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Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Madam Speaker, it is always impressive to hear Whip Clyburn speak.
Madam Speaker, I am going to try something. We talked about this over our Christmas break, that the first floor speech should be one that would be a bit more positive. As we started to work through the story, we wanted to tell and show some of the good things happening in the country, I came to a conclusion that I am going to have to, on a number of these, walk through how I believe the left's policies--maybe not intentionally--but are actually really causing harm to things that are really good for America, good for the world, good for everyone here.
So one of the things I am going to do is sort of walk through some really neat technologies and things that accomplish much of the good we want, and then sort of talk through a little bit of the policies that are being adopted here or promoted here that were actually screwed up.
Just before the Christmas break, we did a floor presentation because there was an article out that there substantially had been a cure--it was only one individual--but it was a proof-of-concept cure for type 1 diabetes. They basically took a stem cell, turned it into an islet cell, reinjected the islet--islet cells produce insulin--and it worked.
Obviously, we have all had our hearts broken over the years when we think there is a medical breakthrough, but this one has been being worked on for a decade.
I found another article, another research team, which actually took blood and then, using some hormones, took those blood cells and drove them back to functionally being a T cell, and then took the T cell being an islet cell--an insulin-producing cell. Why is this important?
That first article we talked about, saying this is a miracle, we now know how to cure type 1 diabetes. The problem was that one was going to require anti-rejection drugs. This methodology doesn't. You can cure type 1 diabetes and the individual because you did it from their blood. This is wonderful.
My reason for starting with this is if you dig through the paper and some of the comments and some of the smart people that fixate on this, they start to say this is also a path for many of our brothers and sisters who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
Why do we care so much about ultimately curing type 2 diabetes? First off, this is actually a separation. I think it is more because no one has really presented this to my brothers and sisters on the left. We had the discussion in the Ways and Means Committee about how to help populations, the Tribal populations. Many Members here, they have urban minority populations that have overwhelmingly suffered with diabetes. There becomes this conversation that we are going to build more medical clinics.
When you head in that direction, what you are basically selling is that you are going to help Americans live with their misery. What I am trying to drill into this place is let's move to cures because the cure is the most honorable, loving, caring, and also the most effective thing we can do.
Remember--it is going to be in my last couple boards--in about 29 years, the CBO says we are going to have $112 trillion of borrowed money, and that was on last year's calculation, in current dollars publicly borrowed, $112 trillion of borrowing. About 75 percent of that borrowing was just the shortfall in Medicare.
We know 31 percent of Medicare spending is diabetes. Cure diabetes and type 2--it is complex. You have to be willing to actually change incentives on what we eat, what we grow, what is produced in food, how we deliver nutritional support.
Now that we actually have a way--or, it looks like we are going to have a way to help our brothers and sisters deal with their autoimmune rejection and go back to producing insulin again.
It turns out, if it is true, that that path could be one of the most effective things ever in actually U.S. sovereign debt but also ending misery. We have a small problem, and we are going to get to that.
I am going to show you as we walk through this where Democrat policies will actually stillborn many of these technologies that end this suffering and also have these amazing impacts of making people's lives better, healthier, and actually having a real effect on this crazy amount of borrowing.
My calculation from last month is we are actually borrowing about $47,000 every second. As the next decade comes, that number goes up dramatically. If you care about people's retirement security, my little girl's economic future, that should be the fixation here. You can take it on by doing good things. It is not cutting and slashing programs. It is dealing with the drivers of that debt. It turns out healthcare costs are the primary driver of that debt.
I did this slide just because, A, I thought it was cute, but it also helps us sort of think where we are technology-wise. Yes, that is a group of kittens in a Starlink dish because it was warm, and everybody likes pictures of kittens.
More to the point, today I believe there was another Falcon 9 rocket sent up to space to distribute a bunch more of these low Earth-orbiting WiFi satellites--broadband satellites. If you take a step backward and look at the budget that the Democrats promulgated for broadband and then take a realization--hey, all of North America actually has broadband. The difference is it is not a wire; it is a satellite dish. Yes, the kittens are cute.
So my Tribal communities in Arizona that may be in the middle of nowhere, you know, a chapter house up in the Navajo reservation, they have broadband. They have been waiting for that broadband for decades, and this place keeps promising that we are going to run a piece of fiber, a piece of wire out there. Forgive my language, screw that. Put up the satellite dish--the small satellite dishes that are just a little larger than some of the big dinner plates. They have broadband. It would cost a fraction of what we are spending.
That would be actually having this place read about technology, encouraging our staff to pay attention to what is happening in the scientific world instead of this place sounding like we are debating from the 1990s. How much of what goes behind these microphones is functioning decades out of date, rhetorically, technology-wise? It is just very, very frustrating.
So one of my personal fixations--and we are going to talk about things like the Democrats' H.R. 3 and their approach to healthcare. There is a revolution happening, and it is called personalized medicine. We are about to--not about to. It has happened. I beg people to sort of think about this conceptionally. Disease is about to become a software program. Stop and think about that.
What we have learned on stem cells, messenger RNA, and some of the derivatives of messenger RNA, the fact of the matter is the cancer you have, the heart disease you have, the virus you have, even now the bacteria you may have in your bloodstream, by using the new technology, we are turning cures, but cures are functionally almost a software problem. We code it; we understand the DNA; we produce a cure.
Yet, the vision of the legislation where the left says, well, we are going to control pharmaceutical prices, crushes the very innovation that is about to cure people. It turns out those cures are the thing that crashes the price of healthcare because 5 percent of our brothers and sisters who have chronic conditions, chronic diseases, chronic ailments are the majority of our healthcare spending.
What the left has proposed is great politics. It is brilliant politics. Hey, we are going to go and functionally nationalize the pricing mechanisms by referring to Europe, and that is how we are going to price drugs. Yes, the economists who do pharmaceutical research say all these new innovative drugs are going to disappear, and we basically make Big Pharma bigger.
What you have done is you have crushed the capital for the innovative cures, and you take those that are the maintenance drugs, the things that maintain our misery, and you incentivize them just to make tweaks to maybe make them a little better and extend their patents. That is actually the outcome of the left's approach on healthcare.
I don't think it is done maliciously. I think it is just one of those occasions that you are going to see multiple times on these boards. Good intentions aren't necessarily good outcome. Virtue signaling doesn't mean that it worked. It just means that the left gets judged on good intentions, not on the outcomes.
Even in the new papers that are out in the last month or two talking about CAR-T, which is a derivative of functionally messenger RNA being used on heart disease--remember, heart disease is the number one killer as we get through this pandemic time.
What happens if that back-to-healthcare disease is substantially a software problem? We actually have a way to have an incredible impact on the number one killer in our Nation. This is a wonderful thing. This is a really good thing. This does not happen quickly under the left's H.R. 3 mechanisms. They will stillborn much of this technology, the investment in it, and the ability to bring it to market.
If the left and the right, if we actually give a darn, what we should be looking at here are the things that are disruptive that cure and what we do to get these technologies to our brothers and sisters as fast as possible. If it is true--and there now has been multiple research papers on this, and they are trying to now commercialize it, the ability for this to deal with the proteins that cause some of the heart damage, allowing the heart to heal, that it is really incredibly effective. This is wonderful because we did not have this a year ago, even conceptually, and it is here.
What happens if I come to you and say: Well, we have just learned how to do editing of small snippets of genetic code. We can end sickle cell anemia.
This is working. It is back to my constant of trying to pitch this concept of cure the disease, end the misery, don't do what is the rhetorical method around this place, saying it is great politics for me to offer more healthcare clinics because that way it looks like I just did something, and it helps my reelection. Yes, getting the actual cure to market might take a little bit longer.
Do you remember at the beginning of the pandemic when we talked about getting a vaccine and this concept where we would get a vaccine in less than a year? The debates we were having here were that, oh, that is pie in the sky, that is a fantasy, but it happened. It took a bunch of money. It took unleashing a lot of resources and freaky smart people and pushing the bureaucracy to become more efficient. But it happened.
Madam Speaker, could you imagine if we had that same type of passion to cure diseases? We know how to cure now sickle cell anemia. How do we get this to our brothers and sisters who are suffering instead of trying to come up with another way to just do the maintenance?
My argument behind this microphone right now is that these are wonderful things that are happening.
How do we keep the Democrats', the left's, policies from destroying this progress?
This is a little board that basically talks about the Democrats' H.R. 3--wonderful rhetoric. Every voter, right and left, Republican and Democrat, is frustrated with pharmaceutical prices. Okay, but do they understand that the mechanism being proposed by the left--basically, the economists tell us that there are dozens and dozens of cures that are real expensive.
Remember, many of these cures take billions and billions and billions of dollars of research just to get them to market, and a substantial number of them, a majority, fail. A lot of those costs are our fault. The bureaucratic mechanisms--and a couple of us have ideas on how to streamline that process and reduce that cost to get these revolutionary pharmaceuticals that cure to market. But this is really important.
There is one other thing on this board that needs to be understood. The left's pharmaceutical pricing proposal does something called reference pricing. They reach over to Europe, take a handful of countries there that actually have what they--think of it as a formula that says quality life years. So if this drug costs more than a certain amount of money for an additional quality life year, they don't buy it. There are countries over there that have pricing like I think in Great Britain was equivalent to 38,000 USD, that if the drug costs more than that, you can't get it. That will reduce drug prices. It will also kill a whole bunch of people, and it will end the resources for the cures that come in the future.
There are other ways to get there without crushing small pharma. That is basically the way that you make Big Pharma less big because you cure the very disease that the book of business over here makes money on by maintaining. This isn't hard economics. It is just math. And I accept this place is a math-free zone, but the math is the math.
There are good things happening. We just have to stop much of the Democrats' policies, which are crushing these opportunities because, look, it is great politics. The rhetoric is great politics. It is crappy economics.
I want to give you another simple example, Madam Speaker, and this one is more maybe closer to home, being from Arizona. A couple weeks ago, a big rig tractor-trailer--I believe it was on I-10 in Arizona-- drove a fairly substantial distance completely autonomously. No driver at all, completely autonomously.
Well, think about that. Let's take a step.
Didn't we hear President Biden--what was it, a few weeks ago?--talk about the supply chain: We don't have enough truck drivers. We are going to fix this. We are going to make it so goods can make it to the warehouses where they can be value added, the manufacturing, the store shelves.
This was part of it because the United States, one of our greatest difficulties is our demographics. The reality is we are getting much older very fast. I mean, what is it? The mean truck driver is somewhere in the mid-fifties. This is part of the solution. Okay. This is wonderful.
How much of this place is really fixated on the combination of resources, but it is also the regulatory, the litigation, and the liability standards to make this happen so it helps solve the transportation of goods here in the country?
It is wonderful, except one small problem. The Democrats, in their infrastructure bill, slipped in a wonderful little section. Because, remember, this is a supply chain. So the container comes off the ship, goes to the stack, goes to the truck, the truck we just saw we now have the autonomous technology that is starting to work. So what did the Democrats slip into their infrastructure bill? Making it so you can't automate the port.
So they, once again, sold out to the union because, well, that is who writes them checks. But you can't have it both ways. You can't have a President get behind the microphone and say: I am working on this; I am going to help solve the supply chain problem, wink, wink, nod, nod. I am going to hide it in the infrastructure legislation where the vast majority of the money did not go to actually infrastructure, and then put in things in there saying: But we are going to also make sure you can't automate the ports.
This is special interest legislation because Congress has become a protection racket. You are this union. You come in. You have enough friends here. They will actually do something that protects that book of business against what was good for the entire country.
So all of this technology that is about to help us deal with our worker shortage, our supply chain shortage, actually gets stymied because the left basically says the union is more important than the rest of the country. Let's make sure you make it so we can't make our ports more efficient.
That is a classic example of good things were happening. And the technology isn't Republican or Democrat, but you have to make it so it comes together.
The left constantly selling out to their special interests basically crushes the very things that create the productivity that we desperately need for the future of this country because, remember, growth is moral. Growth makes the poor a lot less poor. And then to do these backdoor little deals that actually crush the efficiencies and the productivity that make the society wealthier, it is a wink, wink, nod, nod. It may be great politics, but it is really crappy economics.
So let's actually talk about another thing that is happening. How many speeches have we been giving about global warming here? A lot of our brothers and sisters care passionately about this. And then on the other side of the very beginning of the Biden administration with the help of many of my Democrat colleagues here, they basically trumped down on permitting, regulations, accessibility, pipelines, those things for natural gas, even though we know over the previous decade and a half natural gas was the substantial, by far, driver of the reduction of North America's greenhouse gases because it burned so much more efficiently. Because accessibility had become so available, the price of natural gas had come down so much that facility after facility that were generating electricity had switched to natural gas away from coal.
So what did the Democrats do this last year? They made natural gas substantially more expensive. Well, what did they think was going to happen?
Congratulations to my brothers and sisters on the left, which I believe they have increased coal usage by 23 percent last year over where the Trump administration was, which was accused of being too friendly to coal by the environmental left had, because of the productivity and accessibility to natural gas, natural gas prices fell, and use of coal went down dramatically. The left comes in and starts to do all sorts of regulations, permitting, restrictions, those things for natural gas, and natural gas prices go up. Those facilities converted back to coal. Congratulations. Twenty-three percent more coal got burnt.
It is just, once again, a simple example of if you don't do basic math. It is great rhetoric: come behind the microphones, tell us about how much you care about the environment, and then screw up the economics so much that this Nation actually over the next few years, greenhouse gas-wise, is about to get dirtier.
You have seen my slides I have brought to the floor before on how much of our baseload nuclear is about to come off line. There will be more baseload nuclear about to come off line than every bit of photovoltaic that has been put into this entire Nation.
It is math. It is not hard. But we don't seem to reward facts around here. What we reward is brilliant virtue signaling, pretty words, and not the final outcome.
Having had a conversation with a couple of my friends who are good people--they are on the left. They care passionately about greenhouse gases. I asked them about this natural gas.
Why do you go so anti-natural gas even though it was responsible for the vast majority of the reduction of U.S. greenhouse gases?
Well, I don't like methane.
Okay, that is fair. May I suggest actually purchasing a scientific journal subscription or two and read because a couple of weeks ago some of these articles came out about a dramatically, dramatically less expensive way to capture methane? It is functionally clay with a slight alteration. I think it is called copper oxide, added. It is functionally kitty litter.
Do you see a theme, Madam Speaker, kitties in the Starlink satellite?
This is functionally an MIT paper saying: Hey, we found a really inexpensive way to capture the methane. So if you are worried about wellhead bleed-off or interconnection bleed-off or these things, apparently the model even works for ambient capture.
So instead of going anti-natural gas and making everyone's life more miserable and more expensive and then pushing manufacturers of ions, electric generation, back to coal, get your head right. Learn the economics and say: There is technology out there that we can capture the thing you say you are worried about very inexpensively, put your resources, put the regulatory push behind a solution.
It is a little harder to explain in front of your environmentalist townhall, but they are facts. There are wonderful things happening. There are solutions, and solutions that don't bankrupt the American people. It just requires this place stop sounding like it is the 1990s policywise.
Understand, this is one of my biggest frustrations around here. We need a moment of honesty. The policies pushed by the administration and my brothers and sisters on the left here have made America poorer. They have made the working men and women poor and the working poor poorer.
Here is the chart. The facts are the facts are the facts are the facts. Wages have gone up. They were also going up dramatically in 2018, 2019, and in the very beginning of 2020 with no inflation.
Our problem right now is the classic problem between sort of the Keynesian, stimulus, consumption side of economics and those of us who are more on the supply side where you make more product and, by doing that, you raise wages because you become more efficient. You incentivize productivity, and that productivity makes it so you can pay people more.
We did just the opposite: push cash after cash after cash in society, push up inflation, and Americans got poorer. You saw the inflation data the last couple days, Madam Speaker. So all the nice speeches around here about Republicans did this, Republicans did that, moment of clarity, honesty--and it is math--Democrat policies made the working poor poorer this last year. And it is math.
What are the two things you do most that create the most economic violence to the working poor? I really wish I had someone here who was willing to answer that. It is real simple: Open up the border so you create a flood of individuals who have similar skill sets. My drywaller or my gardener or whoever these people are, they sell their labors. They sell their willingness to work their hearts out. When you flood the market with people with similar skill sets, then you crush their wages and then, at the same time, create inflation on top of that.
From an economic standpoint, if you want to commit economic violence on the poor, do exactly what the left is doing right now: open up the borders and incentivize inflation.
A tough part with both of these is that it is not a switch you can just turn off. The labor availability for those who sell their labor, they sell it because they didn't graduate high school and didn't have some of the benefits many of us did, but their wages were going up dramatically in 2018, 2019. In the beginning of 2020, a new regime comes in, the border is opened up, we are in the middle of a pandemic, there are lots of other things going on, and there are numbers out there that are really difficult because you have to adjust for the amount of cash that was pushed into society. But when you start to try to normalize that, I think when we look back there is going to be an understanding of just how brutal the policies of opening up the border and inflation were to the very people we talk about and claim we care about.
My fear is that brutality economically looks like it is going to be with us for about a decade. It may take 10 years to squeeze out what we have done in our population dynamics and inflation.
I hope this place is willing--and when I talk to some of my Democrat colleagues and I walk them through the numbers, they just stare at me angrily and say, well, we are going to just send them more money, not understanding that just sets off the cycle even more.
I threw this one in because I think this is actually something, we should all just be hopeful. We now have, actually, an antiviral in the pandemic. We have the Pfizer pill. I believe Merck has one, but the Pfizer is remarkably effective.
So if you have a home COVID test and can actually take an antiviral pill at home--you've got to take a number of them--should you still have a declaration of a pandemic?
And my reason is, go back to the discussions we had when this began, when the pandemic was declared. This has been a miserable thing for everyone to go through. But it was always we are doing this because our emergency rooms are going to be full. We won't have enough ventilators. We don't have therapeutics.
Well, now we have therapeutics where you can take it at home. You can identify the virus at home.
Is it time for us to actually step in and say, this is something we are going to live with? We now have the tools to take care of it. If you happen to be in one of--where you have a compromised immune system, you have other sorts of co-morbidities--which I still hate that word-- yes, there are different protocols.
For the vast majority of our Nation, this is what we had said a couple of years ago; when we get this, we don't need to have a declaration of a pandemic because you can test at home and take a pill at home--well, a number of pills--and it is an antiviral that is incredibly effective.
Is it time we start having the conversation that the declaration of a pandemic has outlived its welcome, and we start now figuring out we have methods to help our brothers and sisters who are suffering take care of themselves and do it from home? They don't have to be in the urgent care centers. They don't have to be in our emergency rooms, our hospitals. This is hopeful, and it is here.
Now, of course, you already saw an earlier debate, I believe, between our leaders discussing about the Biden administration's failure to properly pre-order and those things. I will let others who specialize in this have that debate.
But that should be considered hopeful, and it is time, and we are already starting to see some movement with our brothers and sisters on the left starting to understand that this is something that we are going to live with.
All right. This one is uncomfortable, but it is math. The University of Chicago, four Ph.D. economists were looking at parts of the Build Back Better, the social entitlement spending bill, and the childcare tax credit. And it turns out, because the left insists on de-linking the money from getting job training, from learning skills, from actually pursuing work, from taking work, economists basically say, once again, the left's great rhetoric of how they are going to help working men and women who have children, actually, the data says they are going to make them poorer.
So what we have proposed over and over and over to the left is: Okay, if you intend to do this, could we put in a component that says we need you to gain skills? We want you to be part of the economy. We want you to be part of society. We would like you to work.
And the reaction--we actually had testimony in the Joint Economic Committee from a leftist Democrat witness who basically said, why should people have to work? Even a couple of the Democrats on the dais, you know, their jaws are dropping saying, well, that is your witness.
But then the economists turn to you and say, the way you are designing your legislation you are hurting working poor people. You have already done it with opening the border. You have already done it with inflation. Now you are going to make sure it sticks.
These are just crappy economics. And they know better. It is just the politics of this craziness right now.
So let's actually go on to something else that I am hoping will make some sense. I did this board specifically for someone who will probably never see this moment of the speech. So, last week, we sent out, you know, a postcard saying it is about to become a new year. Tell us what issues you care about. And someone on the left stuck one in my mailbox, and the first thing said, rich people need to pay more.
Okay. It would have been nice if this individual had actually had the fortitude to actually give me their name or phone number so I could talk to them and walk them through the numbers. Because you hear the left's folklore all the time. Well, the tax reform, it was for rich people. No, it wasn't.
Once again, the data makes it very clear, the wealthy, after tax reform, are paying a higher percentage of the Federal income tax. Understand, one more time. The tax code got more progressive after tax reform. So the math is the truth.
How many times do you hear it?
I remember last year, I did a presentation, Speaker Pelosi came in on it, and then Speaker Pelosi talks in the mike and says, 82 percent of the benefits went to the rich people. And even the Democrats who were on Ways and Means, their jaws are dropping, and they are looking down at the floor.
But this place makes math up. It makes crap up because we are about virtue signaling, not the facts. The tax code we are under today is more progressive. The rich pay a higher percentage of the Federal income tax burden than before tax reform.
But back to the rhetoric and that postcard that was in my mailbox saying rich people need to pay more taxes. Okay. Maybe the left should stop trying to subsidize them.
In the left's Build Back Better, their social entitlement spending plan, the amount of tax cuts that are functionally designed into that, tax credits, money transfer--you do understand, two-thirds of millionaires get a tax cut under the Democrats Build Back Better.
It is, once again, the rhetoric versus the math; the virtue signaling versus owning a calculator. The analysis says the Democrats are, once again--talk a great game. The wealthy need to pay their fair share. And then they turn around and do legislation that actually subsidizes the rich.
A few months ago, we did a presentation here and said, if society, if government really needs another trillion dollars--okay, if that is the argument coming from the left, stop subsidizing the rich.
We came here with a series of boards that showed almost $1.4 trillion over 10 years--and I am talking the really rich, you know, the subsidies that are built in. And you could just hear--what is the colloquialism--crickets. Because if you actually look at the wealthiest ZIP codes in the Nation, they are actually represented by people on the left.
So just a couple more of these to sort of help walk us through.
We all know the Democrats' passion for State and local tax deductions, and it goes up and down in their negotiations. But once again--and to Bernie Sanders' credit, he actually told the truth on this. It is a tax cut for the really, really, really rich, when the vast majority of the money goes to people making $1 million or more.
But how many times have we read in the political press that a number of our Democrat brothers and sisters here won't let the legislation become law unless they get these tax cuts for their rich taxpayers?
Okay. Then stop sticking a postcard in my mailbox without your name on it saying tax the rich more, and being part of, obviously, a political party that wants to either subsidize the rich, hand them tax credits, or hand them money. You can't--it is just fascinating. We work in a place that the words don't match the facts.
And this was one of my favorite things. In Ways and Means, when we were grinding through the Democrats' Build Back Better bill, we actually did some simple math. Once again, we actually tried to read part of it.
So you make $800,000 a year. Your family makes $800,000 a year. Built into that legislation was $118,000 of tax credits for a family making $800,000 a year. Buy the right Tesla; buy the battery wall; buy the right solar panels.
That is their version of taxing the rich, getting the wealthy to pay their fair share? Or is it their version of, hey, we are going to subsidize the people that finance our campaigns. And, oh, by the way, these are their constituents.
So back once again, what is the greatest threat to our Republic? Besides all the craziness here and the shiny objects and the debate of the day that will change tomorrow, the sense of indignation, people will walk behind these microphones--I am going to argue it is the next two boards. This year, 77 percent of all the spending is mandatory. It is functionally a formula. It is Social Security. It is Medicare. Ten percent is defense, 13 percent is everything else.
When you and I go home, and if I am in front of a Republican audience, it is often, oh, you have got to get rid of waste and fraud. You have got to get rid of foreign aid. In front of a leftist audience, well, it is defense.
But, no, it is demographics. The vast majority of this here is functionally demographics. Demographics, getting old, is not Republican or Democrat.
But yet, even last night, you saw more legislation being pushed by the Democrats that expands these mandatory portions, and this is based on a CBO report from a year ago.
But functioning 29 years, you have $112 trillion of publicly borrowed money, so that is not borrowing from trust funds, and it is on today's dollars. This isn't inflated dollars in the future. That is like 205 percent of projected GDP. The majority of it is the shortfalls in Medicare, then Social Security. The rest of the budget is in balance.
If you have made a commitment, you are an elected official here and you made a commitment that you are going to protect Social Security; you are going to protect Medicare; you are going to protect retirement security; start telling the truth about the math. And understand, those previous slides I showed, that there is a miracle of wonderful things that are going to cure misery, cure diseases.
Why isn't that the fixation here, that we are going to actually fix the things that create this incredible amount of debt? Instead, we have a body that doesn't do math, and is rewarded for absolutely absurd virtue signaling.
Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
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