Week in Review

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 2, 2016
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GOHMERT. Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate my friend, Mr. Graves, bringing up a real problem. We have seen it in Louisiana--and not just in southern Louisiana, but other parts of Louisiana--with massive flooding. I am not even talking about Katrina, but there was a massive amount of waste in Hurricane Katrina that also affected my district in east Texas. I have a 120-mile border that I share with Louisiana, and we have seen the same problems.

We have had a massive flood of Caddo Lake, one time the largest freshwater natural lake besides the Great Lakes. A natural dam apparently was exploded years ago. It still is one of the great treasures of the State and our country. It had a massive flood.

I was visiting in Karnack, Texas, last week with some of the local emergency people that are trying to take care of the issue. The local folks there in Harrison County are acting very responsibly, the local government is acting responsibly, but you have outrageous things like my friend, Mr. Graves, was talking about.

One family got a loan to buy a new mobile home that wasn't destroyed like the last one. With the flood, it had too much water. So they got a new mobile home and got the loan. Well, as we have heard with FEMA, in this case there were requirements that the mobile home be lifted up much higher. The elevation had to be much higher where it was. In the process of lifting it up, the mobile home fell and was completely destroyed. They still have to make payments on their mobile home for the loan, and they have no home. They were doing everything within their power to comply with the governmental requirements.
There are other bureaucratic nightmares.

I was hearing stories about how some of the churches in east Texas banded together. The Baptist men came in and did amazing work. Yes, I understand women, too. I think they call themselves the Baptist men.
Anyway, they came in and did extraordinary work. When people didn't have any plumbing, they had nothing, they brought in portable showers and restrooms and provided the help long before FEMA could get there and do what was needed.

You hear people who were so affected by massive floods say: If we ever have another disaster like that, before we call FEMA, we are going to call the Baptist men. They come in and they get stuff done. They help people where it is, and they don't care who you are, all of your background information. They see who is hurting and they help them.

Well, that is the way it used to be, but then we became too reliant on letting the government fix everything. There were people in the Federal Government that realized that if we can make the Federal Government the ultimate insurer of everything--your school loans, your home, your flood insurance--we will start small, but we will work up until maybe one day we can even have the government behind everyone's health insurance.
If you really want to take away people's freedom and you really want to have Big Brother government dictating every aspect of your life, the way to do it is to have the government ensure all those aspects of your life. Once someone has the right to pay in the event that you are harmed, then they have the right to tell you how to avoid them having to pay, and there goes your freedom. So the power of more insurance has come to the Federal Government.

Many of us thought we could give up our liberty just for a little more security, but Benjamin Franklin, with all the wisdom that man had, understood back then that basically those who are willing to give up liberty for security deserve neither.

For too long in this country, people have been giving up their liberty in order to get security only to find that they are not even secure, just like Mr. Graves was talking about. We thought, Gee, if we set up a Federal Emergency Management Agency to help take care of emergencies, it will be fantastic. If we set up a Corps of Engineers to help with our water projects, it will be fantastic. If we set up an EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, to protect the world, the environment, it will be a great thing. But the longer these agencies exist, the less sensitive they are to what they were supposed to do.

We found it right here in the Capitol. About 7 years ago, the Architect of the Capitol, who works for the House and Senate, had decided that we all work for him and he started making demands, one of which was that I could not cook ribs and share them with other Members of Congress, as I had been doing once a quarter. Most of the networks wanted to do stories on my cooking ribs and I said: No, we are not going to do a TV thing on this. This is just between the Members.

Well, I am grateful that Steve Scalise got involved and I got Paul Ryan to help. The Speaker was able to persuade the bureaucracies here on Capitol Hill that we can make this work and have it safe if we work with each other and are able to get people to work together.

Many of my colleagues tell me it is the best meat they have ever tasted. Some say they are the best ribs they have ever tasted. I have enough of my late mother in me that I enjoy cooking and enjoy people enjoying what I cook. It is probably the only time here on Capitol Hill when I actually leave a good taste in people's mouths instead of a bitter taste.

As we continue to see abuses by the Federal Government and we see abuses going on across the country, you think, Well, in the Federal Government, even though it has badly abused its authority, isn't it supposed to protect us from other abuses?

The answer is: yes, if they are federally related.

Well, when you have the electoral college and electors elected as part of that system, it is critical that that be a protected system of voting, just as the Constitution would require and as the law actually requires.
This story by Hans von Spakovsky and Jennifer Matthes says: ``Before Donald Trump's stunning victory on November 8, liberals called for acceptance of election results. But since the election didn't go as they'd planned, some have taken to harassing and intimidating electors in an attempt to change the election results. Some of these threats may actually violate Federal law, yet the Justice Department acts strangely uninterested in investigating.''

This takes us back to having people armed with billy clubs standing and trying to intimidate voters at their place of voting, and the ``Department of Just Us,'' which was supposed to be ``Justice,'' said: No, no, no, that is fine for them to do it. There are no problems with them doing that.

If anybody else were to do that, yeah, we would probably go after them; but these are the New Black Panther Party, or such as that, so, yeah, it is fine if they do it.

We have got to get back to being a nation where the laws are enforced evenly across the board. If the laws don't make sense, like our own rules here on Capitol Hill, if things do not accommodate people fairly and equally, they are just arbitrary decisions like we got from the Architect of the Capitol when the Visitor Center was being built, or when people are just wanting to have a life up here, we should be stopping the bureaucrats and getting rules that apply across the board, fairly across the board.

Yes, here we make the rules, and we should have rules that apply to everybody; but when you have an arbitrary dictator, they don't get applied quite so evenly.

Here we have the Justice Department, and this report of electors that are going to be voting very soon in the electoral college to elect the President, and their very lives are being threatened. Some of them have had to move their families.

This Justice Department is not interested in protecting the integrity of the election. That is the problem we have been suffering for quite some time around the country. They were not interested in enforcing the law fairly across the board, so we end up all the worse off for it.

This article goes on to say, in Georgia and Idaho, the threats have become so extreme that the secretaries of state both released statements calling for the harassment to end.

I absolutely know, without doubt, that if Hillary Clinton had won the election, as the rules set it up, with a republican form of government--little R. Not the Republican Party, but a republican form of government, just as Ben Franklin said when he was asked after the Constitution finally came together with what most of the members of the Constitutional Convention said was divine providence, or the finger of God. Without the finger of God being involved, they could never have come up with that Constitution. Franklin says: A republic, madam, if you can keep it.

So we had found, and our Founders had wisely, so many of them, sought truth in Scripture, a Bible that they used to argue positions; and they realized probably a complete, perfect democracy is not best for governing people because, if it is a true democracy, then the law gets changed on whims. If someone becomes the object of scorn and it is a true democracy, they are not governed by laws that we currently have in our Constitution which indicate you can't have ex post facto laws. You can't make a law criminalizing things after the act has already occurred. Our Constitution guarantees against that.

Well, in a perfect democracy, there is no such ex post facto law. A majority can make a decision to criminalize conduct that previously occurred so that, when the person committed the act, they were not violating the law. They were acting in accordance with the law, and it was later changed.

Of course we have had people violate the ex post facto law, like President Clinton shoved through, in 1993, taxes on Social Security, taxes on money that had already been earned under different rules of taxation. That was a violation of the Constitution that was not thrown out, but it was clearly a violation of the Constitution. So those things do happen, even in a republic.

But with a republic as the Founders gave us, this idea of liberty could take hold. It wasn't just might makes right, somebody powerful intimidate the rest into voting to string you up or to throw you out of the community. No, you had to abide by existing laws; and your conduct, if appropriate under the law at the time, could not be changed to punish you for something that happened before it was a crime.

So much wisdom in the Constitution, and that wisdom is being cast aside. But that wisdom gave us the electoral college, without which you would never see the Presidential candidates going to all the different States. They would never go to all the different cities that they have because the elections would be decided by the big urban areas. And you can look on the map that shows, most of them have red for Republican, blue for Democrats. Years ago it was the other way around. Red depicted Democrats. But since so many of them were becoming socialists, they were offended that the red made it look like they are red Communists.

So somewhere along the way--I can't find who decided to make the color change--but more started making red Republican and blue Democrat.
Colors don't matter.

But if you look at the counties that voted for Hillary Clinton, you quickly see that she was a fringe candidate. She was fringe on the West Coast, the big cities on the West Coast; a fringe candidate on the East Coast, the big cities on the fringe of the Nation; fringe up in the very north, the big cities in the very north; fringe along the southern border, and basically just a fringe candidate, which I guess would make the Democratic Party, when you look at who voted for the Democratic candidate, you would have to say this is now a fringe party in the United States.

You have the Republican Party that, apparently, according to the votes of the majority, represents over 90 percent of the geographical United States, and you have this other party, this fringe party, that represents the fringes around the edge of the country, basically. There are a few larger in the middle, but they are a bit of an anomaly, because mostly what we see is a fringe candidate and a fringe party. So it will be interesting to see where we go from here.

Obviously, we have a Justice Department that is not interested in protecting our Constitution, protecting the election process as they are mandated to do; and, frankly, when you have a Department of Justice that selectively enforces the law and so totally disregards other parts of the law, then they are really not a Department of Justice. If this administration had continued on, then we would seriously need to look to provide a more appropriate name for the Department of Justice because this is not--it has not been--a Department of Justice.

When you look at what appear to have been crimes committed by IRS personnel, like Lois Lerner, perjury committed before Congress, crimes across America, as my friend, John Fund, wrote in his book about illegal voting, one of the--as I have heard John Fund say, perhaps the biggest fraud in America about our elections is the fraud that has been telling people that there is no illegal voting going on. There is certainly illegal voting going on, and many have chosen to look the other way.

But a majority of the geographic and a majority of the electoral college, elected electors, indicate they want the law applied across the country fairly. Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act makes it a crime for anyone to ``intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote.''

While this has been applied in the past to ordinary, everyday voters in Federal elections, the language does not limit it only to such voters. Electors who are casting their votes for President and Vice President are also protected by section 11(b), since the electoral college is an essential part of the Federal voting process.

This is supported by section 14(c) of the Voting Rights Act, which says that ``voting includes all action necessary to make a vote effective in any primary, special, or general election.'' Obviously, the votes cast by Americans on November 8 will not be effective if the electors they chose are intimidated from casting their votes in the electoral college.

Federal law, which is 3 U.S.C., section 7, requires electors to cast their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December, which this year is December 19. These are recorded as certificates of votes, signed, sealed, and delivered by December 28 to the President of the Senate and the Archivist of the United States. Congress is required to meet on January 6 in joint session to count the electoral college votes.
As we know from so much of the lame stream media, like CNN, MSNBC, there was outrage when Donald Trump said he wasn't sure. He couldn't say beforehand that he wouldn't have questions about the outcome of the election if there were indications of massive fraud in the election.

But as we heard from the lame stream media, oh, that would threaten the very foundation of this country. It would destroy the basis for this country. It was just such a threat to our very existence.
Well, now those same people that said those things are, according to they, themselves, risking this country. They are putting the very foundation of our country at risk.

And we all know now--some raised this during the election, but it was not clear until a recount began to be demanded by a third-party candidate--we can now say, clearly, the evidence is in. I used to try felony cases as a judge, and before that, years before that, as a prosecutor. We can now rest our case.

Jill Stein was nothing more than a sham candidate to help Hillary Clinton, to try to pull votes away from others to help Hillary Clinton win the election. Clearly, that is what she was. Some suspected that.
Some raised that issue. And now, obviously, she has no chance of winning anything in a recount--nothing. She has no chance of winning anything after a recount. So, clearly, the only reason she is doing it is to continue her effort to help Hillary Clinton become President, despite the will of the American people, through the electoral college, through the law as it was designed and set up.

Electors across the country should not be getting threatened. The Justice Department should be outraged, but they are not. They are not bothered in the least that the lives of the electors who will decide the Presidency are being threatened and that a constitutional crisis is at hand. And it shows, yet again, why over 90 percent of the--except for the fringes--Americans have said we want a change. We want an America that can actually move toward Dr. King's dream of people being judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I hope and continue to pray that we will get there.

This quote in the article: ``The U.S. Justice Department, which is charged with protecting all voters, should act to quash this outrage immediately.''
Obviously, they are not interested in quashing an outrage. They have done more to stir up racial disharmony in this country. They have done more to supplant and subvert the intent of the Constitution and the clear meaning in the Constitution, and I cannot wait to have an administration that will at least make an overt effort to enforce the law as it exists.

The President, in his first term, told people over 20 times: I can't just do amnesty; that has to be done by Congress.

Somebody figured out--after his first term it appears to be when it really kicked up heavily--look, who will stop you? Sure, it is against the law. Sure, it is against the Constitution for you to do amnesty and to do executive orders that take away or rewrite laws that were passed by the House and Senate and signed by another President. You can just write them like any good monarch would. Who is going to stop you? Somebody figured out to present that to the President. It had to be what happened because he had said so many times that he didn't have the power to do what he ultimately started doing.

You realize, gee, that is right. The soon-to-be-leaving Harry Reid will surely protect President Obama from the Senate allowing anything that follows the law coming out of the House to enforce the law, the Senate will be able to stop it. So if Congress wants to cut off funding for what the President is doing illegally, the Senate Democrats will protect the President and protect his illegal conduct. So you won't have to worry; you can do whatever you want.

Amnesty was often granted by not even an executive order. It was granted by a series of memos by the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson. He rewrote the law with memos. So it will be nice to get back to having enforcement of the law because this article yesterday from Paul Bedard says: ``A United Nations mix of illegal immigrants are now flooding through the U.S.-Mexico border, especially from Haiti and Pakistan, raising concerns of terrorism costing Americans billions, according to a new report and Senate testimony.''

They have a quote here from my friend, Representative Henry Cuellar from Texas, a Democrat, but a great man. He said: ``It is because people from different parts of the world, Africa, Middle East, other parts of the world are now realizing that all you have to do is get to the southern border of the United States and there's a process there you can claim a legal defense and you just get to come in. I mean, people, the smuggling organizations know exactly what they're doing.'' As the border patrolmen have told me during late hours and early mornings talking to them out on the border, the drug cartels control every inch of the Mexico-U.S. border.

They do so from the Mexico side, but they control what happens on the U.S. side under this administration.
We saw routinely that there were groups that came across who were not threats criminally, but they either wanted jobs or they wanted U.S.
welfare, and they knew that under this administration we would not turn them back and say: No, you cannot come in illegally.

They would not interdict and enforce the law. They would say: Come on in. We have some questions to ask you before we give you a slip of paper, send you on your way or house you or, as some of the border patrolmen said, We end up sending them wherever they want to go in the United States.

They call the Border Patrol logistics. They get them to our side of the border, and we ship them anywhere they want to go.

So it is no wonder that we would have a request for this administration asking for billions more money to process folks. Another $2.2 billion was mentioned. I saw another article where it lists the different components that the administration wanted to do. If you add up all the different requests and different ways that this administration wants to use the money from American taxpayers, and it is to take money away from Americans who are here legally who are working and who are struggling to provide for themselves and their family, take their money away and give that to people who are coming in illegally.

There was a law I found out about in England visiting with some of their social security-type folks in their government. They have a law that you are supposed to be there for 5 years contributing to that social security-type system for 5 years before you can ever make a claim for a dime of it. Now, I hear there are abuses of that system because they may not have the best control over it, but it is a system that we have in this country and some other countries. You are taking money from people that earned it and giving it to people who are breaking the law.

If you do that long enough, that place that at one time was a shining light on the hill goes broke. The light goes out. Once that happens in America, as friends from other parts of the world have said: If you lose your freedom in America, the rest of the world has no chance.

You will realize historically a United States of America where people will go fight for freedom, they will create strength, a strong economy in their own country, strong enough because they enforce the rule of law across the board and become strong enough economically that they will go shed their blood and spend their money to get freedom for people who are suffering under the forces of evil.

Every now and then you have a President like Jimmy Carter who will say: Let's get rid of the Shah. Then he welcomes the Ayatollah Khomeini who was, as he said, a man of peace which opened Pandora's box. Radical Islamists had been put in a box for many decades, but President Carter was complicit in helping because he is a well-intentioned man, a good man and well intentioned--yeah, maybe a little anti-Israel, but he wanted to help folks. Out of his ignorance on radical Islam, he, for the first time in many decades, placed radical Islamists in charge of a massive military and a whole country. Since then, the world has been paying a very heavy price for what happened.

So we have a job to do. We took an oath in this body to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. As Donald Trump was saying yesterday in Ohio: our devotion and our oath is to one country.
We say a pledge to a flag. That used to be true. It used to be that people learned enough history.

I love history. People like coach Sam Parker inspired me to love history. We learned it, and we knew what it took to keep a republic, madam, if we could. Because of Federal intervention in education, we have not helped our kids in suffering schools. We have made them subjects to this master Federal Government: You do what we say or we don't send you any of the money you sent to us. We will fix up our offices, we will fix up a massive bureaucracy, and we will dictate to you from on high what we want done regardless of what Congress says.

They are not as bad as the Corps of Engineers, the EPA, and the FDA have been recently; but they have really not helped. As I said to President Bush's Secretary of Education--a very nice person. She had helped, I think, Texas schools when she was in Austin, but then she came here and disregarded the 10th Amendment and the Constitution that did not enumerate education as a Federal power. It was reserved to the States and the people. She began acting unconstitutionally.

As I explained to her, you ought to come to Gladewater, Texas. There is an amazing school there that helps between 120 and 130 special needs kids. One of them, if he touches something shiny, he has had a big day, and you mandate that they have to do a test for that child. They had a child at the Saint Louis School in Tyler.

They told her she needed to come visit because they had a goal that by the end of the year this young man would be able to stick a fork in a piece of food and get it to his mouth. The goal they believed was reachable, but because the Federal Government was involved and they say, You don't get any of the money you sent us from Texas unless you do exactly what we say, that was not allowed. They allowed an alternative test that if he could point to a sticker that had a picture of food on it by the end of the year, then he would pass the test and that school would get back money from the Federal Government that those Texas taxpayers had sent to it to siphon off for whatever they wanted. So by the end of this year, that special needs young man--severe special needs--was able to point to a sticker that had a picture of food, but he could not feed himself.

That is the kind of insanity that has only gotten worse over the last 8 years. I thought a silver lining to President Obama being elected President was at least he is going to end the No Child Left Behind Act because that would mean returning the power to the States and the people that knew what they were doing.

A few years ago we were far higher in the studies of the capabilities of schoolchildren. We have dropped. We are not doing so well. There may be improvement in one year over another, but if you really want to leave no child behind, then you need to stop coddling the teachers' unions and coddle the teachers by letting them do what they know is best, subject to local control. If they are not doing their job, you don't have to go begging to Washington or a teachers' union, you can go to the school board. If the school board won't do the right thing, you can run against them, get elected, and then fix it yourself.

When Sonny Bono in California ran up against a city manager that was so bigoted he would not let Sonny have the license to open his restaurant, that is how he got involved in politics. He found out who hired and fired the city manager--it was the mayor--so he ran for mayor, and the first thing he did was fire the abusive city manager. That is how a Republic system is supposed to work. It is a form of democracy, not a pure democracy, so that we can have ex post facto laws, and we can keep people from having their conduct criminalized after they committed it.

But we have got to hit the ground running at the first of the year and start the process of trying to heal America. President Obama did not make the school system better; he made matters worst.

We had a voucher program here in D.C. that minority kids--actually, it is the minorities are a majority here; minority elsewhere. These poor kids were suffering from a broken school system that had more than enough money to properly educate the kids, but kids were the victims of the bureaucracy.

What else has this Justice Department done? Well, they have gone around and started up racial tensions where there shouldn't have been.

They stirred up rumors that, for example, if you are a Black young man in America, you are 20 times more likely to be shot than if you are a White person in America of that same age, which is simply not true.
We saw in different parts of the country when we had a Black mayor or a Black police chief, he was not a racist, was not out to harm Blacks in America, but try to do justice by them. They ultimately found in most cases that had been brought, actually, the police were justified in what they were doing.

Since police are composed of human beings, there are going to be some rotten apples. When I was a judge, I saw one every now and then--very, very rarely. But every now and then you did. And I would contend, from my experience handling thousands of felony cases, that the law enforcement officers I dealt with have a much tinier percentage of problems than the general population of America. When we find a police officer who is abusive, who is problematic, he or she should be punished.

But after 9/11, America was jarred awake for the first time in decades and really began again to appreciate the job law enforcement officers have done for us to keep the peace, to allow us not to be beat up by a bigger bully on our block, but allow the law to be enforced more equally and fairly. It is never perfect. There is always room for improvement.

People began to appreciate our first responders without contempt because they were stopping traffic. And they began to appreciate our military more because it was willing to go lay down their lives for their friends, for the people in this country, which Jesus said was the greatest love. And he absolutely knew. He laid down his life for us.

But in the last 8 years, we have become so racially divided.

The regret I have from going back to Mount Pleasant is how choked up I got going back to my old high school that was so good to me, did such a great job--public-school educating me, my brothers, my sister. I loved Coach Willie Williams, and I saw him after so long and got a hug that just touched deeply. Somebody said: Did you take a picture? I didn't even think about a picture. I wasn't thinking picture. Here was a man that coached me, who would not put up with anybody using race. It didn't matter to Coach Williams. He expected us to perform. I wish I had gotten a picture. I have got to do that. What a great man.

Well, unfortunately, we have other information. There was a damning Department of Homeland Security report that exposed the administration's claim that as many as 81 percent of people attempting to cross the border illegally were apprehended from the port. We found out that actually it is not anything like 81 percent. It may be more like 54 percent.

Shockingly, the report's authors find that the estimated apprehension rate between ports of entry in 2005 was only 36 percent--and that was 2005. It has not gotten better, even though tricks of adjusting the statistics have gotten more multiplied.

We have got to defend our Nation, we have got to enforce the law, we have got to get this country back to being a shining light on the hill, instead of one overwhelmed by people who want to violate our law. They don't want to do it, but failing to enforce our borders will eliminate our ability to be the most generous country when it comes to visas and legal entry.

No other countries are massively larger in size--geographically in size or populationwise. No one awards more visas than we do--over 1 million. Yet, that will end up coming to an end with the failure to enforce the law. Particularly, there were problems in the Bush administration, the Clinton administration, the Bush administration before that, but it has just gone exponentially crazy over this administration, and we have got to get it under control.

One other thing: I continue to hear some in America say the days of the United States being a manufacturing powerhouse are over. Well, I know from history--and apparently Donald Trump knows from just his business instincts--that if a strong country cannot produce the things it needs to defend itself and defend freedom, it will cease being a free country after the next significant conflict. It is just a fact.

The Battle of the Bulge, so many don't realize, even as late as that occurred in World War II, it had a good shot of prevailing and driving the Allied forces from the bulge in the middle out to the water's edge.
But one of the most fundamental problems was they ran out of fuel.

Well, east Texas was the largest known reserve when it was discovered, and it provided plenty of oil. Our tanks had fuel, but, as we became more dependent on other countries, that became a problem.

American ingenuity has allowed us to find more natural gas and more oil. Now we find out in west Texas natural gas is far cleaner, and I hope and pray, under Donald Trump, we will move to use more of that.
If we don't get back the factories--and we didn't just lose them from the Rust Belt. I lost a lot of steel plants like Lufkin Industries. It got bought up by GE. They didn't care about Lufkin. They weren't going to sponsor any little-league teams. They didn't care. They just bought them up, took their patents. They told me their headquarters for that operation was in Italy, over in the Mediterranean. This is a company that doesn't pay us taxes, but the head of it is close friends with the President.

Well, it is time we got back to manufacturing steel in America, steel pipe in America, manufacturing what we need to make tanks, planes, cars, and buses. Do that here. It is time we got back jobs to make paper. We have renewable resources here we quit using. They are not sequoias. They are not redwoods. They are pine trees. They grow back every 20 years. You can find pictures of places in east Texas where there were no trees, and yet, after the timber industry came in, they became forested again.

We can become great again, but we have got to be more responsible. We have got to protect our borders from those who want to do us harm and violate our laws. If we would do that, a 10-year-old little girl in my county would be alive today.

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