spending its time and energy on H.R. 5781, a bill to give Federal bureaucrats, including deadbeat dads, a new handout, a vast expansion to the already generous benefits package they receive at the expense of [Page: H5609]

the American taxpayer, at the expense of every single American family. That is our priority? That is our answer to $4 gasoline, expanding benefits to Washington bureaucrats and deadbeat dads?

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, what will you tell the folks about back home? What will you tell the folks who are worried about the economy, worried about higher taxes on the horizon, worried about paying more than $4 a gallon for gasoline for the rest of the summer? Will you tell them not to worry, that their problems belong on the back burner? That the priority of their Member of Congress is to take their tax dollars and expand the benefits package of deadbeat dads in the Federal workplace? Will you

tell them that these deadbeat dads, who already receive among the richest benefit packages in the Nation, are more deserving of relief than law-abiding families and taxpayers of your district who are paying $4 a gallon for gasoline?

Mr. Speaker, like most issues, the people get it. The American people know what the priorities of Congress should be. Millions of them have signed petitions and communicated to our offices that we need to focus on their priorities. They know our priorities should not be giving deadbeat dads a new taxpayer-funded benefit. They know we should adopt this motion to recommit and move on with the important business facing our Nation.

Mr. Speaker, there is another old line that I think is appropriate. ``Most politicians don't see the light; they feel the heat.'' With $4 gasoline, possibly headed for $5 this summer, can you handle the heat you will feel back home once your constituents find out that your priority is to lend a hand to deadbeat dads, or will you see the light and join me in supporting this motion to recommit?

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

2:00 PM EDT

Jim Jordan, R-OH 4th

Mr. JORDAN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I offer this motion to recommit with instructions.

This motion to recommit is simple and straightforward, one of these important issues that I think we can all agree on, and, frankly, an issue I would have brought as an amendment in committee if I had thought about the idea then. It says that people who are not compliant with their court-ordered child support arrangements, deadbeat dads, are not eligible for the expanded Federal benefits included in the bill.

This motion sends a clear message to the American people that we have respect for their hard-earned tax dollars they send to Washington, DC. The underlying bill, however, sends a far different message about the priorities of the majority party in Congress.

Think about it: American families are paying more than $4 a gallon for gasoline, but are we acting to bring more energy to this country? America faces unprecedented terrorist threats from abroad, but are we renewing legislation to help better secure the homeland? Are we addressing out-of-control Federal spending? Are we acting to better secure our borders? We are approaching a $10 trillion national debt, a problem that threatens our Nation's economic future, but are we cutting spending or reforming

the out-of-control earmark process?

Here is what Congress is doing, Mr. Speaker. Congress is spending its time and energy on H.R. 5781, a bill to give Federal bureaucrats, including deadbeat dads, a new handout, a vast expansion to the already generous benefits package they receive at the expense of [Page: H5609]

the American taxpayer, at the expense of every single American family. That is our priority? That is our answer to $4 gasoline, expanding benefits to Washington bureaucrats and deadbeat dads?

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, what will you tell the folks about back home? What will you tell the folks who are worried about the economy, worried about higher taxes on the horizon, worried about paying more than $4 a gallon for gasoline for the rest of the summer? Will you tell them not to worry, that their problems belong on the back burner? That the priority of their Member of Congress is to take their tax dollars and expand the benefits package of deadbeat dads in the Federal workplace? Will you

tell them that these deadbeat dads, who already receive among the richest benefit packages in the Nation, are more deserving of relief than law-abiding families and taxpayers of your district who are paying $4 a gallon for gasoline?

Mr. Speaker, like most issues, the people get it. The American people know what the priorities of Congress should be. Millions of them have signed petitions and communicated to our offices that we need to focus on their priorities. They know our priorities should not be giving deadbeat dads a new taxpayer-funded benefit. They know we should adopt this motion to recommit and move on with the important business facing our Nation.

Mr. Speaker, there is another old line that I think is appropriate. ``Most politicians don't see the light; they feel the heat.'' With $4 gasoline, possibly headed for $5 this summer, can you handle the heat you will feel back home once your constituents find out that your priority is to lend a hand to deadbeat dads, or will you see the light and join me in supporting this motion to recommit?

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

2:03 PM EDT

Henry Waxman, D-CA 30th

Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, there they go again, coming up with a gimmick because they don't want the underlying bill. If they don't want the underlying bill, let them vote no. But what they have offered instead is a motion to recommit promptly, which kills the bill. So I would urge all of my colleagues who believe that parents ought to be able to bond with their children and have a paid family leave on the birth of a child or the adoption of a newborn, that they vote against this motion to recommit.

Federal law is very clear. If you are behind in your child support payments, you can get your wages garnished. That means there is an automatic reduction in your paycheck to pay for the support of your children. The fact is that no one who is behind in childcare can get paid parental leave. The reason is their wages will already be garnished. That is why this amendment is a gimmick.

No amendment like this was offered in our committee. This was never brought up in our deliberations. In fact, the gentleman was very clear in his arguments for the motion to recommit. He is against the bill. He was against the bill in committee, and he is against the bill now.

Now, I think we ought to understand that if this were a serious amendment, it would have been a ``forthwith'' motion. But it is not. It is a ``promptly'' motion to kill the bill.

There are 400,000 civilian DOD employees around the Nation. They have been working overtime to protect our Nation, often serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what this motion says to them, and to all other hard-working Federal employees, is you won't get any paid leave, and if you are sick and have used up your leave, you can't take the time to bond with your family.

It is wrong, it is anti-family, and I believe this motion to recommit should be defeated. It is like so many other motions to recommit that we have seen on this floor. When it is designed ``promptly,'' it sends the bill back to the committee, and those who didn't like it in committee will fight it some more. But if you are for this bill, vote against the motion to recommit and vote ``yes'' on final passage.

I would like to yield the balance of the time to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer), our majority leader.

2:06 PM EDT

Steny Hoyer, D-MD 5th

Mr. HOYER. I thank the chairman for yielding, and I thank him for his work on this bill. I thank Mrs. Maloney as well.

Ladies and gentlemen of the House, I would hope we would defeat this motion. Again, this is a motion to recommit promptly. If in fact the motion maker wanted to change the substance and offer an amendment that would go into effect, he would have offered a motion to amend and report back forthwith. The effect of this motion, as we all know, is to delay for some period of time the passage of this bill. My friend from Georgia will get up and ask the rhetorical question that we all know the answer

to, does it kill it? It does not kill it. But, my friends, we have 5 legislative days to go in this session before we break. We ought to pass this bill now. We ought to pass this bill and tell the Federal employees of this country, who work for all of us, all 300 million of us, some 2 million civilian Federal employees, that we honor their service.

But, more importantly, this is not just about those who will get leave. It is, as I said in my statement, much more about the children, who will have better nurturing and a sense of self-confidence in their early months of life. Scientist after scientist, educator after educator, tell us that if that occurs, if that bonding occurs in the early months, children are much better off, and if those children are better off, our communities and our society and our families are better off.

I would ask all my colleagues to oppose this motion. Pass this bill. Say to the children who are perhaps yet to be born and have just been born, we want to ensure the best start we can for you in life in America.