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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2021

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 3, 2021
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. Speaker, the so-called budget before us ``squanders the opportunity to start this new Congress working together to address the concerns and priorities of the American people in a constructive and bipartisan manner.''

Mr. Speaker, those are not my words. That is what was said at this very same moment in 2017 by my colleague across the aisle who is now chairman of this committee. You see, he found the very same process they are starting today to be so objectionable, so one-sided, so partisan, such an abuse of power, that he spoke in opposition for an hour to the very same thing the House Democrats are doing now.

The truth is, I look forward to the time my colleague on the other side and I can actually formalize our committee, welcome our members, organize, and develop an oversight plan for the new administration, but that has yet to happen.

But here we are on the floor with a bill already; a so-called budget resolution; a resolution which, in reality, isn't any sort of budget. It is simply a mechanism for the Democrat leaders to enact a radical agenda rejected by Americans this fall. They know it. It was rejected because their caucus is much smaller now today than it was before the election.

So why are they doing this?

While five different COVID stimulus packages were negotiated and ultimately signed into law on a bipartisan basis over the last year, they apparently now need a more one-sided approach, one which is much more partisan and bends the rules to radicalize this Congress and the policies it produces. Quite the opposite of the speech we all heard from out in front of this building 2 weeks ago today.

The power of our example, isn't that what we were told?

Well, what is the example here?

That the unification, the bipartisanship, and work-together attitude that the President called for were just empty words for the House majority. Though I suppose with this partisan process, our House Democrat colleagues are, in a sense, following the example of President Biden from his first days in office.

President Biden has spent his first few days signing one executive order after another and pushing policies that will destroy American jobs, make our country less secure, and raise the cost of living for American families. I will just name a few:

Canceling the Keystone XL pipeline directly eliminates an estimated 11,000 jobs, including 8,000 union jobs.

Enacting a 60-day moratorium on new mining, oil and gas leasing, and permitting on Federal lands will cause severe damage to America's economy and energy independence, and will result in the loss of over 100,000 jobs.

Mr. Speaker, 100,000 Americans are fired by the stroke of a pen.

Returning the U.S. to the failed Paris Agreement of 2015 will reduce U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing and next-generation technologies, as industries move to China.

Terminating a national emergency declaration which immediately stops all wall construction at the Southern border leaves American taxpayers with an incomplete government project and the loss of thousands of jobs.

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Americans are, once again, fired, again, by the stroke of the President's pen. That is a powerful example by the President of how to make life harder for the working class and to weaken America.

Again, I come back to: Why is this happening today?

I think the American people deserve to know, and the answer is simple: Democrats in Washington are setting up a partisan process to have the Vice President cast the decisive vote in the Senate on an array of radical policies.

At worst, their plans are to try and use this pandemic to seize more government control of your life; to grow government power over your healthcare choices; to place new rules, mandates, and regulations on your small businesses; and to grant citizenship to millions here illegally.

At best, their plan is to actually award hundreds of billions of dollars to the very same State governments which are shutting down our schools, telling restaurants they can't open, and keeping families locked inside. They want to bail out their political allies who are telling small businesses they can't open, who are blocking Americans from going into their houses of worship, and who are ruining more families by the day.

America is suffering right now, but they are suffering because of the choices, the mandates, and the lockdowns being put in place by government. We all know the quote from President Ronald Reagan: ``The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: `I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.' ''

Well, I think there are about 3,800 more families who have loved ones in New York nursing homes, who would agree with that statement right now.

Government harm has gone on long enough. It needs to stop, yet we are setting up a process today to give hundreds of billions more to those very same State governments. The numbers don't lie. Adding in the President's $2 trillion proposal from earlier this month, we will have spent $6 trillion in less than 1 year in so- called COVID-19-related stimulus. That is larger than the GDP of every country on Earth other than the U.S. and China. It is the equivalent of $17,000 per every American and $70,000 per household.

Do families really feel like they have gotten $70,000 out of their government in the last year?

No way.

What is worse is we have now crossed over. Government policies are now making the crisis worse, resulting in millions of needless deaths. Suicide rates among adults and children are way up. The U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, just this past month, said that, over the next 15 years, more than 890,000 Americans could die as a direct result of the unemployment caused by COVID-related lockdowns.

Here was the headline in The New York Times last week: ``Surge of Student Suicides Pushes Las Vegas Schools to Reopen.''

Lockdowns, mandates, closures, virtual: It is unrealistic, not sustainable, and not the way.

Under remote virtual learning, students are not getting the instruction they need, especially those who may not have access to reliable broadband. Not to mention the mental health and emotional development needs that are not being met.

If we want to support families and communities, let's follow the science and let's reopen our schools. Our country is about giving Americans the power of information and letting them decide what is best for their family and for their loved ones, not government telling them: Stay indoors; don't see your family; and I am going to destroy your job, small business, and everything you have spent your life building.

So here we are, setting new precedent under the Democrat-controlled House. In more than 30 years, Congress has never voted on a House- originated budget that has not first gone through committee.

For what?

To bail out the very governments who are the ones costing families everything right now.

Is this how the Democrats intend to govern: to put Government ahead of the people?

I remind my friends that the power of the majority is a fleeting thing, and the American people are watching.

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Mr. SMITH of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from Massachusetts. I will remind him that the government there in his State has already received $7.5 billion in bailouts and, under this plan, would receive an additional $7 billion. During the lockdown there in his State, more than 2,500 small businesses have been closed and the death rate has been more than the top five in the Nation.
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Mr. SMITH of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from New York. I will remind him that his State government has already received $28.5 billion in bail-out money and, under this proposal, would receive $20.5 billion under the plan; while that very same government has enacted some of the strongest lockdown policies in the Nation, resulting in the closure of more than 6,500 small businesses in the State of New York, with an unemployment rate currently at 8.2 percent. And the State of New York also has the second highest COVID- related deaths per capita in the Nation.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the gentleman from Oregon saying that this is unprecedented. What is unprecedented is that this is the first time that a budget resolution that originated in the House bypassed the Budget Committee.

Reconciliation has been used numerous times, but this is the first time in the history of this country that the Democrats bypassed the Budget Committee in a budget resolution that originated in the House. The people are watching, Mr. Speaker.

I also appreciate the gentleman from Oregon. I will remind him that his State government has already received $4.5 billion in bailouts, and they will receive another $4.5 billion in bailouts while their State has locked down small businesses, costing more than 1,000 small businesses to close their doors.

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Mr. SMITH of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentlewoman from Texas. I will remind her, as we debate how to improve the economy, the administration's hostility to the energy industry, as demonstrated by his executive orders, threatens at least 120,000 jobs in the State of Texas.

As a freshman, he has already shown leadership as a true defender of conservative principles.

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Mr. SMITH of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from Pennsylvania. I will remind him that his State government has already received $14 billion in bailouts. They will receive another $13.5 under this plan while that very same State government has enacted lockdown policies, causing the closure of more than 3,000 of their small businesses.

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Mr. SMITH of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from Virginia. I will remind him that his State government has already received $6.5 billion in bailout money, and they will receive another $9 billion under this plan while that very same government has enacted lockdown policies directly leading to the closure of more than 2,000 small businesses.
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Mr. SMITH of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from California. I will remind him that his State government, yes, indeed, has already received $43 billion in taxpayer bailouts and will receive another $42 billion in taxpayer bailouts if this bill passes.

But let's talk about California. This is the State that has some of the most stringent lockdowns in the entire country. In fact, their lockdowns are so significant that more than 16,500 small businesses will never open their doors again. That is government that believes that it is okay to deny you to go to your house of worship and to eat out in an outdoor restaurant, but you can go to a strip club or get a tattoo. That is California.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from New Jersey, and I wanted to remind the Chamber that his State government has already received $9.5 billion worth of taxpayer bailouts and under this proposal, would receive an additional $9.5 billion under this plan, while that very same government has enacted lockdown policies directly leading to the closure of more than 3,000 small businesses.

And that State, very sadly, actually has the highest per capita death rate of all States in the United States.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight that just in the last couple of days, the Congressional Budget Office released a report that, in fact, the economy will strengthen, grow, and recover without any additional stimulus dollars by the middle of 2021. You are looking at in just 5 to 6 months, the Congressional Budget Office said that the economy will recover without one single penny being spent of stimulus money.

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Mr. SMITH of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentlewoman's comments, and the best way to help her constituents and to help those small businesses in the State of New York is to stop the lockdowns.

Mr. Speaker, we have more than $1 trillion that is lingering out there that has been appropriated to help these small businesses, to help healthcare professionals, to help with vaccinations. They are still hurting, but the money is still there.

Mr. Speaker, what is happening so bad in the State of New York is that they are not using science. They are using arbitrary items that have shut down more than 6,500 small businesses in the State of New York. Open up the State of New York so small businesses can operate and grow.

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Mr. SMITH of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, the last 2 weeks, working-class Americans have faced a great target on their backs from the new President. By the stroke of a pen--47 different executive orders and actions--he has fired hundreds of thousands of American workers.

Mr. Speaker, by the stroke of a pen, in the last 2 weeks, the sitting President has fired hundreds of thousands of American workers who are wondering where their next paycheck will come from, who are wondering how they are going to pay their mortgage, who are wondering how they are going to survive in South Dakota, North Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado.

Just because this President was trying to unify his liberal base, he fired hundreds of thousands of American workers. It is war on the working class.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from Michigan, and I will remind him that his State government has already received $10 billion in taxpayer bailouts and will receive another $10.5 under this plan.

However, if President Biden wouldn't have done 1 of his 47 executive orders, his State would have received another $230 million. But the President shortchanged the State of Michigan by $230 million because of one of his 47 strokes of the pen in the last 2 weeks. So, I think the gentleman would be a little upset with his President for that action.

Also, because of the lockdowns, the State of Michigan has lost more than 3,500 small businesses. Such a shame.

Mr. JACOBS of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the budget resolution put forth by the majority.

Rather than seek bipartisan consensus, Democrats are effectively shutting out Republicans through this reconciliation process. The Democrats are proposing to spend $1.9 trillion, one of the largest single expenditures in U.S. history.

They will be funding this historic expenditure by dramatically increasing our national debt, and these unprecedented and historic obligations are being undertaken without engaging in the Budget Committee at all.

Just because the Democrats have control of both Houses and the Presidency does not mean they should be abusing this power, bypassing the important and deliberative role of the legislative process instead of working in earnest with the Republican Members.

In the 116th Congress, we were able to find bipartisan consensus on COVID relief, and I believe we can do the same here now.

This go-it-alone approach is very unfortunate because there are many provisions in President Biden's proposal that I could support. I have been calling for additional aid to local governments since I arrived here in Congress this summer. Further, we most definitely need more resources to ensure a more robust deployment of vaccines throughout the Nation.

This partisan approach to relief legislation is damaging and unproductive. I hope the majority will reconsider this process.

I want to believe President Biden's calls for unity, bipartisanship, and cooperation. I was encouraged to see the talks between the White House and the Senate Republicans. This is exactly how we should be working to address the needs of the American people.

During these very challenging times, I stand ready and willing to work with the Biden administration and any of my colleagues across the aisle to help the American people.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Nevada for his comments and how we are eager to work in a bipartisan approach in this package. That is why we are kind of frustrated, because our committee has not even organized so that we could even have a discussion on a bipartisan approach.

Instead, the majority's side decided to force through this reconciliation without even going through the Budget Committee because they have not even organized.

So, I would love to work with them, but you have already closed the door. Hopefully, you will reopen it so we can discuss this, and I would love to work with him.

Also, in my State, in my congressional district, we have operated under what I believe are the best processes in fighting COVID, not locking down and shutting the doors on your small businesses.

We have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the State of Missouri, thanks to the leadership of Governor Parson. Also, we have the lowest death rates of COVID in our State, thanks to the leadership of Governor Mike Parson.

I wish the States of Nevada, California, and New York, and a lot of other States, would open up and stop the lockdowns and follow the science. Then, there wouldn't be bailout pieces of legislation to go to the States that have made the wrong choices.

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Mr. SMITH of Missouri.

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Mr. SMITH of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from Texas, but I would like to remind this Chamber again that the administration's hostility to the energy industry has demonstrated by just the stroke of a pen his executive actions have threatened at least 120,000 jobs in the State of Texas.

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

Mr. Speaker, if this Chamber really cared about helping the working class, we would first call on the schools to reopen immediately; end the small business lockdowns so Americans can get back to work; and stop the President's job-killing executive orders, which are firing hundreds of thousands of Americans.

I stand ready, with my colleagues, on policies that will help support the working class. I look for the opportunity that we actually come into the Budget Committee, where we can work together and help the working class.

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