Providing for Consideration of H.R. Insider Trading Prohibition Act, and Relating to Consideration of H. Con. Res. Directing the President Pursuant to Section 5(C) of the War Powers Resolution to Remove United States Armed Forces From Hostilities in the Syrian Arab Republic That Have Not Been Authorized By Congress

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 4, 2019
Location: Washington, DC

We had to hustle over here today, Mr. Speaker. You were already here, and I appreciate your timely beginning of the House, but this is a different kind of day. Ordinarily, we have more 1 minutes, more folks celebrating high school teachers, local newspaper folks, and local philanthropic efforts, but as you might imagine, there are other things going on on the Hill today.

That is unfortunate because I come down here today not with a heavy heart that I often come with, from a Rules Committee perspective. Mr. Speaker, the Rules Committee is in charge of deciding whether or not to allow amendments, what to schedule for the floor. As a member of the minority, there are four of us up there on the Rules Committee with nine members in the majority, so we lose a lot. The time for bipartisan partnership happens before a bill gets to the Rules Committee.

Yesterday, what we saw transpire in the Rules Committee, Mr. Speaker, was not at all unprecedented. It is just not as common as I wish it were. That is that the committees of jurisdiction were working all the way up until the eleventh hour to come together on a bipartisan solution so that we wouldn't have to jam something through the Rules Committee.

I see my friend from Connecticut has come down to the floor. Mr. Himes, representing the majority on the Financial Services Committee, and Mr. Huizenga, representing the minority, talked about the partnership that came together, not to create the perfect bill, not to create the bill that I would have written, and, candidly, not to create the bill that my friend from Colorado would have written, but to have crafted a bill with give-and-take so that instead of spending time on this floor making statements, we are going to spend time on this floor making legislation.

We are going to have an actual opportunity, Mr. Speaker. I don't want to upset anybody's applecart here because so often we do spend more time trying to make a point than make a difference. This is a bill about making a difference today.

Not at all common, there were no Democratic amendments made in order to this bill. The two Republican amendments that were made in order are the perfecting amendments to seal that bipartisan compromise. I think we are going to end up with a big bipartisan vote on the board.

The only thing that gives me a heavy heart today, Mr. Speaker, is that I offered an amendment last night to add suspension authority for the Speaker of the House, Speaker Pelosi, to bring up a bill dealing with the widows and widowers of American servicemen and -women killed in action and the benefits that they are not receiving today. This is also a bipartisan bill. I offered an amendment to make that suspension authority in order. It was rejected on a party-line vote, so I am going to be opposing the rule today because I would like to be able to include those things.

But we did get a motion to recommit that will be made in order today, so I will have an opportunity, if we defeat the previous question, to bring up the NDAA bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, which does contain the widow's tax repeal and gives us an opportunity to do even more things together.

I see my friend from Georgia (Mr. David Scott) on the floor today. He serves on the Financial Services Committee with my friend Mr. Loudermilk from Georgia. We have two Georgians who serve on the committee of jurisdiction for this bill.

I always enjoy the Financial Services Committee because, historically, in my 9 years here, it has not been led by shrinking violets on either side of the aisle. There are those milquetoast committees on Capitol Hill, Mr. Speaker, that never make the news. Nobody ever gets a one-liner. Not so with the committee that my friend from Colorado and my friend from Georgia serve on.

But I like watching the vote tally because so often my friend Mr. Scott from Georgia and my friend Mr. Loudermilk from Georgia end up on the same side of the issue because, sadly, the only Financial Services Committee bills that make the headlines are those that highlight our strident differences here. But time and time again, the Financial Services Committee has had a record of producing bills that can go to the President's desk. They could go to President Obama's desk for his signature, and they can go to President Trump's desk for his signature.

I hope this turns out to be one of those exercises today, again, not an exercise in making a point but an exercise in making a difference.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share with my friend from Colorado that his expertise on the Financial Services Committee is valued by all of us on the minority side of the aisle.

It is a special kind of pain being in the minority on the Rules Committee, Mr. Speaker, because minority members have wonderful ideas, and friends on the other side of the aisle are constrained from how many of those ideas they can support, but we always get a word of encouragement from our friend from Colorado.

I know if he were sitting on the minority side, I would be feeling his pain, and he feels ours. He is always a voice for encouragement on that committee. We see that come back from the witnesses who have a chance to serve with the gentleman from Colorado, talking about how much they enjoy that partnership.

That is why I am particularly pleased I was assigned this rule today, because it exemplifies the kind of work that we want out of all of our committees, that we have gotten out of the Financial Services Committee this day and that my friend from Colorado works each and every day to bring forward, sometimes with more success than others, but nonetheless, it is appreciated.



Mr. Speaker, I want to associate myself with my friend from Connecticut. It has been true that we have spent too much time making policy statements and not enough time making policy. That has been true under leadership of both parties here. Though, the truth is, Mr. Speaker--and because I take great pride in this institution, I want to say it--we do spend more time making policy than we get credit for.

You can't see behind you, Mr. Speaker, but I am looking at the press gallery today, all the folks who are covering us reclaiming our Article I responsibilities today. We are not going to let the courts legislate in this area; we are going to legislate in this area. There is approximately one outlet there covering this today; others are elsewhere.

Again, we worked until the eleventh hour to put something together, a bipartisan compromise between the chairman and ranking member on the Financial Services Committee. The collective national presence to highlight that partnership is, again, one.

I don't know what we can do here to try to let success beget success. So often, these kinds of successes go right underneath the radar screen, and, thus, it makes it harder to accomplish these things. If I could make it clear to America that the tag team of Waters and McHenry can come together to get good things done, that certainly sends a message that there is hope for all of us in this space.

I want to go back to what my friend from Colorado said, though. He is absolutely right about the widow's tax. We did incorporate that bill in the NDAA. It has been sitting in the Senate doing nothing.

I wish we would have passed it as a stand-alone bill. That is a different conversation for a different day.

But it is sitting in the Senate, and there is nothing I can do, Mr. Speaker, to move the Senate along any faster. I can't get their conferees to work any harder.

But what I can do is I can get the House to take up the Senate-passed NDAA, and we can take back the authority in this institution to move the NDAA forward. It is important for the widow's tax, but, Mr. Speaker, it is important for so many other things absolutely essential to the defense of this country.

It has been one of those bills that we have come together in a bipartisan way to be successful on decade after decade after decade, and it is a stain on the success of the House and the Senate this cycle that we have not been able to move that forward in a bipartisan way.


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, in the same way that I can't speak to insider trading in that legislation any better than the gentleman from Connecticut does as a member of jurisdiction, I also cannot speak to the NDAA in any better words than my friend from Wyoming (Ms. Cheney), a former member of the Rules Committee, the Conference chairman for the House Republicans here, and an unabashed defender of providing the very best for our men and women in uniform.


Mr. Speaker, I was walking down the hall one day between the Capitol and the Budget Committee room, and I was walking with the now-chairman of the Budget Committee, Mr. Yarmuth from Kentucky. We were arguing because he is a committed budgeteer and I am a committed budgeteer. We were arguing about process and how it was that we were going to deliver the results that our constituents are demanding and that the Nation expects.

We were about halfway down that tunnel, past all that brilliant artwork that high schoolers send in, when we realized that we were saying exactly the same thing. I was just saying it in Republican terms; he was saying it in Democrat terms. We had been arguing then for about 5 minutes on what should have been bringing us together.

We end up in that space a lot here. Because my friend from Colorado does work so hard to reach out and be collaborative, I want to make sure that he didn't misunderstand my friend from Wyoming.

I could hear the frustration in her voice. My friend did not have the pleasure of serving with her on the Rules Committee, but when national security issues came up, she has been living this commitment as a member of the committee. When we do a continuing resolution, for my friend and me it is about an extra 2 weeks to solve disagreements. For her it is 2 weeks of lost ability to plan for national security.

When we get things done by December 31 and a deadline, we think of this as a great success. For her, it is an entire quarter that we couldn't plan for new threats and new challenges that are confronting the U.S. intelligence and defense establishment.

It is not just personal, it is truly life and death in a national security way.

If we defeat the previous question, what the gentlewoman from Wyoming was proposing is that we take up the Senate bill and amend it with all of those ideas that our conferees have already gotten together on.

Now, my friend is correct. The Senate has some challenges. I would argue it is a challenge that nobody has 60 votes over there, and so whether Republicans are leading the Senate or Democrats are leading the Senate, there is still no ability to move things past the filibuster threshold. But we can take up that bill, because I would say it is Democrats in the Senate holding it up. My friend from Colorado might say it is Republicans in the Senate holding it up. But we all agree that it is critically important that we get it done. So I don't want to slow down the insider trading bill, Mr. Speaker, and that is not what I am suggesting.

What I am suggesting is: If we defeat the previous question, we have already got section 1 and section 2 of the rule that covers the insider trading bill. Let's add a section 3 to the rule. In the same way the insider trading bill reclaims Article I responsibility from Article III courts, section 3 is going to reclaim from the Senate the House prerogative to move forward on legislation. We will bring up the Senate bill, we will add in all of the amendments that the Democratic chairman of the Armed Services Committee and the Republican ranking member want to include, and then we will move that bill forward.

Mr. Speaker, the insider trading bill is important, and we are going to get that done together. National security is even more important.

Again, while it is not the subject of national news coverage, this is something we have gotten done in a bipartisan collaborative way no matter who runs the U.S. House, no matter who runs the U.S. Senate, and no matter who sits in the White House for almost 60 years. Every single year bills fail, bills succeed, Presidents come, and Presidents go. We have gotten this done because it is important to 330 million Americans.

Keep section 1 of the rule and keep section 2 of the rule. Let's move forward on the bipartisan product of the Financial Services Committee. Let's add section 3. Let's defeat the previous question, let's reclaim from the Senate the NDAA papers, let's move forward with a House amendment, and let's send the Senate a bill that they can pass tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, I don't see any other speakers, and I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOODALL. Will the gentleman yield?


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I have got my Mars 2033 bumper sticker here if we are prepared to talk about other collaborative things moving forward, but I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.