U. S. House of Representatives
delivered 3 October 2023, U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.
[Draft Completed -- Authentication in Progress]
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Pursuant to clause 2(a)(2) of rule IX, the gentleman from Florida, Mr. GAETZ, and the gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE, will each control 30 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida.
Mr. GAETZ: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield such time as he may consume to my colleague from Virginia, Mr. Good.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Virginia, Mr. GOOD is recognized for such time as he may consume. And before the gentleman speaks, may I remind my colleagues that all parties need to be heard. Would you please clear the well and clear the aisles, and any extraneous conversations need to be taken from the floor.
Gentleman from Virginia is recognized.
Mr. GOOD of Virginia: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Like so many others, I deeply regret that we are here in what was a totally avoidable situation. I must take you back to January, however, which for many of us was about not repeating the failures of the past and letting Republican voters across the country down once again, when in the past for many years, when Republicans have had majorities in this Chamber, we have passed our major spending bills predominantly with Democrat votes; something the other side of the House has never and would never do with majority control.
Back in January, I expressed my concern that the previous two years during my first term here in this House, we had not used every tool at our disposal to fight against the harmful, radical Democrat agenda that is destroying the country, bankrupting the country, and under which the American people are suffering. But most in here wouldn’t know that I helped persuade my five colleagues who comprised the remaining resistance in the wee morning hours of January 7 to switch our votes to ‘‘present’’ to let Mr. MCCARTHY become Speaker. And I went to him on this very floor to tell him that he was finally going to become Speaker on the next vote. In that moment, it was clear to me that I or we could have asked for anything in exchange for switching our votes to ‘‘present,’’ but I and we asked for nothing. The very next week, I requested and had a meeting with Speaker MCCARTHY to tell him he had my full support and that I wanted him to be successful because the country needed him to be successful.
In the ensuing months, I helped him narrowly pass the Parents Bill of Rights [as Act] and the Limit, Save, Grow bill [as Act] -- I think both of those by just one or two votes -- helping persuade some of my most conservative colleagues to come along despite some of the concerns they had with those bills. And we remained united as a Conference through the Limit, Save, Grow vote as we passed a bill that was cutting spending to pre-COVID levels for non-defense discretionary spending, or just over 100 billion dollars, historic spending cuts, as the Speaker had committed to do in January. And it also included a host of other conservative fiscal reforms.
Unfortunately, however, that unity and that commitment to a significant year-one cuts and spending reforms were discarded -- were discarded in the "Failed Responsibility Act," as I call it, which passed overwhelmingly, once again, with a majority of Democrat votes, validating the concern many of us had in January.
Many of us had begged the Speaker, pleaded with the Speaker repeatedly, to utilize the debt ceiling to leverage spending cuts and reforms. But instead, he negotiated an unlimited increase to the debt ceiling through January of ‘25, as much as we can come together and gleefully spend through January of ‘25, with no significant wins for the American people in that FRA or Failed Responsibility Act.
But the Speaker then said that we would use appropriations -- we would use appropriations to bring the fight and finally reduce our spending. He said the levels of the FRA were the ceiling and not the floor, and committed -- recommitted multiple times to go back to the $1.471 trillion that was the Limit, Save, Grow levels, radically, historically saving a hundred billion dollars and lowering the deficit this year under Republican majority from $2.2 trillion to $2.1 trillion. That's what we were asking the Republican House to do, to go to $2.1 trillion.
Meanwhile, the Speaker had committed to bring a balanced budget vote to this floor, something that still has not happened despite the work that's been done in our Budget Committee to mark it up and have it ready to come to the floor. He also promised that we would bring all 12 appropriation[s] bills well before the September 30 fiscal deadline. We did not. We simply, as Republicans, needed the Speaker to cast the vision, request the sport -- the support of the entire Conference, all of whom voted for the Limit, Save, Grow levels, except for four who wanted to go even further, to -- to lead us in joining him, sticking with him, supporting him, and sending the most conservative spending bills with the -- the most conservative cuts possible to the Senate as the best starting position for negotiation with the Senate. Many of us begged and pleaded with the Speaker to do that over the past five year -- five months.
When the Speaker failed us to pass our spending bills, bringing only one of twelve to the floor before the August district work period, Members began to negotiate amongst themselves without the Speaker to find compromise. I was among those who reluctantly agreed last month to split the difference between failed responsibilities, $1.586 and the Limit, Save, Grow, $1.471. I reluctantly agreed to do that, to go to $1.526 in order to pass our bills on to the Senate.
We then essentially forced the Speaker with the pressure of the calendar, the debt ceiling -- or, excuse me, the shutdown threat of the calendar to bring those four bills to the floor last week, all of which I voted for, despite some of them not cutting to the levels we agreed to and other concerns I had with the bills. I reluctantly voted for the 30-day conditional CR (continuing resolution) because it cut an additional $10 billion in the month of October, going back to the pre-COVID $1.471 levels for defense, nondefense discretionary, 30 percent, and it had border security. I voted for that.
However, when that vote failed, the Speaker, this past Friday in the Republican Conference meeting, made it abundantly clear that he was willing to do anything to avoid the temporary discomfort and the pressure of a pause in the 15 percent of the nonessential Federal Government operations, which would guarantee that we would lose to the Senate Democrats and the White House. If you are not willing to say no, then you are guaranteed to lose. And that was confirmed with the passage of the unconditional 45-day CR this past Saturday, once again with 209 Democrat votes. The Republican bill, 209–1 Democrats; 51–0 in the Senate side.
The Speaker fought through 15 votes in January to become Speaker but was only willing to fight through one failed CR before surrendering to the Democrats on Saturday. We need a Speaker who will fight for something, anything, besides just staying or becoming Speaker. If there was ever a time to fight with 33 trillion dollars in national debt, a 2 trillion dollar deficit this year, 40-year high inflation, 20-year high interest rates, a downgraded credit rating, and for the first time in modern history the polls that despite all the help of the media blaming Republicans in the House -- the polls showed that the public was blaming Biden and the Democrats for an imminent shutdown.
If not fight now, when would we fight? Now is and was the time. With the Democrats driving the fiscal bus off the cliff at 100 miles an hour, we cannot simply be content to be the party that slows it down to 95 just so we can sit in the front seat and wear the captain’s hat. Our current debt and our spending trajectory is unsustainable. We need a Speaker, ideally somebody who doesn’t want to be Speaker and hasn’t pursued that at all costs for his entire adult life, who will meet the moment and do everything possible to fight for the country.
A red line was crossed for me, I regret, on Saturday, and so it is [with] regret that I must vote against the motion to table, as I did, and to vote to vacate the Chair.
Mr. GAETZ: I reserve.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida reserves his time.
Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE.
Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I share one thing in common with my friend from Virginia. This is a very sad day and certainly a day I never expected to have to live through. You know, I think, broadly speaking, as I look across this floor, you can divide Members into three groups. I'm very happy to be in the first group -- the overwhelming majority of my party supports the Speaker that we elected. We're proud of the leadership he's shown. We're proud of the manner in which he's been willing to work with everybody in our Conference, and I believe in this Chamber.
There's a second group, small group. Honestly, they're willing to -- to plunge this Body into chaos and this country into uncertainty for reasons that only they really understand. I certainly don’t. And then there are friends on my -- the other side -- I mean friends, honestly, with great sincerity -- I have a lot of friends over there, and I recognize that my friends on the other side have a very complex set of partisan, personal, and political calculations to make. And I certainly wouldn’t presume to give them any advice about that, but I would say think long and hard before you plunge us into chaos because that's where we're headed if we vacate the speakership.
You know, I personally think there's really three reasons why we've come to this point, and that's because at each three of these critical minutes, the Speaker did the right thing. First, there was a Speaker vote. You know, he got 85 percent of the vote in our Conference; 90 percent of the vote from Republicans on this floor. Yet, we had a small group that decided no, they would dictate what they want. He didn’t let that happen. He fought. Now, he fought for himself, but he fought for 90 percent of us too that wanted him to be the Speaker, and I appreciate that.
Then, of course, we had the debt ceiling deal. Nobody here thought he could pass a bill. Nobody in America thought he could pass a bill. He did what Speakers are supposed to do. He passed the bill. Then he sat down and negotiated with a Democratic Senate and a Democratic President and came back with a good deal, a deal that will limit spending. He did the right thing. Finally, last Saturday on this floor, we were on the verge of a government shutdown, a government shutdown that the vast majority of Members in this Chamber did not want, a substantial majority on my side; an overwhelming majority on the Democrat side. He put his political neck on the line, knowing this day was coming, to do the right thing -- the right thing for the country without a doubt.
My friends and I agree on that, whether or not we agree on the Speaker. He did the right thing. He did the right thing, I think, for this Institution. He showed it could function in a time of crisis. And finally, I think he did the right thing for our party. He made sure that we could continue to negotiate and achieve some of the very objectives my friend from Virginia laid out, and achieve them in divided government, which calls for some degree of give-and-take.
So I'm very proud of this Speaker. I'm very proud to stand behind him. Tomorrow morning, whether I win or lose, I'm going to be pretty proud of the people I fought with and I'm going to be extraordinarily proud of the person I fought for, the Speaker of the House, KEVIN MCCARTHY.
And with that, I reserve the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Oklahoma's time is reserved. Gentleman from Florida.
Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, my friend from Oklahoma says that my colleagues and I who don’t support KEVIN MCCARTHY would plunge the House and the country into chaos. Chaos is Speaker MCCARTHY. Chaos is somebody who we cannot trust with their word. The one thing that the White House, House Democrats, and many of us on the conservative side of the Republican caucus would argue is that the thing we have in common, KEVIN MCCARTHY said something to all of us at one point or another that he didn’t really mean and never intended to live up to.
I don’t think voting against KEVIN MCCARTHY is chaos. I think $33 trillion in debt is chaos. I think that facing a 2.2 trillion dollar annual deficit is chaos. I think that not passing single-subject spending bills is chaos. I think the fact that we have been governed in this country since the mid-1990s by continuing resolution and omnibus is chaos. And the way to liberate ourselves from that is a series of reforms to this Body that I would hope would outlast Speaker MCCARTHY’s time here, would outlast my time here, and would outlast either of our majorities -- reforms that I have heard some of the most conservative Members of this Body fight for and some of the reforms that we've been battling for that I've even heard those in the Democratic Caucus say would be worthy and helpful to the House -- like open amendments, like understanding what the budget is.
We have been out of compliance with budget laws for most of my life, most of many of your lives. And by the way, if we did those things, if we had single-subject bills, if we had an understanding on the top line, if we had open amendments, if we had trust and honesty and understanding, there would be times when my conservative colleagues and I would lose; might be a few times when we'd win. There'd be times that we would form partnerships that might otherwise not be really predictable in the American body politic, but the American people would see us legislating.
These last few days, we've suspended the momentum that we had established the week earlier where we were bringing bills to the floor, voting on them, staying late at night working hard. That's what the American people expect. It's something Speaker MCCARTHY hasn’t delivered. And that's why I moved to vacate the Chair.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman's time is reserved.
Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE.
Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield two minutes to my very good friend [Mr. EMMER] from Minnesota.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Minnesota Mr. EMMER is recognized for two minutes.
Mr. EMMER: Thank you. KEVIN MCCARTHY has earned this. Under Speaker MCCARTHY’s leadership, our House Republican majority has actually defied all odds and overperformed expectations again and again and again. It all started with the Speaker’s race when our Speaker, KEVIN MCCARTHY, showed the American people how he would never give up. It carried over into the Speaker spearheading a Rules package to create the most transparent, Member-driven legislative process that I've ever seen since I have been here.
And since then, Speaker MCCARTHY’s Republican majority has been successful in bringing common sense back to our Nation’s capital by passing legislation to affirm a parents’ right to be involved in their child’s education, bolster American energy production, fully fund veterans’ care and benefits, fight back against the regulatory state, and continue delivering on our promise to rein in Democrats’ reckless spending by passing fiscally responsible appropriations bills. We've also achieved historic conservative wins like passing the strongest border security legislation in history, passing the first Republican-only NDAA in history, and passing the first Republican-only State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill. So many Americans are better off because of KEVIN MCCARTHY’s leadership: American families, jobs creators, entrepreneurs, servicemembers, law enforcement officer[s], and the list goes on and on. These are just a few of our House Republican majority successes.
But make no mistake: We need KEVIN MCCARTHY to remain Speaker if we're going to stay focused on our mission of delivering commonsense wins for the American people. We've shown Americans what success looks like when we come together as a team. Now it's time for us to stand together stronger than ever so we can get back to the work our majority was elected to do. I'm proud to support the Speaker as we continue championing conservative priorities that will put our country on a better path.
Thank you, Speaker MCCARTHY.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida.
Mr. EMMER: I yield back.
Mr. GAETZ: The -- The opening line of my colleague’s speech was that Speaker MCCARTHY always overperforms expectations, but after tweeting ‘‘bring it’’ and after engaging in profane-laced tirades at House Conference, he just lost a motion to table. So I wouldn’t necessarily consider that overperforming expectations.
Time and again, I've heard my colleagues say, "Well, he deserves it because he went through a tough Speaker contest." Let me let everyone know, he prevailed in that Speaker contest because he made an agreement to fulfill certain commitments to make this an open and honest process, and he has failed to meet those commitments. And that's why we are here.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman reserves his time.
Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE.
Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield three minutes to my very good friend, Mr. JORDAN of Ohio.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Ohio is recognized for three minutes.
Mr. JORDAN: I thank the gentleman for yielding. On January 3rd we said the 118th Congress is about three things: pass the bills that need passed, do the oversight work that needs to be done, and stop the inevitable omnibus that comes from the United States Senate right before the holidays. KEVIN MCCARTHY has been rock-solid on all three. We have passed the bills we told the American people we would pass: 87,000 IRA -- S agents, that bill passed; Parents Bill of Rights, that bill passed; energy legislation, passed; border security immigration enforcement legislation, the strongest bill ever to pass the Congress, passed earlier this year.
We have done what we told them we were going to do. We can’t help that the Senate won’t take up those good commonsense bills. They'll have to answer to the American people come election day. Oversight. We have done the oversight that we're supposed to do. Because of our oversight, we know that parents were targeted by the Department of Justice. Because of our oversight, we know that 51 former intel officials misled the country weeks before the most important election we have.
Mr. Speaker, because of our oversight, the Disinformation Governance Board at the Department of Homeland Security is gone. Because of our oversight, the memo attacking pro-life Catholics has been rescinded. Because of oversight, unannounced visits to Americans’ home[s] by the Internal Revenue Service has stopped. That happened under Speaker MCCARTHY.
And on the third one on this side, we know there's a big ol' ugly bill coming at the end of the year -- all kinds of spending, all kinds of garbage in it. We're still in that fight. Frankly, to Matt's point, we don’t know how that one's going to shake out. But we do know this -- We do know this: On Saturday, we didn’t take the Senate’s bill. They tried to send [it] over and shove it down our throats on Sat[urday]. We didn’t take that bill. And it was a tough position he [the Speaker] was in.
There were five options on the table last week. Option one was [to] send a long-term CR over there that would have leveraged the one percent cut -- something a bunch of us voted for, both parties; couldn’t get the votes for that one. Second option was to focus on the one issue the country now is completely focused on: the border issue. We couldn’t get the votes for that one either. But when the Senate tried to send us that bill, he said ‘‘no’’ to it.
I think the Speaker has kept his word. I know my colleagues and friends are saying different -- I think he has kept his word on those three things that we talked about on January 3rd and, frankly, that entire week. He has kept his word. I think we should keep him as Speaker.
I yield back.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida is recognized.
Mr. GAETZ: Yeah, the...problem with my friend from Ohio’s argument is that many of the bills he referenced as having passed are not law. We are on a fast track to an omnibus bill, and it is difficult to champion oversight when House Republicans haven’t even sent a subpoena to Hunter Biden. So it's hard to make the argument that oversight is the reason to continue when it sort of looks like failure theater.
I yield such time as he may consume to my colleague from Arizona, Mr. BIGGS.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Arizona is recognized -- how much time?
Mr. GAETZ: What he consumes.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: So much as he may consume.
Mr. BIGGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a serious time. And my -- my mind immediately goes to the young deputy from Cochise County who two nights ago, while trying to apprehend a runaway vehicle smuggling humans across the border, suffered major injuries, transported to Pima County where he's in a Tucson hospital fighting for his life. I'm talking about a border that remains wide open, where drugs come through. The Tucson sector [has] the most got-aways known and unknown of any sector along the border; terrorists coming in, people conducting criminal conduct coming in, criminal gang members, human smugglers, sex traffickers. They [are] coming across our border to the tune of hundreds of thousands every month.
Now, I appreciate my colleagues and their position, but I would suggest something: I don’t think you can just skip to last weekend and say, “Oh, my goodness, a CR came out last weekend on Saturday. I think we need to go back to January.” I'll say this: This Body came together on the Republican side and we passed a good border security piece of legislation, H.R. 2. That's good. And then last week we passed the DHS bill and the DOD bills which had funding for our CBP, ICE, military leaders, military men and women.
But why did we -- why were we successful in doing that? What happened to motivate us to get there? Well, for one thing, we didn’t bother to pass the 12 appropriations bills as required under the Budget Control and Impounds law [the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act] of 1974. We didn’t do it. And you know how many times that's not been done? Twenty-five years in a row. And you know how many CRs this Body has passed in that same period of time? A hundred and thirty. You know what that gets you? A $2 trillion-plus structural deficit like we had in fiscal year 2023. You know what that leads you to? A 33 trillion dollar national debt, which is where we sit today; leads you to somewhere north of 700 billion dollars in interest payments. And you know why that happened? Because this Body is entrenched in a suboptimal path and refuses to leave it, refuses to leave that path.
You cannot change if you're unwilling to change. We had every opportunity to change. We were promised change. We were promised we were going to go ahead, and we were going to get those 12 bills done. If we got those 12 bills done -- do you know why you do 12 bills? Because it allows you to reduce spending, get rid of wasteful duplicative programs. It allows you to set an agenda to restore fiscal sanity. We chose to not do it again. We were promised we'd do it. That's why at the end some people said: We'll vote "present." We'll go ahead. We're going to put our trust in Mr. MCCARTHY to become the Speaker.
That didn’t happen. I suspected that would be the case. That was my struggle. That was my struggle last November and December. I iterated it to this Body, our Conference anyway. When we got to the debt ceiling, again, that seemed to spring upon everybody like a surprise. And when that happened, I was in there for some of those negotiations on where that number would be, and I was astonished how that $1.5 trillion number was negotiated. Unbelievable. Unbelievable.
But I will tell you this: To his credit, the Speaker told us one thing that I believe to be true. He said that -- that's basically the ante in a poker game. You can sit down at the table. And I told my colleagues who supported that: That 1.5 trillion dollar[s] in eight months that you're willing to raise the debt ceiling, that's the opening marker. And indeed, it was. And now, projections are many trillion dollars above that. Yes, I think it's time to -- to make a change. I'm not the only one, and thus it's is somber. Thus, it is somber.
But what have we failed to accomplish? Why -- Why didn’t we get this stuff done? When we're -- When we're campaigning, we're talking about an extension of the debt ceiling to January of 2025. We're talking about additional Ukraine funding. Is that going to be -- maybe that's good in your districts. Maybe it's not. But that money's not offset. We're not paying for it. We haven’t designated how we're going to pay for that -- the same with the disaster package [Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund]. The IRS remains 80 percent increased.
And I will tell you -- I...could go down the list, but I will just tell you why this happens. When you don’t do your 12 budget bills and you rely ultimately on a CR -- and I'll get to the calendar in a second -- what happens is, you cannot leverage this Administration to actually enforce the border laws that you need to have enforced. This is a lawless Biden regime. They will not enforce border laws. And we can pass them 'til we're blue in the face, but until you leverage the budget and the spending, you will not see enforcement by...this Administration.
So now, take a look at the calendar that the -- that we were just provided last week. We're supposed to finish -- We're supposed to finish by November 3rd our 12 bills. By November 17th, that's when we're supposed to see that the conference committees have come together, both sides, and we've resolved this. I don’t believe that that's going to happen. It wasn’t going to happen before. You were -- You were betting on the come again. At some point, I'd urge you to stop betting on the come and bet on the reality.
That's why I can’t support the Speaker any longer, and I'll be voting for the motion to vacate -- and yield back.
Mr. GAETZ: Reserve.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman yields back his time. Gentleman from Florida --
Mr. GAETZ: Reserves.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Reserves. Members are advised to direct your comments to the Chair. Please.
Gentleman from Oklahoma.
Mr. COLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I yield two minutes to my very good friend from Arkansas Mr. WESTERMAN.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Arkansas Mr. WESTERMAN is recognized for two minutes.
Mr. WESTERMAN: Selah, s-e-l-a-h, selah. This unique word, scattered throughout the Psalms, signals to the reader to pause, reflect, consider, and maybe take a deep breath before moving on. Psalmists use selah to emphasize the significance of a statement. For example, King David wrote: ‘‘Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah.’’1 That is a profound statement with huge implications. It deserves more than a cursory consideration.
Within the next hour, this House will vote ‘‘yea’’ or ‘‘nay’’ to vacate the Speaker’s chair, a profound action with huge implications. This was last tried in 1910. Joseph Cannon won the vote. One hundred thirteen years later, my office is in the Cannon Office Building, and Uncle Joe Cannon’s statue sits just outside this Chamber. No living human has taken the vote we're about to take. It deserves that we pause; we reflect; that we consider deeply the ramification of our actions.
To my fellow Republicans who would consider voting ‘‘yes’’ to removing our Republican Speaker, please pause and ask yourself two questions: Will your ‘‘yes’’ vote make America stronger? Will your ‘‘yes’’ vote strengthen conservative policies? If you believe ‘‘yes’’ is the right vote, please stand before this Body and the American people and articulate your plan -- not your grievances or your wishes, your plan. Convince the [vast] majority of the Republican Conference that strongly disagrees with you to follow you. If you cannot do that, which you have failed to do so far, then voting ‘‘yes’’ is, at the least, a disruptive overreaction. In reality, it's selfish, bad for conservative policies, and bad for America.
That's why I strongly support Speaker KEVIN MCCARTHY and why, without hesitation or reservation, I will vote ‘‘no’’ on this disastrous resolution.
I yield back.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida.
Mr. GAETZ: There's nothing selfish about wanting a Speaker of the House who tells the truth. I reserve.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman reserves his time.
Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE?
Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield two minutes to my very good friend from Kentucky and fellow member of the Rules Committee, Mr. MASSIE.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Kentucky Mr. MASSIE is recognized for two minutes.
Mr. MASSIE: Mr. Speaker, as the only still-serving coauthor and cosponsor of the motion to vacate Speaker Boehner,2 I can tell you this motion to vacate is a terrible idea. As the only Member who is serving here who took every chance to vote against Speaker Boehner and to vote against Speaker Ryan, I can tell you that this Chamber has run -- been run better, more conservatively, and more transparently under Mr. MCCARTHY than any other Speaker that I have served under.
As a member of the Rules Committee, one -- one of three -- one of three conservatives who were placed there out of trust -- the Speaker gave us a blocking position by putting three of us on there to keep an eye on the Rules Committee, to make sure the process was fair and even -- I can tell you it has been fair and even. None of us are voting against the Speaker today. Regular order is at odds with predetermined outcomes. Yet, the Speaker is -- is being accused of not holding to regular order and predetermined outcomes at the same time. It is not possible. You cannot be for both at the same time.
I was a party to the January agreement, and I can tell you that there were promises in there, but there was never a promise for an outcome. There was never a promise that you could force Joe Biden to sign something. There was only the promise that we would try, and try we have. We have tried in the Rules Committee. We have tried on the floor. We've been trying this since this summer and there is enough blame to go around for why we don’t have 12 bills, but part of it was a relitigation of the debt limit deal. By the way, there was no promise on the debt limit deal, no conditions on that in January -- zero -- whatsoever. I was in the room for that. So the 12 bills were delayed over what? A hundred billion dollars. That's a lot of money, but it's nothing compared to the two trillion dollars that I came here to object to when Speaker PELOSI and President Trump pushed that bill through.
We've had over 500 amendments. Listen, this is a -- this is a referendum on this Institution. We have tried regular order. Speaker MCCARTHY has tried regular order. If regular order fails today, if you vacate the Speaker, nobody is going to try again.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. MASSIE: This Institution will fail. Please do not vacate the Speaker.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida.
Mr. GAETZ: I reserve.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida reserves his time. Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. COLE.
Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield two minutes to my very good friend from California [Mr. MCCLINTOCK].
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from California, Mr. MCCLINTOCK is recognized for two minutes.
Mr. MCCLINTOCK: Mr. Speaker, if there was ever a time for sobriety, wisdom, and caution in this House, it is right now. If this motion carries, the -- the House will be paralyzed. We can expect week after week of fruitless ballots while no other business can be conducted. The Democrats will revel in Republican dysfunction, and the public will rightly be repulsed. It'll end when the Democrats are able to enlist a rump caucus of Republicans to join a coalition to end the impasse. This House will shift dramatically to the left and will effectively end Republican House majority that the voters elected in 2022. And this, in turn, will neutralize the only counterweight in our elected government to the woke Left’s control of the Senate and the White House at a time when their policies are destroying our economy and have opened our borders to invasion.
There are turning points in history whose significance is only realized by the events that they unleash. This is one of those times. We are at the precipice. There are only minutes left to come to our senses and realize the grave danger our country is in at this moment. Dear God, grant us the wisdom to see it and to save our country from it.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman from Florida.
Mr. GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing sober, wise, or cautious about the path we are on. We are a -- on a path to financial ruin if this House does not take a different posture, a different procedure, and yield towards different outcomes and a better future.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Gentleman reserves his time. Gentleman from Oklahoma Mr. COLE.
Mr. COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield one and half minutes to my very good friend from Florida Mr. GIMENEZ.
The SPEAKER pro tempore: One and half minutes. Gentleman from Florida is recognized for one and one half minutes.
Mr. GIMENEZ: Mr. Speaker, I stand before my colleagues and the Nation as a proud Representative of the great State of Florida. I truly am beyond blessed to represent my -- the paradise that is Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys. And I am beyond proud of -- to represent my community before this Congress, to stand with a leader who has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our country and to the principles that define us as Americans, KEVIN MCCARTHY.
Today is historic for a lot of reasons. For -- For one thing, this is the first time in over a hundred years that this has been attempted. But it's also because we are part of a Congress with historically tight majorities for the Republic[an]s in the House and the Democrats in the Senate, and we have a Democratic White House. Divided government -- that's what we have. The need to negotiate to find solutions to the issues facing this country, that's a -- that's a reflection of the principles that are uniquely American, principles that make this country exceptional, and principles that allowed me, an exile who came here from Cuba, fleeing Communist Cuba, to serve in this very Institution.
You see, I wasn’t born here, and everything -- but everything that I am, everything that I ever will be, is thanks to America. The best part about it is that my story, and the story of the community I'm so proud to represent, is the story of many in this Body is that we are not -- we are not the exception in America. We are the rule. That's the America that KEVIN MCCARTHY has fought for his entire career. KEVIN MCCARTHY is a champion for the American Dream, and he's proved it as our Speaker.
[audio-to-text transcription first pass verified to here: 38:58]
Thomas Jefferson once said: “I predict future happiness for Americans if they
can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the
guise of taking care of them.” Let’s keep KEVIN MCCARTHY as our Speaker. He is
a great man, a great leader, and a great Speaker.
Joe Biden has done everything to squash American energy, selling our oil
reserves to China. Under Speaker MCCARTHY, Republicans have passed legislation
to unleash American energy dominance. Joe Biden has spent taxpayer dollars like
there is no tomorrow. Under Speaker MCCARTHY, we have returned to passing
single-subject appropriations bills and ending the status quo of omnibus
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. MIKE GARCIA of California: Mr. Speaker, I want to recalibrate our minds on
what is actually happening here today. This proceeding looks important. It feels
consequential, but let’s look at what else is happening across America. Today,
about 300 Americans will die from fentanyl poisoning. Today, about 11,000 people
will illegally penetrate our borders. Today’s debt is approaching $34 trillion.
Today’s mortgage rates
just hit a 25-year high now approaching 8 percent. Our energy prices are again
at backbreaking highs with gas approaching $8 a gallon in my district. Today,
China and the CCP grow stronger with an intent to go to war by 2027, and our
military is experiencing
record-low retention and record-low recruitment.
Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina
The job hasn’t been done. We have had multiple contradictory promises. It is
quite something, for those of you keeping track at home, the last three speakers
you have heard opposing my resolution all voted for the debt deal. So if you
believe that the debt limit deal that Speaker MCCARTHY brought into law was a
good thing, maybe you agree with their perspective. I think the debt limit deal
was a terrible deal, and it really was the original sin of the McCarthy
speakership, and it is one of the reasons I seek to vacate the Chair now.
The SPEAKER pro tempore:
The time of the gentleman has again expired.
Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to the time remaining for each side.
Mr. Speaker, we are going to face these challenges together. I say bring whatever comes next because we believe in the job our Speaker has done. We believe in his vision, and, most importantly, we are proud to call KEVIN MCCARTHY our friend and our Speaker of the House.
Mr. COLE: Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
1 Psalm 68:19 [NASB]
2 Full text of motion to vacate Speaker Boehner: Whereas the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 114th Congress has endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent; Whereas the Speaker has, through inaction, caused the power of Congress to atrophy, thereby making Congress subservient to the Executive and Judicial branches, diminishing the voice of the American People; Whereas the Speaker uses the power of the office to punish Members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker; Whereas the Speaker has intentionally provided for voice votes on consequential and controversial legislation to be taken without notice and with few Members present; Whereas the Speaker uses the legislative calendar to create crises for the American People, in order to compel Members to vote for legislation; Whereas the Speaker does not comply with the spirit of the rules of the House of Representatives, which provide that Members shall have three days to review legislation before voting; Whereas the Speaker continues to direct the Rules Committee to limit meaningful amendments, to limit debate on the House floor, and to subvert a straightforward legislative process; and Whereas the House of Representatives, to function effectively in the service of all citizens of this country, requires the service of a Speaker who will endeavor to follow an orderly and inclusive process without imposing his or her will upon any Member thereof: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant.
Original Text Source: https://www.congress.gov/118/crec/2023/10/03/169/162/CREC-2023-10-03.pdf
Original Audio and Video Source: C-SPAN.org
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Page Updated: 10/12/23
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