Providing for Consideration of H.R. Reduce Exacerbated Inflation Negatively Impacting the Nation Act, and Providing for Consideration of H.J. Res. Providing for Congressional Disapproval of the Rule Submitted By the Department of Labor Relating to ``Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights''

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 28, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 166 and ask for its immediate consideration.

The Clerk read the resolution, as follows: H. Res. 166

Resolved, That at any time after adoption of this resolution the Speaker may, 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. 347) to require the Executive Office of the President to provide an inflation estimate with respect to Executive orders with a significant effect on the annual gross budget, 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 and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability or their respective designees. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. The bill shall be considered as read. All points of order against provisions in the bill are waived. No amendment to the bill shall be in order except those printed in the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution. Each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the House or in the Committee of the Whole. All points of order against such amendments 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.

Sec. 2. Upon adoption of this resolution it shall be in order to consider in the House the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 30) providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to ``Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights''. All points of order against consideration of the joint resolution are waived. The joint resolution shall be considered as read. All points of order against provisions in the joint resolution are waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the joint resolution and on any amendment thereto to final passage without intervening motion except: (1) one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce or their respective designees; and (2) one motion to recommit.


Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), 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. General Leave

House Resolution 166 provides for the consideration of two measures, H.R. 347 and H.J. Res. 30. The rule provides for H.R. 347, the REIN IN Act, to be considered under a structured rule with 1 hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability or their designees and provides for one motion to recommit. The rule makes in order 15 amendments.

Additionally, the rule provides for consideration of H.J. Res. 30, a resolution of congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to ``Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights'' under a closed rule with 1 hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce or their designees and provides for one motion to recommit.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the rule and in support of the underlying bills.

Today, the Republican majority is holding the Biden administration accountable. The American people sent the Republican majority to Washington to exercise a moderating influence on the executive branch and as a check against President Biden and the Democrats' worst policy impulses.

Mr. Speaker, over the past 2 years, the American people have been at the mercy of President Biden's and the Democrats' reckless tax-and- spend agenda. Having survived those 2 long years, the American public could not stomach 2 more years of unified Democratic control in Washington, so this past November, American voters elected a Republican majority in the people's House to address the people's business.

Instead of devoting all of their time and effort to service industries and projects favored by Democratic consultants, the green lobby, and woke political activists, Republicans are working at breakneck pace to address the issues that the American people actually care about: protecting the retirement savings of hardworking Americans from Green New Deal radicals. The House GOP is the last line of defense between the American people and President Biden's inflationary agenda.

Mr. Speaker, I also commend Mr. Barr for introducing H.J. Res. 30 so we can bring this important piece of legislation to the floor today. Without his leadership on this issue, pensioners and retirees would be defenseless against the designs and machinations of a loud but vocal minority planning to conscript the retirement savings of retirees and American workers to pursue an investment agenda that is not founded on a fiduciary responsibility to maximize a return on investment.

Democrats understand that their Green New Deal agenda is politically toxic as far as the American public is concerned. They know that their radical energy agenda has been exposed and laid bare to the American people. For that reason, they have orchestrated and overseen a coordinated campaign to capture the boardrooms and the pension funds, seeking to implement the change that they simply could not achieve at the ballot box.

What Democrats are trying to achieve would be more intellectually and morally defensible if they had the courage to bring these measures to the floor for a vote in the people's House. In fact, the Democrats could not take that risk, Mr. Speaker. It would be a highly embarrassing spectacle exposing their woke, ESG agenda as toxic to the American public. Instead, Democrats and their radical environmental NGO allies will continue to work in the shadows, strong-arming and intimidating corporations and investors alike, using any means necessary to conscript the life savings of pensioners and retirees to implement a dangerous and illiberal investment strategy centered not on the welfare of retirees but on their favorite pet political projects.

In addition to this being an unwise and undemocratic investment strategy, Mr. Speaker, if this investment strategy is allowed to metastasize, the traditional energy sources that heat our homes, clean our drinking water, and power our electrical grid will be seriously placed in jeopardy.

This isn't hypothetical, Mr. Speaker. Democratic policies are pushing our electrical grid to the brink. Reliable baseload generation sources are being phased out at a dizzying pace. The traditional energy projects that make the comforts of modern life possible are being prematurely marked for closure, not because they are uneconomical but because they run counter to the Democrats' crusade against fossil fuels.

In my native Texas, Mr. Speaker, I am in communication with capital market professionals who inform me that their firms will no longer invest in energy projects that provide dispatchable and reliable power to the electrical grid; not because these projects are undeserving or won't deliver a return on investment, but for fear of being named by Democrats and their corporate allies for being insufficiently committed to their radical environmental agenda.

I am reminded of the passage from the Gospel of Matthew, Mr. Speaker: ``You will know them by their fruits.''

Democrats are once again looking to conscript the life savings of pensioners and retirees in this Green New Deal agenda.

Mr. Speaker, this is the deleterious downstream effect of the Democrats' Green New Deal and their moral panic. It is jeopardizing the health and well-being of American citizens in pursuit of a disturbing, dogmatic energy agenda that is myopically focused on potential environmental impacts rather than the flourishing and prosperity of all Americans.

Mr. Speaker, the conventional wisdom would suggest that President Biden and his Democrat allies in the House would step back and reassess their policies after having lost their majority in November.

One could be forgiven for thinking that having been humbled at the ballot box, Democrats would benefit from reflection and introspection to try to understand why American voters rejected their policies so thoroughly in the midterm elections.

Unfortunately for the American people, President Biden and House Democrats have doubled down on their inflationary and unpopular agenda all in the wake of November's election.

Instead of triangulating and trying to better align themselves with the priorities of everyday Americans, the Biden administration has continued this barrage of unpopular executive orders. From trying to cancel student loan debt to increasing household costs for American families through increased energy and food costs, Democrats and President Biden have demonstrated once again they are simply out of step with the American public.

This is why Republicans are united in holding the Biden administration accountable for their reckless economic policies that seek to supercharge and further embed inflation into the American economy. The Republican majority is proud to bring to the floor H.R. 347, the REIN IN Act, which would mandate that the Biden administration undertake and produce a report for any major executive order that it issues that would detail the inflationary impact of said executive action.

Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, I have no further speakers, and I reserve the balance of my time.

You know, driving to the airport early Monday morning on the way back up here for another week in Washington, the price of gas was $3 a gallon in Texas in February.

Now, that is bad news because by the time you get to Memorial Day, the peak of the summer driving season, gasoline is always a dollar more than it is in February.

So, look. The President was able to bring the price of gas down artificially by depleting our emergency reserve, and who does that? Who does that?

Who spends all of their emergency funds and says, ``Good on me. I brought the prices down,'' when you didn't do anything to increase the supply?

Now, here is the good news. One of the reasons we aren't surrounded by a lot of our colleagues right now on the floor of the House debating this rule is because Members, both Democrats and Republicans, are in committees, in the committees of jurisdiction, doing the actual work.

I left a markup from the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Subcommittee on Energy, looking at ways to increase our supply of energy to do what? To bring down the cost of energy for consumers.

That seems like a logical thing to do. We see what the administration's response was. It was to sign an executive order to say, we are going to cut off a pipeline so you can't bring any more product into the United States.

You can't ship that product from Canada down to Port Arthur, Texas, and refine it with Texas jobs. No. They cut that off. As a consequence, it has to be made up somewhere else.

The good news is we didn't run out, and there is additional supply. There is additional energy to be pumped, harvested certainly in the Permian Basin and the Delaware Basin of Texas.

The good news is that producers, a lot of small and independent producers, are doing just that.

So rather than having to go hat in hand to OPEC or OPEC+--I guess, now because they added Russia to OPEC--rather than having to go to a dictator in Venezuela, you can buy your oil and gas from the United States of America.

Who is doing that? Well, Germany is doing that. They hastened the development of several LNG offshoring plants so that they could bring in that Texas product to heat the homes of Germans who have been cut off by Vladimir Putin in an attempt to starve Europe for energy during the Ukraine war.

You know, one of these bills that we are debating, the rule that we are debating will allow a bill to come to the floor for debate on looking into the cost of executive orders.

I already referenced one of those executive orders; one done on the very first day of the Biden administration, which was to negate the Keystone pipeline, but there were others.

The Committee for Responsible Budget actually has calculated a total of $1.1 trillion in executive orders in the last 2 years and 2 months since this President has taken office.

Digging into the numbers--and, of course, it will be a big story over at the Supreme Court later this week--but the President wants to cancel student loan debt; that is $750 billion.

Shouldn't that be a consequence that is argued in Congress? It is not done just through an executive order.

Look, we wisely rejected a monarchy, and we said we want government with the consent of the governed. That means that all of the decisions do not flow from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

By virtue of the fact that we have a divided government, the people's House is supposed to weigh in on these decisions.

They are not made unilaterally by the President of the United States, which, by definition, is what an executive order is.

So we have $185 billion in increased staff benefits. Maybe good; maybe not. The gentleman from Massachusetts and I agree on programs that tackle hunger in this country, but shouldn't we as Members of the people's House have the opportunity to debate that rather than the decision simply made by one individual down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue?

We already talked about the Keystone pipeline. Canceling ANWR. Canceling ANWR, the exploration and development of oil in that plain in Alaska, which has been--honest Injun.

If Clinton had not prevented that, if President Clinton had not prevented that in 1997, that would be a producing field today that would reduce our trade deficit, to be sure.

So we would be able to produce American energy but also would have had a profound effect on the budget because, in fact, Mr. Speaker, you will recall it was a budget bill that year where President Clinton then blocked the development in the ANWR.

What about repealing President Trump's rules on the waters of the United States and the NEPA streamlining rules?

All of these things have been done as executive orders since this President took office, and the consequence, the fiscal consequence, the downstream consequence has been profound.

So, look. I want to encourage everyone in the House today to support these measures when they come to the floor.

If you want to remake financial markets, you can't do that by congressional fiat. You have to have the courage to bring that measure to the floor for a vote.

I would encourage Members additionally to support the REIN IN Act, and this measure will act as an important check on the Biden administration, forcing President Biden to grapple with the harm that his executive orders are inflicting on the long-suffering American people.

Mr. Speaker, Republicans remain united in pursuing legislative policies that put the American people at the forefront, put them ahead of the special interests, put them ahead of the army of lawyers and lobbyists that occupy this town. Let's put the people of America first.

The text of the material previously referred to by Mr. McGovern is as follows: Amendment to House Resolution 166

At the end of the resolution, add the following:

Sec. 3. Immediately upon adoption of this resolution, the House shall proceed to the consideration in the House of the resolution (H. Res. 178) affirming the House of Representatives' commitment to protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare. The resolution shall be considered as read. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the resolution and preamble to adoption without intervening motion or demand for division of the question except one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Ways and Means or their respective designees.

Sec. 4. Clause 1(c) of rule XIX shall not apply to the consideration of H. Res. 178.