|12:46 PM EST||
Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd
Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Texas for yielding me the time, and I yield myself such time as I may consume. I also rise in opposition to this rule and to the underlying bill.
Mr. Speaker, it appears that this Republican-controlled House of Representatives is incapable of doing anything that matters in people's lives. When the history is written on the 113th Congress, especially as it pertains to the House of Representatives, they have accomplished nothing. They have made a lot of noise. They shut the government down. They whine about the health care bill every chance they get, but they have accomplished absolutely nothing.
And it is frustrating because our country is facing great challenges. Our economic growth is slower than it should be, thanks to the Republican shutdown of government, and their willingness to play politics with the debt ceiling has had a negative impact on our economy. Job growth is too slow, and we should be working together to invest in education and in job training and in infrastructure projects to help put people back to work. We ought to have a long-term highway bill. I think every Governor
in the country, Republican and Democrat, would agree with me on that statement. Yet this House of Representatives just seems incapable of accomplishing anything to help rebuild our infrastructure.
The sequester that my Republican friends embraced has taken a terrible toll on our science and research programs. Talk to the people at NIH. Potentially lifesaving research into diseases like cancer and Parkinson's disease have been crippled, yet there is no urgency over on the side of my friends on the other side of the aisle to try to do anything about it. They just sit there and twiddle their thumbs and life goes on; meanwhile, we are losing our competitive edge in medical research and in
The Senate has passed a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill. The Republican leadership claims that we simply don't have the time to take it up. That is nonsense. We had time to take up this horrible bill that my colleague from Iowa (Mr. King) authored that would allow for the mass deportation of young, undocumented immigrants, the so-called DREAMers who were brought here as children by their parents. They have time to demagogue these issues, but to actually fix our broken immigration
system, they claim we don't have any time.
Mr. Speaker, I will insert into the Record today's Washington Post editorial, ``John Boehner Must Act on Immigration Now.''
And just so my colleagues understand this, when my friends on the other side of the aisle say they don't have time, the Republicans will take 4 out of 5 days off for the rest of the year. That is how hard they are working on behalf of the American people. Four out of 5 days remaining from now until the end of the year they are going to take off. That is not doing your job, Mr. Speaker. That is not doing your job.
Instead of dealing with these important issues, we have this bill before us now that has come to the floor, H.R. 1900. The bill before is rather curious. Rather than solving a problem that actually exists, it is a solution in search of a problem, and it is just another partisan messaging bill that is going nowhere in the Senate. The White House has already said they would veto it.
H.R. 1900 would require FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to approve or deny an application for a natural gas pipeline within 12 months of its filing date. FERC already [Page: H7269]
decides 92 percent of permit applications within 12 months, and the GAO has concluded that its pipeline permitting process is predictable and consistent and gets pipelines built. The small percentage of applications that have taken more than a year involve complex proposals
that deserve a more thoughtful review.
Instead of speeding up the permitting process, this bill will lead to unnecessary permit denials and increased litigation that will ultimately slow the process down. If FERC cannot properly review permits within the rigid 12-month deadline, they may be forced to deny applications that would otherwise end up being approved.
For me, the most troubling part of H.R. 1900 is that it may result in truncated or inadequate environmental analysis, which threatens the health and safety of communities these potentially hazardous pipelines run through. Just last week, a Chevron pipeline exploded in Milford, Texas, forcing the entire town to evacuate. Mr. Speaker, it isn't too much to ask the oil and gas industry to go through a process to make sure that these pipelines are safe.
I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this rule and on the underlying bill, and I urge my Republican colleagues to get back to work on solving real problems on behalf of the American people.
Enough of the press releases, enough of this polarizing rhetoric and these meaningless debates that we seem to be consumed with here in the House of Representatives. People want us to work on their behalf, to do things that will improve their lives, that will strengthen our country; and instead, my friends on the other side of the aisle seem to be cheering for our country to fail all the time and bringing this kind of stuff to the floor, which is going nowhere and is meaningless.
At this point, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
[The Washington Post, Nov. 19, 2013]
John Boehner Must Act on Immigration Now
(By Editorial Board)
Poor John Boehner. The beleaguered House speaker can't even eat breakfast in peace. The other day, a pair of teenage girls, activists for immigration reform, accosted him at Pete's Diner, his early-morning hangout, to ask how he'd like to be deported.
``How would you feel if you had to tell your kids at the age of 10 that you were never coming home?'' 13-year-old Carmen Lima, of California, asked Mr. Boehner. ``That wouldn't be good,'' allowed the Speaker.
He got that right. The rest of his remarks on immigration that day, not so much. Mr. Boehner, who pledged to press ahead with immigration reform a year ago following Mitt Romney's dismal performance with Latino voters, now says the House will not negotiate with Democrats on the basis of the sweeping reform bill passed by the Senate in June with bipartisan support. Translation: Don't hold your breath for immigration reform this year, and don't get your hopes high for next year, either.
Mr. Boehner says he still wants to ``deal with'' immigration, but ``in a commonsense, step-by-step way.''
The trouble is, no one knows what those steps would be. The only immigration bill on which Mr. Boehner has permitted a vote by the full House would allow for the mass deportation of young, undocumented immigrants brought to this country illegally as children by their parents--the so-called Dreamers.
Deporting hundreds of thousands of youngsters who grew up and went to school in the United States does not seem an especially promising way to resolve the broader issue of the nation's broken immigration system. Neither does heaving billions of dollars more at border security without tackling the entire problem. Some partial reforms, such as opening the visa spigot for high-tech engineers, scientists and mathematicians, may make sense, but they don't get at the fundamental problem.
As it happens, border security and high-tech visas are addressed in the Senate bill, along with more fundamental reform; that's why it's 1,300 pages long, a fact that Mr. Boehner cited to dismiss its viability as the basis for negotiations. In the wake of Obamacare's rollout troubles, large-scale reforms are in poor repute, we understand. But there are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The country needs to deal with them in some way. When it does so, it needs to set up
a sensible system for future immigration so we don't wind up in the same fix 10 or 20 years from now. That requires legislation of some complexity, it's true, but members of Congress are elected to solve complex problems.
President Obama said Tuesday that he is open to dealing with immigration in a piecemeal fashion. But the House can't dictate that only border security and deportation are on the table. Mr. Boehner should let House Republicans vote on the parts of immigration reform they consider priorities and take that ``sensible step-by-step'' approach into negotiations with the Senate. It is unserious, and unconstructive, to tell the Senate what it can and cannot bring to the table in negotiations with the