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Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 767 and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the resolution, as follows: H. Res. 767
Resolved, That at any time after adoption of this resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 4775) to facilitate efficient State implementation of ground-level ozone standards, and for other purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. It shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on Energy and Commerce now printed in the bill. The committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. All points of order against the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute are waived. No amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution. Each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the House or in the Committee of the Whole. All points of order against such amendments are waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. Any Member may demand a separate vote in the House on any amendment adopted in the Committee of the Whole to the bill or to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions.
Sec. 2. Upon adoption of this resolution it shall be in order to consider in the House any concurrent resolution specified in section 3 of this resolution. All points of order against consideration of each such concurrent resolution are waived. Each such concurrent resolution shall be considered as read. All points of order against provisions in each such concurrent resolution are waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on each such concurrent resolution and preamble to adoption without intervening motion or demand for division of the question except one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Ways and Means.
Sec. 3. The concurrent resolutions referred to in section 2 of this resolution are as follows:
(1) The concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 89) expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy.
(2) The concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 112) expressing the sense of Congress opposing the President's proposed $10 tax on every barrel of oil.
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Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Polis), my good friend, pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only. General Leave
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Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 767 provides a structured rule for the consideration of three bills. You heard the reading Clerk read them, but I will read them again: H.R. 4775, Ozone Standards Implementation Act; H. Con. Res. 89, Expressing the Sense of Congress that a Carbon Tax would be Detrimental to the United States Economy; and, H. Con. Res. 112, Expressing the Sense of Congress Opposing the President's Proposed $10 Tax on Every Barrel of Oil.
It is a little unusual that we put three different bills into a single rule, but today has been a bit of an unusual day. It has been a bit of an unusual day.
Mr. Speaker, it is no surprise to you, standing not 3 feet from where you were just 30 minutes ago was the leader of a democracy of 1.3 billion people. That is 1.3 billion people. In the midst of his remarks, he commented on the reputation of the United States Congress, known far and wide around the globe. He commented on the comity--that is with an i-t-y, not an e-d-y--that we have been known for. And I hope this rule will be no exception, Mr. Speaker.
We are not going to agree on all the underlying bills, all the underlying policy, but what we can agree on is that this Congress needs to have its voice heard.
If we approve this rule today--and I recommend to all of my colleagues that we do approve this rule today--we will be able to get to the underlying debate. And in the underlying debate, Mr. Speaker, we have two senses of Congress and a piece of legislation--a piece of legislation for which amendments were submitted to the Rules Committee to say that we have ideas as Members of this body about how we can improve the underlying bill.
One of them came from my friend from Colorado. I don't particularly support the idea that he is pushing, but I support his right to have the idea heard on the floor of the House. This rule makes the Polis amendment in order, along with every other non-duplicative amendment submitted. I add non-duplicative because virtually the same amendment was submitted by two different Members and we decided to debate it once instead of twice, as is customary.
We are going to disagree, but we are going to have the debate over those disagreements. And my great hope is that the work product we produce will be a stronger work product because we have had an opportunity to discuss it here on the floor. My great hope is that, after we have had a chance to perfect that work product, we will send it on to the Senate with a big bipartisan vote from both parties.
Mr. Speaker, it is easy to talk about taxes as if they don't come from someone. When we have an academic conversation about tax policy, what is the saying? Don't tax him, don't tax me, tax the man behind that tree.
I have heard folks say: You are always trying to put the tax burden on somebody else.
What the President proposed was $10 a barrel on every barrel of oil consumed in America. Now, historically, we have had some low oil prices of late. That $10 a barrel tax would have amounted to almost a 50 percent increase in the cost of a barrel of oil. Today it is going to be closer to a 20 percent increase in the cost of a barrel of oil.
This tax is implemented in the name of what, Mr. Speaker?
It is in the name of improving our failing infrastructure because we do need to improve our failing infrastructure. We do have to have a conversation about user fees in this country and how it is we are going to build the best logistical system the world has ever known. But that is not what this tax would do.
This is a tax that is part of what has been a long campaign against the consumption of any fossil fuels whatsoever. My great frustration, Mr. Speaker, is that if your goal is to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, we have a lot of ways we can do that. We have a lot of very reasonable ways we can do that. And this proposal makes no effort to try to find the most efficient way to make that happen. It is a blanket $10 a barrel tax across the board.
If you are using that barrel of oil to generate space-age plastics, Mr. Speaker, and you are going to use those space-age plastics to build the most efficient photovoltaic cell array the world has ever known, such as is going on in my district, there is no special dispensation for you.
In the name of trying to create a better environment, we will tax the very inputs that we are encouraging folks to use in order to create a better environment. It doesn't make sense, Mr. Speaker. Folks use it as a bumper sticker line. It is a campaign year.
That uncertainty has an impact on job creation. That uncertainty has an impact on where these funds around the globe go toward trying to create a better environment for us all--where those funds land, where those jobs are created.
Today this House takes a stand. Today this House makes it clear, even in an election year, even in the uncertainty of a political season, even in this time of conflict on policy, that we can provide some certainty out there for not just the American business community, but the international business community.
There is one thing I think that we can all agree on, Mr. Speaker, and that is that America has the most productive workforce the world has ever known. If given a level playing field, there is not a single opportunity that we cannot succeed in. If we commit ourselves to it, we can succeed.
Lower-paying jobs, cheaper finger jobs are always going to go overseas, but the higher-paying jobs, the higher-skilled jobs, the energy-intensive jobs, those jobs can come here.
We have an extraordinary disadvantage in this country in that we have the single worst Tax Code in the world. The single worst. If you want to create a business, if you want to grow jobs, don't come to America is the tag line that the Tax Code suggests. No one punishes productivity more than we do in America. It is nonsense. We can absolutely fix it. The Speaker and our Ways and Means Committee chairman, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Brady), are working incredibly hard to make that happen.
If we go from worst to first in terms of a competitive job code, we bring more jobs to this country. But number two, we have an advantage that no one else does, in that we have gone from being worried during the Carter administration that we would exhaust all of our energy reserves to having the largest energy reserves this Nation has ever known.
If you need to produce a product that requires high energy inputs, I challenge you to find a better location than the United States of America. Those jobs are coming here. We have an advantage for job creators here. And what the President would do in his budget is to give that advantage away. And for what? Not because of a coherent energy policy designed to make the world a better place, make the environment a better environment, and the health of American citizens better, but in the name of pursuing an agenda of no fossil fuels--nowhere, nohow.
I am glad we are down here having this conversation today, Mr. Speaker. It is one that needs to be had. It is one that has been a long time coming. But we have an opportunity today to speak with one voice in this body. I hope we will speak with one voice in supporting this rule and speak with one voice in supporting the three underlying resolutions.
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Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, with that level of agreement, I am prepared to tell my friend I don't have any speakers remaining, and if he is prepared to close, we will get right to the underlying bill and exercise that enthusiasm.
Mr. Speaker, when you turn on the television, when you open up a newspaper here in the election season, it seems like folks are pretty angry. I enjoy coming down to the floor on rules to work with my friend from Colorado because I genuinely enjoy him. If we are going to get anything done across the aisle, I have no doubt that he is going to be a part of that solution. As you listen to his words down here today, you heard that. Time and time again, there are things we can do together, there are ways we can be better together. Let's find some commonsense alternatives.
Sadly, in an election year like this, oftentimes that is as far as the conversation goes. If you can't fit it on a bumper sticker, you don't have that conversation. You heard the gentleman say--for example, with respect to my own tax bill, H.R. 25, the FairTax, the most widely cosponsored fundamental tax reform bill in the entire United States Congress, he had favorable things to say. But if you look at any Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee-run advertisement, they skewer the men and women who take a chance on growing the economy with the FairTax. They skewer the men and women who take a chance on repealing the taxes, the most burdensome tax on the 80 percent of American working families who have to pay it. In the name of politics, folks don't get past the bumper sticker to the real substance.
I listen to my friend from Colorado. He gives me hope. He gives me hope that we are going to be able to get over that line, Mr. Speaker. But the truth is, we have to get past the bumper sticker slogan. My friend from Colorado is going to be part of whatever fundamental tax reform change is made here. But we ought to be able to agree that just adding more taxes to an already broken system--as the President proposes--can't possibly be the right answer.
My friend is absolutely right that we need to fund American infrastructure, and I would argue the user-fee system is the way to do it. Not repatriation, which takes completely unconnected dollars, but user fees which say that, if you are on the roads, you should pay for the roads. But that is a discussion we will have to have.
This is the right place to have that discussion. We will have that discussion, and I hope that we will come to a conclusion.
My friend says that job creation is job one, but supports complete re-regulation of industries which is destroying jobs across this country. I will give you an example, Mr. Speaker, and it is what is so frustrating to folks back home.
Again, Prime Minister Modi stood where you are standing. He spoke for 1.3 billion people. I only speak for about 700,000. But those 700,000 open up the newspaper when they get into their office on a Monday morning, trying to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the ozone standards.
Those standards, released in 2008, finally got around to having the regulations for how to comply with them finalized in March of 2015. I will say that again. This crisis of human health that my friend has described, we identified in 2008, and the administration got around to telling folks what the rules were by March of 2015.
So all the job creators across the country began to scramble to comply with those rules, Mr. Speaker. And then in October of 2015, the administration says: Oh, no, wait. We have a much better idea. Now let's do ozone compliance, part two.
In 2008, we decided we had an issue we wanted to address. In March of 2015, the administration finally got around to addressing it. As soon as folks began to spend the money and the intellectual effort to comply with those rules, by October of that same year, the administration says: Oh, no. We have got a better idea. Scrap that.
When my friend reads from all of the conservative economists, the libertarian economists, the folks who care about making sure our limited resources do the most good for the American people and those folks support a carbon tax, they don't support a carbon tax in addition to the nonsensical regulatory structure that I have just described. They support a carbon tax instead of that structure.
If we monetize harms in this country, we don't have to have a bureaucracy that guesses at what the issues are; we don't have to have a bureaucracy that moves not in a day or a week or a month, but takes years, almost decades, to move in the marketplace. We move quickly, and we maximize. For every dollar that compliance costs, for every dollar that environmental stewardship costs, for every dollar that NG exploration costs, we get the maximum return for every American family.
I think there is a pathway there. I think there is a pathway there. But understand, more of the same won't get us there. The power to tax is the power to destroy. Stop destroying job creation. The power to tax is the power to destroy. Stop destroying American corporations and moving them overseas.
Golly, we have got opportunity to come together. I believe these three provisions before us, Mr. Speaker, are going to move us in that direction.
Make no mistake; our ozone bill that we have before us today makes every amendment from this body in order-- save one that was virtually exactly the same as another, and we didn't want to be duplicative here of the Members' time--made every discussion in order, including the one from the gentleman from Colorado.
The sense of Congress today says we don't need to tax fossil fuels as an answer to anything, that taxes are just taxes; and in the absence of a coherent environmental policy, in the absence of a coherent stewardship policy, in the absence of men and women on the ground who are balancing the needs of jobs and the needs of community, it is just a bumper sticker slogan.
Let's reject bumper sticker slogans today. Let's take advantage of the serious men and women that serve in this institution, like the gentleman from Colorado. Let's get together and do the heavy lifting.
Mr. Speaker, if it were easy, they would have done it already. The reason you are here, the reason my friend from Colorado is here, and the reason I am here is not to do the easy things; it is to do the hard things.
What I have come to know in my 5\1/2\ years in this institution is I have not met a man or a woman who is serious about making a difference for the country who wouldn't take their voting card and turn it in tomorrow if they could make that kind of lasting difference that would serve not just this generation, but generations to come. We have that opportunity, Mr. Speaker. It is an election year, but let's not squander it. We can make these next 8 months count for the American people.
Mr. Speaker, I urge strong support for the rule. I urge support for the underlying resolutions as well, but I urge strong support for the rule that will begin this discussion.
The material previously referred to by Mr. Polis is as follows: An Amendment to H. Res. 767 Offered by Mr. Polis
At the end of the resolution, add the following new sections:
Sec. 4. Immediately upon adoption of this resolution the Speaker shall, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5044) making supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2016 to respond to Zika virus. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided among and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Appropriations and the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on the Budget. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. All points of order against provisions in the bill are waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. If the Committee of the Whole rises and reports that it has come to no resolution on the bill, then on the next legislative day the House shall, immediately after the third daily order of business under clause 1 of rule XIV, resolve into the Committee of the Whole for further consideration of the bill.
Sec. 5. Clause 1(c) of rule XIX shall not apply to the consideration of H.R. 5044. ____ 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 Democratic minority 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.''
The Republican majority may say ``the 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. 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.
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Mr. WOODALL. I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous question on the resolution.
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