Providing for Consideration of H.R. Protect and Serve Act of Providing for Consideration of S. Veterans Cemetery Benefit Correction Act; and Providing for Consideration of H.R. Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018

Floor Speech


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 891 and ask for its immediate consideration.


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I claim time in opposition to the point of order and in favor of consideration of the resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I don't claim to know as much about the farm bill as my friend from Massachusetts does. He has the privilege of representing his constituents both on the Rules Committee and on the Ag Committee.

I represent my constituents on the Rules Committee and on the Budget Committee. I work with CBO day in and day out, as my colleague knows.

CBO is absolutely charged with being the nonpartisan scorekeeper in all of these budgetary matters. But as the gentleman recalls, having worked for a former member of the Rules Committee himself, when Republicans passed and President Clinton signed the unfunded mandates point of order, it was designed with one goal and one goal only in mind, and that was to make sure that when Congress acts, it considers the impacts of folks back home. It considers whether or not it is shirking a responsibility in Washington and shifting that responsibility to State and local governments back home.

I will tell you with certainty, Mr. Speaker, that not a single Member on this side of the aisle has wavered in that commitment from when this bill passed in 1995 until today.

What my friend from Massachusetts references are programs that are implemented by the States in order to receive a Federal benefit. We see this happen all the time, day in and day out. You get all the transportation money that you want, but you need to alter your speed limit if you want to receive that transportation money. You can get all the transportation money you want, but you need to deal with your drinking age if you want to get that money.

What we are talking about today at its core, Mr. Speaker, is whether or not, at a time when we have the lowest unemployment rate in my lifetime, at a time when we have more jobs available to be filled in America than ever before in American history, whether it is a burden to say if you want to receive a Federal benefit, that being food stamps, that you should try to find a job first. If you can't find that job, we should get you enrolled in a job training program so that you can find the job.

At the end of the day, the farm bill aims to do two things with the SNAP program: number one, is continue to provide a safety net for families in need. But number two, to make sure it remains that net and tries to lift folks out of poverty instead of trap them in poverty for generations to come.

Mr. Speaker, this unfunded mandates point of order, I was in Congress at the time that it passed, has been a speed bump, a needed speed bump in the consideration of legislation time and time again.

Now, sadly, more often than not, we see it as a dilatory tactic on the House floor. We see it raised as something just to try to slow down the process and gum up the works.

That is not what is happening here today. I want to stipulate that that is true.

My friend from Massachusetts raises a legitimate concern, but what I would say to my colleagues is this is a task, an obligation that has been placed on the States in consideration of receiving a Federal benefit. Folks are not mandated to do anything at all, but if we are to participate in the program, if folks are to continue to work through the program, if we are to get people back to work, if we are to provide this safety net, if we are to succeed on behalf of our constituents, as we all want to do, then we are going to have a partnership between the Federal Government and the State governments to make that happen.

Again, I respect my friend from Massachusetts, Mr. Speaker. He is an authority on the farm bill and an authority on the SNAP program. But as far as the unfunded mandates point of order goes, I would encourage my colleagues to reject that request today and to vote in favor of proceeding with consideration of the bill.

Mr. Speaker, again, I recognize my friend's passion. I tell you, this is not going to be the end of my friend's passion. We are going to be here for another hour, together, talking about the farm bill, and I suspect we will see even a new degree of passion because my friend from Massachusetts is incredibly committed to his point of view on the SNAP program.

What I would tell you, Mr. Speaker--and I will speak on behalf of my Governor from the great State of Georgia; I will speak on behalf of my legislators and my administrators in the great State of Georgia--folks want to be a part of lifting people out of poverty. Nobody wants to be a part of trapping people in a cycle of poverty, and there is absolutely, Mr. Speaker, a degree of complicity that this Chamber has often been involved in by saying: This is the best we can do. We can't do any better, and we are just going to resign ourselves to the fact that generational poverty will continue. I say nonsense, and this bill is a step in the right direction.

I share my friend's frustration that what should have been a bipartisan farm bill, what traditionally is a bipartisan farm bill, went off the rails somewhere in the process and folks walked away from the table. We can assign blame however we choose to do it; but in this case, Mr. Speaker, we are talking about a bill that is going to take a major step forward in lifting folks out of poverty, a major step forward in putting people back to work, a major step forward in making sure that folks who receive Federal benefits are those who need Federal benefits, but those who have opportunities to do more and to do better for their families have partners in both their Federal and State governments to make that happen. I think that is what all my colleagues here want.

I encourage my friends to reject my friend's point of order and to vote to consider this bill today.


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), an Ag Committee member and my fellow Rules Committee member, 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.

I thank my colleagues for standing with me to consider this rule and then these three underlying measures today. General Leave

Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, the rule before us today, House Resolution 891, makes in order three pieces of legislation. The one that you heard discussed already today is H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. Two other measures included in this rule are H.R. 5698, the Protect and Serve Act of 2018, and S. 2372, the VA MISSION Act of 2018.

Mr. Speaker, as you know, this week is Police Week, and police officers serving our communities every day with distinction get this 1 week a year that we all take a moment to pause and say thank you. President Trump made that point yesterday just outside the Capitol talking about these heroes who put their life on the line absolutely every day.

To quote the President, he said: ``Your moms and dads were among the bravest Americans to ever live'' when he was talking to the children of fallen officers. Of course, he was absolutely right.

For that reason I am particularly pleased that the rule today brings up the Protect and Serve Act of 2018. It brings it to the floor under a structured amendment process. The bill makes it a Federal crime to intentionally cause or to attempt to cause serious bodily harm to any law enforcement officer. I say that again, Mr. Speaker. It makes it a Federal crime to attempt to cause or intentionally cause serious bodily harm to any law enforcement officer.

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to speak in the absolute strongest terms when we speak on behalf of our men and women in law enforcement uniforms. In fact, just last night in the Rules Committee, my friend, Mr. McGovern from Massachusetts, said there is virtually no disagreement between the parties and the Chambers on this legislation.

Another bill we can agree on, Mr. Speaker, is the VA MISSION Act. In fact, I was with one of The American Legion chapters in our district just Monday talking about the very provisions in this bill and how they can make a substantive difference for our men and women who have served us in the Armed Forces.

This is a four corners agreement bill, Mr. Speaker, and by four corners, I mean the chairmen and the ranking members on the House side and on the Senate side have agreed on this legislation. They have worked together on this legislation, and they have put it together in a way that we can all be proudly supportive of that final product.

Let me tell you what this bill will do in specifics, Mr. Speaker.

It consolidates seven duplicative community care programs into one program that is easier for our veterans to understand and to access. It ensures that the Veterans Choice Program has enough funding to continue working for our veterans for yet another year as the committees continue to perfect that program. I am sure you hear the same constructive counsel that I do, Mr. Speaker. Good for Congress for letting us opt out so that we can get the services we need quickly. But the Veterans Choice Program still has work to do to get those agreements approved promptly and get those doctors reimbursed promptly.

The VA MISSION Act, Mr. Speaker, also creates a fair and transparent process for a comprehensive audit of the VA's physical facilities. Where are those regions of the country that are underserved? Where are those regions of the country where consolidation would better serve?

The VA can transform its aging infrastructure. This bill provides a comprehensive audit process so that we can modernize the VA for today's veterans. It expands the caregiver program, Mr. Speaker, to provide the benefits to pre-9/11 veterans so that they are in parity with those benefits of post-9/11 veterans, and it provides VA provider recruitment and retention efforts so that our veterans have access to those medical personnel that they desperately need.

These reforms aren't just supported by those four corners that I mentioned, the Republicans and Democrats who lead the Veterans' Affairs Committee in the House and who lead the committees in the Senate, but they are also supported by over 30 veterans' service organizations from across the country, Mr. Speaker, as Chairman Roe highlighted in the Rules Committee just last night.

I don't pretend that these measures do everything for everyone, Mr. Speaker. They do not. But it is another in a long step of bills making progress on behalf of the American people. Whether we are talking about our men and women in law enforcement uniforms, Mr. Speaker, or whether we are talking about our men and women who have worn our military uniforms, it is another example of how Chairman Roe and Ranking Member Walz and our colleagues in the Senate are taking steps forward to repay our debts.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, as we have already heard discussed, this rule would make in order H.R. 2, our Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. It doesn't just make in order the base text, Mr. Speaker, it also makes in order 20 amendments that have been offered by both Republicans and Democrats in this Chamber who would like to try to make that bill even better. Twenty amendments have been made in order already, and when we finish debate here on the floor, my colleague from Massachusetts and I will return to the Rules Committee upstairs, and we will consider yet another round of amendments this afternoon so that we can continue to perfect this bill throughout the week.

Mr. Speaker, one rule, three bills--three bills that have the ability to make a difference for families across the country north, south, east, and west. I hope my colleagues will support this rule, get involved in that underlying debate, and support those bills on final passage as well.


Mr. WOODALL. Asking single, working-age, healthy, nondisabled men to go to work is going to make their life harder. Going to work every day is hard. But I would also say to my friend that it is going to make their life better. It is a value that we should share, not a value that we should repudiate.

This happens to be an area of disagreement, Mr. Speaker. There are so many areas of agreement we could be focusing on.

I agree with my friend. I think, as a general rule, partisan approaches are the wrong way. This is certainly not what my chairman desired. It is certainly not where any of us wanted to end up. When folks walk away from the table, it is where we do in fact end up.

This is the start of the process. This is not the end of the process. I regret the way that this has sorted out for my ag friends. But we can't do nothing because folks have gotten up and walked away from the table. We have to continue to do what our constituents have asked us to do, and this is a good step in that direction.

Mr. Speaker, the farm economy is the biggest contributor to Georgia GDP. Georgia families wake up every day back home and go out and often, in some cases, are working land that their father worked before them and their grandfather worked before them.

We have had the Georgia Farm Bureau in town pleading with us to bring some certainty to ag policy.

There are two parts to a farm bill, for all the reasons that folks who got here long before I did can explain: why it is we do a food stamp half of a farm bill and an actual farmer half of the farm bill.

It is so often true that the SNAP program gets all the conversation, Mr. Speaker. But as you heard from my friend from Colorado, while the money is not where the farmers and those farm families are, that is certainly where the policy is.

It has been true time and time again that, in a collaborative, bipartisan, bicameral way, we have come together as a House and a Senate and moved policy forward to provide market certainty for those farmers.

You don't always appreciate the farmers in your community, Mr. Speaker, when you can go to the grocery store and grab anything you want at absolutely any time you want. Those things don't happen by accident. They happen with a whole lot of sweat equity, a whole lot of risk- taking, and, candidly, with a whole lot of prayer going on across farm communities in this land.

This bill responds to some of the marketplace needs that we are finding in the 21st century. You are going to see those collaborative veins throughout this measure, Mr. Speaker. I hope my colleagues will look not just at the SNAP program, but also at the certainty that we will provide to the very hardworking farm families across this country.

Mr. Speaker, it is my first time on the floor with our new colleague from Pennsylvania. I appreciate not just his service here, but his service to our country in general. I feel his pain.

It is a good bill, but it is not a perfect bill, and we have got ways to do it. I have been here 7 years. I come down here time and time again to find good bills, Mr. Speaker, and I am always frustrated that we can't get it there.

What I have determined, Mr. Speaker, that I will share with you and with my friend from Pennsylvania is that the reason is because you folks don't agree with me. That is what I have decided is why I can't get to those perfect bills, because try as I might, I cannot get 434 other people to agree with me on everything all the time.

I will tell my friend from Pennsylvania, Mr. Speaker, the most discouraging day I have had in this institution was after we passed the Budget Control Act and we picked four of our finest Republicans and four of our finest Democrats from the House and also four from the Senate--Republicans, Democrats--and we locked them in a room together for 3 months. We said: Look at some of these mandatory spending programs like you have talked about. Look at the discretionary programs. Across-the-board budget cuts are nonsensical. They don't reflect American priorities at all. So get together, talk to one another, work through it, and figure out a way that we can make the books balance so we don't mortgage our children's and our grandchildren's futures but so that we also keep the commitments that we have made to families today.

They met for 3 months, and they walked out of that room having looked at hundreds of trillions of dollars in Federal spending and agreed on not one penny of change together. I cannot tell you, Mr. Speaker--well, you remember how discouraging that day was.

Moving these dollars from mandatory spending to discretionary spending is absolutely going to put additional pressures on the budget process--I see my friend from Minnesota nodding his head; he is a true champion for our veterans--but, by golly, we have got to stand up and say yes to those dollars.

I got excoriated back home for voting in favor of raising the nondefense discretionary limits, but I have to go home and tell the story of how I am meeting promises to veterans that were not going to get met otherwise. I have got to go home and tell the story about how I am meeting promises for children that weren't going to get met otherwise. And I have got to go home and tell the story of how I don't have 218 votes to do it my way, and the only way to get anything done around here is in partnership.

Candidly, Mr. Speaker, we don't have a better example than the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Mr. Walz' leadership, Dr. Roe's leadership. Time and time again, I see these two men go and not follow their own hearts and passions but try to do what is best for everyone, try to find a way forward when folks had bet against them and said you couldn't find a way forward.

I hear the concerns of my new colleague from Pennsylvania, Mr. Speaker, and I believe he is absolutely right; we are going to run up against that conversation next year. The question is will we have the courage to stand up together and fund those priorities next year.

I am looking forward to the great outpouring of bipartisanship we are going to see in support of the VA MISSION Act today, and I will look forward to the great outpouring of support when the funding time comes to make sure we are as committed to those promises tomorrow as we are together this afternoon.


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I do not have any further speakers remaining, so I am prepared to close when the gentleman from Massachusetts is, but I will reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, my friend from Minnesota mentioned folks who might be watching this debate from their offices or from their homes. I think it is a shame that we don't often get to the core of what some of our disagreements are.

As we sit here today, it is a fact that there are more job openings in America than at any other time in American history. That is a fact.

It is a fact that, as we sit here getting ready to move further into the new millennium, there are more able-bodied single men out of the workforce than ever before--that is a fact--folks who have decided not to work.

Now, there is no disagreement in this body about providing food assistance to hungry kids--none. None. The disagreement in this body is whether or not, with more job openings than ever before in American history, with more employers saying they cannot find workers, with more employers saying ``we need to find new visa programs to get unskilled labor into America because we don't have enough unskilled workers to do the work here in America''--should the working families who pay the bills in this country support able-bodied, childless, healthy men?

That is part of the question, and I would think that is something on which we can agree. But we are not going to have that pointed conversation, Mr. Speaker, because there are more sympathetic targets to go after.

If you walk in to a USDA facility or your State facility that is administrating and you apply for food stamps, Mr. Speaker, if you qualify for food stamps, you will get them. You heard my friend from Massachusetts reference categorical eligibility. That means if you qualify for a different benefit, not food stamps, we will throw in food stamps, too.

Well, now, to be fair, that idea came about in some conservative circles, as well, to say let's eliminate some of the paperwork requirements. Let's make it easier for folks to apply for a whole host of benefits. But categorical eligibility, as it exists today, Mr. Speaker, says you don't qualify for the benefit on your own, but you do if you--if you qualify for a second benefit, we will give you this one as well.

Mr. Speaker, saying that you are going to eliminate categorical eligibility is to say you are going to give food stamps to people who qualify for food stamps. You are going to give SNAP benefits to people who qualify for SNAP benefits. If one wants to expand the pool of people who qualify for SNAP benefits, that is a debate that we can have.

But time and time again, Mr. Speaker, there are things on which we agree in this Chamber. Programs should follow the rules that programs have. People who qualify should get benefits. People who don't qualify shouldn't.

We are going to continue to have this conversation in the next couple of days, and it is going to continue to be highlighted as a source of vast disagreement among us. But if we were having this same conversation back home around the dinner table, if we were having this same conversation back home at a local park or veterans organization, we would say the very same thing: Hungry kids should have access to food, on this we agree; and healthy, childless working age men should have access to a job, on this we agree.

Mr. Speaker, I agree very much with what my friend had to say. She may be a freshman, but she has got a lot of experience working in departments of labor putting people to work, and I think that is a goal that we all share.

And, again, it is a missed opportunity. Undeniably, that is true, and there is lots of blame to go around about why it is a missed opportunity. Again, my friend from Massachusetts and I, we are going to go back up to the Rules Committee this afternoon. We are going to make some more amendments in order. We are going to work harder to try to perfect this bill.

But walking away from the table has consequences. Setting lines in stone has consequences. We are not going to get the best work product in this Chamber when anybody walks away from the table. I am just going to stipulate that is true. We never ever will.

But while my friend identified that the program benefits the elderly, the disabled, and children, and she is right, and it does, and I support that, she didn't mention those able-bodied, healthy, childless men who also benefit from the program. And we do those men a disservice, not a service, when we make that benefit available in the absence of job searching.

Categorical eligibility--we talk about it today like it is a word that we are hearing for the very first time. As my colleagues who were here remember, we have already been to the table on categorical eligibility. As my friend from Massachusetts referenced, States that have nothing to lose by giving away Federal money were gaming the system by giving away a dollar in State benefits so that folks could qualify for hundreds of dollars in Federal benefits.

Well, we came together in a bipartisan way and said: Hey, that is not right. That is not right. Folks should have skin in the game. We should be working at this together. It shouldn't be a giveaway program. It should be a helping program. We should be making a difference in people's lives.

We did that in a collaborative way. We can come back and tell the story differently today, but we remember coming together and doing that, and we can come together and do that again, Mr. Speaker. This isn't going to be our last opportunity. We are going to have another opportunity.

Nothing goes to the President's desk unless we get 10 Democrats in the United States Senate to get on board and do it. Collaboration is not the exception. It is the rule to get things to the President's desk and to pass new laws of the land.

I wish we could talk more about what those successes are, how we found those successes in the past, and how we remain committed to finding those successes again in the future.


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my time.

I told you when we started this debate, Mr. Speaker, you were going to hear some passion from my friend from Massachusetts because he is, in fact, passionate. He is a public servant, and he serves his constituency well.

But I want to read to you from Politico, one of our Washington, D.C., newspapers, that follows what goes on here in politics. I don't sit on the Agriculture Committee, as my friend from Massachusetts does, but Politico reported this, as talks around the farm bill broke down in March:

Bipartisan negotiations over the farm bill stopped--

There were bipartisan negotiations. Those negotiations stopped, Mr. Speaker.

Thursday afternoon, after House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson--

The ranking Democrat. --faced pressure from fellow Democrats, who complained that discussions about changes to the food stamp program were being kept secret.

My friend from Massachusetts mentioned that. I have that same frustration on committees that I serve, Mr. Speaker. Very often, the chairman of the committee, who is a Republican, and the ranking member, who is a Democrat, and their subcommittee chairmen very often they get together and have negotiations before rank-and-file Members get involved. It happens, and I am frustrated about it, and my friend from Massachusetts is frustrated about it.

The development--

Politico goes on to say. --is a considerable blow to the sweeping bill, which was seen by many as one of the only real chances for bipartisanship in this Congress. Congress is supposed to reauthorize the farm bill every 5 years, but political wrangling has threatened its fate. Current law expires September 30.

Peterson's decision--

Collin Peterson is the ranking Democrat. --to pause talks comes after House Democrats demanded that he stop negotiations until the text of the bill is made to everyone.

The Democratic Members have made clear that they unanimously oppose the farm bill's SNAP language as it has been described to them or reported in the press.

Well, Mr. Speaker, if when you hear things you don't like, or see things you don't like, you leave the negotiating table, I promise you we are going to get a worse result every single time.

I go up to this Rules Committee, right up here on the third floor, and we debate and talk and debate and talk and debate and talk hour upon hour upon hour, late into the evening, often into the next morning. I hear things I don't like. I hear people say things I know are not true. But I don't pick up my toys and go home. I stay at the table, I debate the issues, and I work through the issues. If it was easy, someone would have done it before this Congress got here. All that is left is hard.

My friend from Massachusetts is absolutely right, Mr. Speaker. He is absolutely right. He is absolutely right. If we are to reform the social safety net, we are going to have to expand benefits, not restrict them. He is absolutely right. But if we can't stay at the table to have that conversation, we are never going to bring people together to get that done.

You can't blame people who follow their self-interest. If the rule says you don't have to work, you don't have to work. If the rule says if you work too much, you will lose your benefits, then you don't work too much. That is crazy to encourage people to stay home.

You ought to be encouraging people to seek that next promotion, take on those extra hours, work that overtime. That has always been who we are and what we have done, and we have not taken on that challenge in welfare reform. I believe we can. I believe we can.

I need my colleagues to support this rule today. I need them to support the rule so we can bring up not just the farm bill, so that we can bring up the VA MISSION Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill that will go to the President's desk and change the lives of veterans.

I need my colleagues to support this rule, not just so we can bring up the farm bill, not just so we can bring up the VA MISSION Act, but so that we can make the harming or threatening the harm of a law enforcement officer a Federal crime, to give the men and women who wear blue across this country the protections they deserve.

This is a bipartisan bill, Mr. Speaker, that is going to make a difference for our constituents back home. These are going to be issues that get folks exercise, Mr. Speaker. The most difficult issues we take on always do.

But if we pass this rule and take up this legislation, we will be one step closer, not just to succeeding for our veterans, not just to succeeding for our law enforcement officers, not just to succeeding on behalf of our farmers, but one step closer to taking on what is a collaborative challenge of how to return the incentives to work to the American people, while keeping the social safety net strong for all of the families that depend on it.

Parliamentary Inquiry


Mr. WOODALL. I would be happy to yield a portion of it to my friend.


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for granting my unanimous consent request to reclaim my time. I do believe that we advantage all of our causes, rather than disadvantage them, by promoting debate.

But I want to take issue, Mr. Speaker. I didn't mischaracterize anything. I read the media reporting. I will be the first--when you want to have the fake news conversation--there is too much fake news in this country--I will be happy to join you and have that debate with you. But I didn't mischaracterize a thing.

I agree with what my friend had to say about Collin Peterson from Minnesota. He is a fabulous Member, who works as hard as he can on behalf of his constituents to get work done. Nothing in the article I read said Collin Peterson walked away from the table. Everything in the article I read said he was pressured by his Democratic colleagues to walk away from the table.


Mr. WOODALL. I will not yield again to my friend. I am going to close.

I take umbrage at the fact that we would have an opportunity to use each other's time, and you would use it to continue to say I mischaracterized, that we would have an opportunity to have a discussion, and you would continue to use it to say that folks just aren't as well informed as you are about those issues.

We have opportunities in this Chamber to make things better, and we have opportunities to make things worse. And I will say to my friend, Mr. Speaker, if we take advantage of our opportunities to make things better, I believe that we will. If we take advantage of our opportunities to make things worse, I am absolutely certain that we will.

I choose the latter. I choose the latter. A vote in support of this rule is a vote for the latter.

I am sorry, I am choosing the former. I am choosing the former. My colleagues out there are saying: Hey, I know Woodall; that is not right. He is not choosing to make things worse.

I choose the former, Mr. Speaker. I choose the former. A vote for this rule is a vote for the former.

Mr. Speaker, I apologize to the Chair for my confusion.

The material previously referred to by Mr. McGovern is as follows: An Amendment to H. Res. 891 Offered by Mr. McGovern

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. 5805) to designate certain amounts authorized to be appropriated for the provision by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs of hospital care and medical services in non- Department of Veterans Affairs facilities pursuant to contracts as changes in concepts and definitions for certain budgetary purposes, 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 among and controlled by the respective chairs and ranking minority members of the Committees on Veterans' Affairs and 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. 5805. ____ 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.